After one year of name-calling, character
assassinations and millions of dollars in lawyer fees, the soap opera that was the Duke Lacrosse rape case is over.
But unlike many legal battles, there are no winners here. The biggest loser is Duke University and its student body.The three players who thought it wise to throw an off-campus team party and hire a stripper for the festivities, are innocent of the charges brought against them. But that’s not the point.
The point is how the decision of a few people affected so many others, who otherwise had no role in the fray. The decision to hire a stripper for an off-campus party tossed the Duke community into the national spotlight. It gave media pundits the fodder they needed to stereotype the entire community based on the actions of a few.
As students, the primary reason for our matriculation into the nation’s institutions of higher learning is to obtain the best education afforded to us by the institutions we choose.
For the last year, Duke’s campus has been inundated with gawking media cameras, news anchors and reporters.All of a sudden, students realize that their education is the least of the worries of those who have made disturbing that right a main priority.
We got a taste of media blitz in 2005 with the “goon” incident, in which former
men’s basketball coach John Chaney instructed Temple player Nehemiah Ingram to commit hard fouls against Saint Joseph’s University players. St. Joe’s player John Bryant suffered a fractured arm in the incident. National media picked up the story and talking heads everywhere joined in to either criticize or support Chaney.
Yet, in that situation, the “goon” incident didn’t come to define Temple – not by a long shot. And neither should the case involving the three Duke students.
But it has. Hence, we should all be put on notice. We can avoid others from making stereotypical or ill-informed opinions about the institutions we attend by not giving them the material.
Perhaps, the Duke trio has learned from its action that night, and all of us as students should too. In a perfect world, people would not pass judgment on many based on the actions of a few. But they do. It’s simple: before we act, let’s think – ponder what our actions could mean from the most unsuspecting of individuals,
for the universities we attend.
They don’t deserve to be held equally responsible for the actions of the adults that make up their institutions.