Duke Economics Professors Take a Stand

Several of the professors Duke Univesity Economics Department have come out in opposition to Nifong, the Group of 88, and stand up for Duke students in general. The problem with the Group of 88 and their rationalizations for their rather insidious actions and some of the activist students is to imply rather disgusting attitudes on behalf of your typical Duke student. So the Economics professors has released the following statement (it is in today’s Duke Chronicle and hence no link–at least that I could find),

To the Editor:

We, the undersigned Economics Department faculty members at Duke University, are cognizant of the fact that, to date, the only collective signed statement by faculty members concerning the events of last March was an advertisement in the Duke University Chronicle subsequent to protests and a forum on March 29, 2006. We are aware too that the advertisement was cited as prejudicial to the defendants in the defense motion to change the venue of the trial involving the three Duke lacrosse team members. We regret that the Duke faculty is now seen as prejudiced against certain of its own students.

1) In light of recent events detailed in court proceedings, it appears that there were a number of irregular acts committed by members of the Durham law enforcement agencies and District Attorney’s Office. We join with President Brodhead in calling for an investigation of those acts, inimical to students at our university.

2) We welcome all members of the lacrosse team, and all student athletes, as we do all our students as fellow members of the Duke community, to the classes we teach and the activities we sponsor.


E. Roy Weintraub, Professor of Economics

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Associate Professor of Economics

Charles M. Becker, Research Professor of Economics

Tim Bollerslev, Juanita & Clifton Kreps Professor of Economics

Vincent Conitzer, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Economics

Neil B. DeMarchi, Professor of Economics

Bjorn Eraker, Assistant Professor of Economics

Henry G. Grabowski, Professor of Economics

Daniel A. Graham, Professor of Economics and Law

Kevin D. Hoover, Professor of Economics and Philosophy

Shakeeb Khan, Associate Professor of Economics

Bahar Leventoglu, Assistant Professor of Economics and Political Science

Thomas J. Nechyba, Fuchsberg-Levine Family Professor of Economics and
Public Policy

Pietro Peretto, Associate Professor of Economics

Curtis R. Taylor, Professor of Economics

Edward Tower, Professor of Economics

Huseyin Yildirim, Assistant Professor of Economics

The importance of this statement is that it stands in contrast to the statement of the Group of 88, some of whom are still publicly defending their statements and positions, and even despite all the new information that undermines the allegations of rape, kidnapping, sexual assault, etc. some would still sign the statement today.

Also of note, there has been a 20% decline in the number of early applications by students for the next school year. Gee, could it have anything to do with the fact that the university has an image of throwing its students to the wolves when politically expedient?

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Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Christopher says:

    The Group of 88: Typical liberals. No surprise in their actions.

    Nice to see, however, some sensible people here.

  2. That entire process from day one brings to mind the term “I’ve been Duked” instead of I’ve been “Borked”

  3. Edgardo says:

    To Duke economists: too little, too late.

  4. just me says:

    While I think this is a nice gesture, where were they when the group of 88 was screaming for the heads of the lacrosse players?

    This is sort of like trying to shut the barn door after the horses got out.

  5. Beldar says:

    It’s not a particularly bold statement, is it? The only reason it’s at all remarkable is that it’s a contrast to the Gang Lynchmob Group of 88’s statement.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    To Duke economists: too little, too late.

    I disagree. While it is true they released this statement at a time when the case has just about completely fallen aprt, it still sends the message, “Not all Duke Professor’s are complete kooks who let their own ideological views over-ride their brains.”

  7. just me says:

    I disagree. While it is true they released this statement at a time when the case has just about completely fallen aprt, it still sends the message, “Not all Duke Professor’s are complete kooks who let their own ideological views over-ride their brains.”

    Not sure. Would these guys have made the same statement, had the case not fallen apart?

    This was nothing more than a modern day lynching. Just as African Americans were lynched simply because they were black, these athletes were tried and found guilty by the media, Duke and various others because they were wealthy and white.

    Although it is nice to see at least some people take a stand, I can’t help but wonder if they would have taken this stand had the case not been falling apart.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Well, the opposite situation would be where the prosecutions case got stronger as time went by, things like the DNA would cut agains the players, etc. So in that case, no, I don’t think we’d see a similar statement and for good reason. Sure, in this case it is kind of like a bandwagon effect, but still it is nice to see professors making a very public break with their more…strident colleagues.

  9. Aakash says:

    It is refreshing that such a non-vague public statement was issued by a sizeable number (the majority, perhaps?) of the Faculty of a major university such as Duke.

    I might’ve expected that something like this would be more likely to come from the Computer Science or Accounting or Engineering departments, but the fact that it comes from a department of a social science is all the more uplifting. Also good to see was that many of these professors appear to be minorities. (The professor, critical of Nifong who I just saw featured on this evening’s 60 Minutes story, is African-American… I wonder if he had to face criticism for his strong stance, especially earlier, when so many were making this into an issue of racism.)