Incident with Duke lacrosse team uncovers broader problems
Regarding your May 5 editorial, "Duke's moral hazard": That the Duke lacrosse players, who represent less than 1 percent of students, "were responsible for 11 percent of misconduct cases," is interesting. But more interesting would be to see, first, the percentage of the total male student population at Duke that lacrosse players represent, and then to see the percentage of infractions these athletes were responsible for among the male students. (Despite the best efforts of social engineers over recent decades, males still differ from females.)
The larger truth is that colleges' abandonment of their position in loco parentis, "in place of a parent," about four decades ago was craven folly. It was an abject surrender to the excesses of the '60s. College students then and today may be over 18, and they may be legally able to vote (also folly), but their judgment is impaired - as was my own and everyone else's whom I knew at that age.
People that young, whatever their SAT scores, are highly vulnerable to self-destructive impulses - particularly after years upon years of being insulated from reality while sitting in classrooms with same-age peers.
Whatever the individual responsibilities of the accused athletes, blame the abundant opportunity for destructive behavior presented on college campuses around the country on adults who long ago abdicated their responsibility to guide and discipline our young people.
While I think your May 5 editorial got it right regarding the need to educate students beyond "book learning," I am still waiting for someone to examine the issue of racial disparity in the media's reporting of the incident involving Duke lacrosse players - particularly the press about the North Carolina State University student.
It seemed to me that in describing her as an exotic dancer, the press signaled that any harm done to this person should be weighed less seriously. If the accused had been a black male at NC State, I believe he would have been expelled and probably arrested before any DNA test results were reported.
I think white privilege allowed these young men to continue their studies and enjoy campus life while the woman who reported the crime was made out to be suspect.
John K. Cooley's excellent April 27 Opinion piece, "US should call for direct talks with Iran," is absolutely right, except that Mr. Cooley left out one grievance that after 50 years still resonates strongly in Iran.
Iranians who are strongly nationalistic have every right to be suspicious of our ulterior motives. They have never forgotten that it was not too long ago (1953) that the US helped overthrow a freely elected constitutional government led by Iranian national heros Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh and Dr. Hussein Fatemi. This is a deep wound in the heart of nearly every Iranian that has never healed.
To allay these fears, the US must engage Iran in a real dialogue to forge a strategic alliance for peace. Such an alliance would go a long way to assist in stopping the anguish, destruction, and death in the Middle East.
Nothing else has worked, and without Iran's participation, nothing can be achieved.
Fariborz S. Fatemi
Former professional staff member, House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee
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