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Duke Faculty Committee Releases Report On Campus Culture


A committee charged with evaluating the campus culture at Duke University in the wake of rape allegations involving the men’s lacrosse team called Tuesday for changes to the undergraduate experience and the creation of a “diverse, inclusive and engaged community.”

University officials say they look forward to discussing the recommendations, which also include a new course requirement for undergraduates focusing on racial and class differences in the United States, and increasing admission standards at the elite, private university.

The report barely mentions the March 13 party thrown by the school’s men’s lacrosse team, where a woman hired to perform as a stripper told police she was attacked and raped by three of the players in a bathroom. Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, eventually dropped the rape charges against the players late last year, and later turned over the case to state prosecutors after he was charged by the state bar with several ethics violations.

The players, who have steadfastly maintained their innocence, still face charges of sexual offense and kidnapping. The new prosecutors have not said if they plan to bring the case to trial.

The “Campus Culture Initiative” was formed last year after Duke President Richard Brodhead canceled the lacrosse team’s 2006 season, and was one of several committees created to examine issues raised by the incident.

Larry Moneta, Duke’s vice president for student affairs, says Brodhead wanted the committee to “really get beyond lacrosse and focus on the broader issues related to the undergraduate experience.”

The committee focused its study on six areas, including curriculum and experiential learning, faculty-student interaction, residential life, dining and social life, alcohol, athletics and admissions.

Also Tuesday, lawyers for the indicted players filed an updated request for more information about DNA testing conducted at a private lab hired by Nifong. The defense attorneys say they have yet to receive the underlying data on half of the samples taken from the accuser.

The DNA testing found genetic material from several men on the woman’s underwear and body, but none that matched any of the lacrosse players.

An ethics complaint lodged against Nifong by the North Carolina State Bar alleges the full details of the DNA results weren’t released to defense lawyers and that Nifong repeatedly said in court he had turned over all evidence that would potentially benefit the defense. Nifong’s response to the state bar complaint is due Wednesday.

— Associated Press


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