Opinion

Letter to the editor

guest column

Dear President Brodhead:

We have had ties with Duke University beginning with our youngest son, Steven, who graduated from Duke in 1990. We paid for his education without relying on financial assistance. Since that beginning we have supported Duke and given financially (e.g. to the Center for Athletic Excellence, etc.) for which we have been recognized by membership in the James B. Duke Society.

During these years, certain factions on university campuses have attempted to “out liberal” each other and in many cases, created a climate of intolerance unless one mirrors the political beliefs of these factions.

Duke has not been immune to these factions and activities. The “gang of 88” professors who rushed to judge as guilty racists the three white Duke lacrosse players are examples of individuals who, to use a term of our former President Obama, were proven to be on the wrong side of history. More recently, the aborted decision by an administrator(s) to create a “welcoming environment” for Muslim students by authorizing their call-to-worship from the Duke chapel tower seems to demonstrate how willing some are to advance the activities of one favored religious group at the expense of another.

Earlier this month Duke’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies sponsored an event “Ideas for Activism in the Time of Trump” described as “How our North Carolina Moral Monday Movement can be a model of a diverse coalition that brings together social justice people to take a stand against the Trump Administration.” It seems that a university department is not educating but rather indoctrinating when it promotes activism against a duly elected President and his administration. We tried without success to locate prior events by this Department to promote activism against the Obama Administration.

In your December 8 message on immigration issues you noted that Duke recently announced that “undocumented” students will now be admitted on a need-blind basis and will be eligible for university financial aid if they are not permitted to work on campus. Our daughter-in-law immigrated legally to the United States from Sri Lanka and obtained her “green card” as a lawful permanent resident. We find it puzzling that Duke is prepared to admit and offer financial aid to a student who arrived illegally on the same basis as one who followed immigration laws; apparently, Duke believes there should be no reward to a student who is “documented.”

The following is a portion of the Conclusion of Duke and 16 other universities’ friend of the court brief (the “Amicus Brief”) filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York in opposition to Executive Order 13769, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” on which we have highlighted some interesting language:

“CONCLUSION: Amici take extremely seriously the safety and security of their campuses and of the nation: if amici’s campuses were not safe, or the towns and cities in which they are located were not secure, amici could not maintain their world-renowned learning environments. Amici, however, believe that safety and security concerns can be addressed in a manner that is consistent with the values America has always stood for, including the free flow of ideas and people across borders and the welcoming of immigrants to our universities.…” [emphasis theirs]

Notwithstanding as the Ninth Circuit acknowledged, even while upholding a TRO, that “the Government’s interest in combating terrorism is an urgent objective of the highest order;" this conclusion as well as the reasoning stated in the body of the Amicus Brief for opposing the Trump temporary ban on certain immigration from seven countries makes it clear that Duke and the other Amici universities believe that the determination of the safety and security of our nation is not unlike a debating society on one of their campuses and that they have the knowledge and expertise to participate in combating the terrorism concerns of our country—a frightening theory.

All the above lead us to believe that Duke and other universities of the same politics have plenty of money to support their agendas and do not need continued support from us.

Sincerely,

James H. Ball, Sr. and Wendy A. Ball


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