Jeffries did not deny right to question

As a student employee who was paid to present Dr. Leonard Jeffries to the University community, I feel that I need to clarify a statement made in the article "Audience reacts to Jeffries" (Mar. 30). In the article, the reporter says that the question-and-answer session ended when Jeffries "cut off the last student to question him, turning off the microphone before she could complete her question." For those who would attack Jeffries for his hypocrisy, I would like to point out that turning off the microphone was not his decision. By 12:35 am, the event had run very late, yet Jeffries was continuing to take questions from the audience. The Public Safety officer in charge of Jeffries' security asked me and my superior to turn off the microphones when he felt that this woman's "question" was becoming, in his opinion, a statement against Dr. Jeffries, and not a question at all. We agreed, and the event was ended before it became unprofessional, unproductive, and ugly in any sense. Jeffries did, however, remain in the auditorium after the event, taking informal questions and sparking discussion from audience members for another forty minutes. As a paid professional, I feel that it is important for all to realize that Jeffries did not deny anyone the right to question him after his lecture at any point, nor was he responsible for cutting anyone off at the end of the event. Rather, the event was ended by the paid employees of Duke University who wished to preserve the integrity of both Jeffries and those who would examine his views.

Erik Benson

Trinity '93


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