President Brodhead sits down with The Chronicle

President Richard Brodhead sat down for a brief interview with The Chronicle's David Graham Wednesday afternoon. Brodhead spoke about the indicted players, the University's response to the case and how Duke has changed one year after allegations first arose against members of the men's lacrosse team last March.

The Chronicle: In the statement today, you said, "We won't be afraid to go back and learn what we can from this experience." So I'm interested in what you think there is to learn as a university.

President Richard Brodhead: I'm not going to say today that I know what the lessons would be, but actually, we have just lived through one of the most unprecedented situations in the history of modern universities. It's not every day that a university has to deal with a case with a district attorney framing the issues in an atmosphere of public certainty far in excess of the evidence that that person has.

TC: Do you have any specific regrets about decisions that were made?

RB: I regret the entire episode. The thing sometimes people forget is this was a story that involved actual people's lives. Think how many people we all know who watched this on TV or read about it in the papers, for whom it was like a TV series or something. But that was false. This was about actual people's lives.

TC: Is there anything specific about how responses were made?

RB: The University was in a situation not of its making-it had to make a variety of decisions. I always tried to be careful, to be mindful, to remember the degree of certainty and uncertainty we had about things.

TC: Over the year, Duke has been in the spotlight. Can you pinpoint a few changes in how Duke is seen, how Duke sees itself and how it runs?

RB: When I think back to the past year, one thing that will always give me a lot of happiness is this year's freshman class. Those kids came here for Blue Devil Days at a time when you could scarcely make your way across campus because of the press vehicles that were here. As for the things that have changed in the past year, when I think of this year, at the forefront of my list are efforts I've spent my personal time and trouble on-the Financial Aid Initiative, which covered a lot of ground in the past year, the planning of Central Campus and the Campus Culture Initiative and the whole number of students who have become engaged in thinking a little harder about what kind of community is the one they'd most like to live in.

TC: Is there going to be an effort to convince Reade and Collin to re-enroll?

RB: You know that around the first of the year we offered them the chance to return. You may know that I actually spoke to both of them at that point and urged them and told them how welcome they would be to come back here. They're free to make their own choice. I don't know what they'll decide. I can imagine why this place might have some troublesome assoc-let me say this again: They're students of this place. This was their home. If they decide to go elsewhere, they're free to do so, and they'll do so with my best wishes.... It's quite likely I will be in touch with them again.


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