Former director of Coach K sports medicine program at Duke arrested for masturbating on an airplane

FC note: Rafael Escamilla was director of the Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory at Duke University Medical Center, part of Duke's sports medicine program. FC is unable at this time to establish precisely what years he held this position. He also held appointment as a professor in the orthopedic surgery division, though he is not an MD.

The following article is from well respected THE SMOKING GUN website.

DECEMBER 30--Meet Rafael Escamilla.

Arrested this week for allegedly masturbating while seated next to a teenage girl on an airplane flight, the 50-year-old suspect told police that he was actually massaging and itching himself because he had spilled Tabasco sauce on his penis.

Escamilla’s unique explanation for his alleged indecent exposure is contained in police reports detailing the December 26 incident on a SkyWest Airlines flight from Salt Lake City to Lewiston, Idaho. Escamilla, a Florida resident, was in Idaho visiting family.

The girl, a high school cheerleader who just turned 17, told cops that she was seated directly next to Escamilla, and had chatted briefly with him at the trip’s outset. Mid-flight, as she looked at prom dresses in Seventeen magazine, the teenager spotted something moving “out of my corner of my eye.”

In a handwritten statement, the girl recalled, “I looked over and I could clearly see the man’s penis going side to side under the tray table that was down.” Escamilla, she added, had one hand on his laptop (which was atop the tray table) and the other “under the tray table.” Escamilla is pictured in the above mug shot.

After waiting two to three minutes, the girl--who was traveling alone on the flight--got up to go to the bathroom. When she emerged, the teen sat next to a woman seated at the back of the plane, and told the woman that, “the guy that she was sitting with creeped her out.”

Upon arrival at Nez Perce County Regional Airport, the girl, upset and crying, told her father about what had transpired on the flight. The man contacted a Transportation Security Administration supervisor, who in turn summoned Lewiston Police Department officers.

When confronted by cops, Escamilla denied exposing himself. “I wasn’t out, I wasn’t hanging out,” he claimed. As reported by Officer Chris Reese, Escamilla “explained to me that he had spilled Tabasco sauce or something similar on his ‘penis’ and had an incredible itch.” He was rubbing his groin, Escamilla explained, “because it was the worst ‘itch in the world.’” Escamilla said he tried to be discreet by covering himself with his laptop, but that the girl must have “suspected something.”

During further questioning, Escamilla changed his Tabasco story, claiming that it “might” be from his breakfast that morning “as he did have Tabasco sauce with his eggs.” Asked why he did not just go to the bathroom to “take care of this problem,” Escamilla told Reese that he “didn’t feel that it would help.”

Reese noted that Escamilla used the words “rub” and “massage” to describe how he addressed the “incredible itch.” The cop reported that, “while I was speaking with [Escamilla], he never showed any obvious signs that he had an itch in this particular part of his body.”

Escamilla was then handcuffed and transported to the county jail, where the above mug shot was snapped. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure, and a District Court hearing was set for January 18.

According to an online biography, Escamilla is an accomplished physical therapist who holds a Ph.D. and has worked as a professor at Duke University and California State University. Escamilla currently works as research director at the Florida orthopedics and sports medicine institute founded by Dr. James Andrews, the noted surgeon whose clientele has included Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Charles Barkley, Jack Nicklaus, Roger Clemens, and Drew Brees. (6 pages)


On line bio from his agent trying to line up paid speaking engagements:

Dr. Escamilla is currently the Director of Research at the Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute in Gulf Breeze, FL. He previously served as Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at California State University, Sacramento, and before that as Professor in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. He also served as director of the Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory, and taught biomechanics courses in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Duke University.

Dr. Escamilla received a Ph.D., Degree in Biomechanics from Auburn University and a Master of Physical Therapy degree from Elon University. He is also a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S.). His area of expertise is in Sports Medicine and Sports Biomechanics. He has published over 50 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and written numerous book chapters in sports medicine related textbooks. He has given over 100 professional presentations at scientific conferences, primarily in the areas of knee biomechanics during rehabilitation exercises, overhead throwing biomechanics, and strength and conditioning.


"Clueless" -- Think Tank Slams Brodhead for Uncle Dick E-mail.

Duke University’s president demonstrates cluelessness with a lukewarm attempt to halt the school’s “rich kids gone wild” image.

By Jay Schalin,John William Pope Center for Education Policy, Raleigh

December 14, 2010

Editor’s note: The links to Karen Owen’s PowerPoint slides and to Tucker Max’s blog contain extremely colorful language, to say the least.

If the National Enquirer were to rank colleges as U.S. News & World Report does, Duke University would be number one. The school was made synonymous with tales of drunken debauchery in 2006, when the infamous lacrosse team scandal became front page and gossip column fodder. In that incident, a stripper hired by team members accused three players of rape. By the time her allegations were proven false, the reputation was set.

This fall, a rash of embarrassing incidents that have further solidified the school’s “rich kids gone wild” image prompted Duke president Richard Brodhead to send an email to the student body, essentially pleading with them to behave better.

His missive lamented a “series of incidents that, at least to a distant public, made the most boorish student conduct seem typical of Duke,” and that “these episodes create a wildly distorted image of Duke.” He hoped that students “face up” to “features of student culture that strike you as less than ideal,” and added that “the administration will cooperate with you fully.”

The email does not convey a deep concern by Brodhead for the students’ self-destructive behavior, but rather his irritation that their antics are getting in the way of the school’s image. Nor is there any outraged call for serious culture change on campus—just a timid suggestion that students change their ways. And it demonstrated a lack of leadership; his administration should be out in front on this issue, not merely willing to “cooperate with you [the student body] fully.”

Duke didn’t always have an image problem. The only bad behavior associated with the school in the past was the courtside antics of its deliberately annoying basketball fans, until the lacrosse scandal emerged. It was followed quickly by a Rolling Stone article chronicling the school’s licentious “hook-up” culture, which in turn seemed to corroborate suspicions about the many coincidences between Duke and author Tom Wolfe’s libidinous DuPont University in his 2004 novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons. Wolfe denied that the two schools were one, although his daughter attended Duke and he interviewed Duke students as background for the novel.

Since then, Duke has suffered under the spotlight, especially in the most recent term. In November of this year, the school banned “tailgating” parties outside of the stadium before home football games, after the fifteen-year-old brother of a student was discovered drunkenly passed out in a port-a-potty. Before that, some fraternities’ emailed disparaging invitations to female students, suggesting that they come dressed “slutty” to their Halloween parties. Neither of these incidents would seem particularly shocking on most campuses, but because of Duke’s longstanding image problem, they drew snickers nationwide.

The really damning event, however, was a faux-thesis by anthropology student Karen Owen, who chronicled her sexual encounters with male Duke athletes in excruciating detail. Her series of PowerPoint slides (supposedly not intended for the public) became an overnight Internet sensation, and even inspired the script for an episode of the television show “Law and Order SVU” (Special Victims Unit).

Owen became a national object of scorn and humiliation. And Duke’s reputation for decadence—whether deserved or not—became hammered in stone.

To be fair, the “hookup” culture behind the scandals is hardly limited to Duke’s campus; it is a national phenomenon with any number of causes. Many students adopt their wild ways in high school or even junior high, long before they arrive on campus. Yet activities under Brodhead’s control exacerbate the situation. One key factor is the steady stream of events that vigorously encourage students—particularly female students—to have active sex lives without commitment.

On December 10, a few weeks after Brodhead sent his message, “professionally certified sex educator” Jay Friedman gave a campus performance entitled “The J Spot: A Sex Educator Tells All.” Attended by perhaps 200 students, most of them women, he laid out some rules for having sex.

The “right time to have sex,” Friedman told the audience, is when several criteria are met. This includes knowing the other person’s name, taking precautions for disease and pregnancy, and when you’re pretty sure the other person will try to give you pleasure as well as getting their own. The most stringent criterion is being able to “gaze longingly into each others’ eyes.”

Hooking up with strangers at a bar or party is okay: “You have to decide on your own value system,” he said. “People can have successful polyamorous relations” too, although there are “more challenges to having more than one partner.” He added that “if sex out of marriage equals ‘selfish hedonism,’ then sign me up.”

According to Maggie Quan, a graduate student in biomedical engineering who coordinated the event, the Women’s Center paid $2,500 to Friedman to appear. She said the center has been seeking similar lecturers to bring to campus, and it is at least the fourth such event in 2010. Other comparable shows included “I Heart Female Orgasm,” a lecture by a pair of “professional sex educators,” Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller, a talk by famed TV sex therapist Dr. Ruth, and an appearance by writer Jessica Valenti, the author of The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women.

But the most cringe-worthy act to appear on the Duke campus was infamous “Sex Workers Art Show.” That performance, in February of 2008, featured, among other equally twisted acts, a nearly naked male prostitute kneeling on all fours in a sandbox with a lit sparkler protruding from his posterior as the sound system boomed “America the Beautiful.”

Even after an outcry was raised about the Sex Workers’ show, Brodhead’s administration supported its Duke appearance. Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, penned an ardent defense of the Sex Workers Duke performance in a letter to the Raleigh News & Observer, saying that the controversy was “exaggerated” and that “we make sure students can host events that are provocative and that create conversation and exploration."

Which certainly raises the question, what are Duke students expected to explore after witnessing a display that mocked religion, morality, and patriotism and exalted deviance and prostitution?

Nor is the push against traditional morality a matter of a few visiting performers. Students can major not only in Women’s Studies but even in Study of Sexualities. Both of these advance radical views of female sexuality. The social science and humanities curricula are littered with courses that do the same, including Sex and Money (Cultural Anthropology 191N); Women, Gender, and Sexuality (History 169A); and Queer Theory (Study of Sexualities 141S).

It should surprise no one that all this activity coincides with a scandal-prone hookup culture. The women who participate in it are merely behaving the way the faculty and the “experts” brought to the campus suggest that they do, and the male students, quite predictably, take advantage of it.

Brodhead has shown himself willing, or rather eager, to take on one element of the school’s party culture—the drunken loutishness surrounding the male athletic programs. He joined in the immediate condemnation of the lacrosse players (wrongfully, since they were proven to be innocent). His administration quickly ended the practice of tailgating parties after the underage visitor was found passed out.

But the other side of the equation—the politically motivated assault on women’s traditional moral standards by radical feminists—he will not address. Most young women, at Duke and elsewhere, have enough sense to pay these enticements little mind. But college is an impressionable age; many students can be easily swayed by the pressure to unleash their inhibitions, particularly when the pressure is endorsed and funded by the university itself.

Karen Owen is obviously somebody who listened to the wrong messages. Perhaps nobody understands the psychology of the promiscuous college girl better than the predatory sex blogger Tucker Max (Duke Law School, Class of 2001). After all, his understanding of such women permits him to manipulate them into his bedroom—or backseat, or tavern bathroom, or in the bushes, or wherever. He described her with uncharacteristic sympathy, as “a lonely little girl” who “wants affection and connection from her sex, except she doesn’t even realize it.”

Possibly, if the school had provided Owen with different, more uplifting messages, she might not have fallen so hard and so far. And if the school did not encourage young women to make themselves available for casual hookups, many of the young men on campus might be less inclined toward uncouth ways.

There is considerable disagreement about academia’s role regarding the teaching of moral behavior. Some say universities should mold young people‘s morals—many private schools, including Duke, began as religious institutions. Others say that academia is ideally amoral, that it should merely provide students with information and let them sort their personal morality out for themselves.

Few, on either side of the issue, would agree that it is the business of a university to deliberately make students less moral, but Duke, in choosing to promote a “selfish hedonism,” is doing just that. Rather than attempting to pass off all the blame onto the students, Brodhead should “man up” by taking a serious look in the mirror—and at his campus—and ask “What exactly are we doing to these young women?”

Perhaps then he would realize that you cannot simultaneously ask students to be both more and less circumspect in their social lives and expect positive results. He also could realize that the philosophy of selfish hedonism needs to be fought with whatever means he has at his disposal—personnel changes, funding cuts, or his president’s bully pulpit. Otherwise, he is, and has been, complicit in the school’s moral decay.

Sadly, it is a question he may never ask. His email revealed that he just wants the big problem to go away without any big actions or responsibility on his part. Party on, Dukies!


Merry Xmas at Duke: You are laid off !!!

This story from Tuesday's Herald Sun!!!

DURHAM -- Duke University is laying off the head of the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership, effective Dec. 31, in response to an endowment's funding decision.

Assistant Vice President for Community Affairs Michael Palmer is one of two employees losing partnership-related jobs because the Duke Endowment notified the university this spring that it intended to stop funding the 14-year-old program.

Palmer's boss, Vice President for Durham and Regional Affairs Phail Wynn, confirmed the move on Monday.

Wynn said Palmer has been "a marvelous ambassador for the university during some turbulent times," especially in the early years of the partnership.

But the endowment's decision, combined with the university's own recession-induced belt-tightening, left campus leaders unable to pay for the "administrative infrastructure" they'd previously devoted to the partnership, Wynn said.

Duke, as of late last week, hadn't formally announced Palmer's impending departure, but at least a few community leaders knew it was in the works.

One, school board member and First Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Fredrick Davis, wrote Duke President Richard Brodhead, Mayor Bill Bell and a few other officials Friday to voice what he termed his "disgust and disappointment" with the decision.

Davis also chided Duke officials for failing to give Palmer a send-off befitting an administrator who over the years had worked to blunt situations that otherwise "would have been an embarrassment to the Duke community."

On Monday, Duke officials responded by e-mailing a "special edition" community engagement newsletter that acknowledged Palmer's impending departure without going into the reasons for it.

The newsletter included tributes from Wynn and two other Duke officials who have worked on neighborhood issues, Sam Miglarese and Mayme Webb-Bledsoe.

Wynn in an interview said Miglarese and Webb-Bledsoe are staying on and would help him work on partnership-related matters.

Miglarese, Duke's director of community engagement, serves as liaison to six neighborhoods near East Campus. Webb-Bledsoe, the school's neighborhood coordinator, serves as facilitator of the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Project.

Duke officials also intend to use interns to continue work on the partnership, Wynn said.

The independent, Charlotte-based Duke Endowment in February announced that it had awarded the partnership $677,500, but that apparently was its last-gasp donation to the program.

Wynn said he'd learned soon after joining the Duke staff in January 2008 that endowment managers wanted to cut off the partnership.

He said he tried negotiating a soft phase-out, but the economy's savaging of major-institution investment portfolios forced a decision more quickly than he'd hoped. Duke officials learned this spring that endowment funding of the partnership would end in June.

The partnership lost out as endowment managers "took an especially hard look at long-term funding commitments," Wynn said, noting that they'd backed the program for more than a decade, more than twice as long as their normal practice.

Duke officials told Palmer in April that his position would be discontinued, Wynn said.

The Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership works with a dozen near-to-campus communities, among them Walltown, Burch Avenue, Old West Durham, Trinity Park, Trinity Heights, Tuscaloosa-Lakewood and Watts Hospital-Hallandale.

It's also aided a number of local service organizations, including Davis' church and a related nonprofit, Calvary Ministries of the West End Inc.

Wynn said other Duke fundraising efforts -- including the school's "Doing Good in the Neighborhood" -- would help supply money to continue supporting partnership-backed programs.

He said he's nonetheless warned at least some of the organizations Duke works with that funding after the current fiscal year is "very uncertain."

Duke officials are "working with them on helping them fundraise and helping them build capacity to be more self-sustaining in the years to come," Wynn added.

Palmer, a former Durham deputy county manager, couldn't be reached Friday for comment.

The unnamed employee who's losing a partnership-related job has found another position at Duke. The school arranged interviews for Palmer for campus jobs, but didn't find any that he considered suitable, Wynn said.

Read more: The Herald-Sun - Cuts force Duke to lay off partnership head


Duke decides Hellinga case. Or so it seems.

Search words Homme Hellinga Anil Potti Duke University

✔ Fact Checker here.

Well Mr. Brodhead can stop sending out e-mails blaming students for a sour public perception of Duke and calling for a "culture" shift among them.

Because secret decisions like this in the Hellinga saga undermine an institution more than a Tailgate party.

Precisely three years after questions arose in December 2007, we do not know what the charges were, we do not know if Hellinga faced them alone or if others in biochemistry were involved, we do not know who judged him. We do not know what procedural safeguards there were, nor what standard was applied.

It seems certain -- I guess -- that there is a conclusion, and it seems to be there was no "faculty misconduct" as narrowly defined. But we can infer something must be stirring from the words of the PR officer: "... the University has taken appropriate action to address any concerns identified.” Well at least FC infers, what is your interpretation of this Astucious statement?

As the Chronicle reports, even Hellinga's colleagues in biochemistry are in the dark. Imagine working with a guy down the hall, and not being comfortable with scientific collaboration because you simply do not know the facts. Not just a guy down the hall, but the department's James B. Duke Professor.

All this is hardly reassuring -- and even more troubling when you remember that Dr. Anil Potti -- even though he has resigned -- will face the precise kind of proceeding likely ending with the same kind of bewilderment.

As for culture shifts, allow me, please, to refer to a case of faculty misconduct at Harvard decided this past summer. This involved Michael Hauser, prominent in the field of human and animal cognition, with the road to judging him so bumpy that Dean of the Arts and Sciences Michael Smith announced a total review of "communication and confidentiality practices."

Today the PR e-mail to the Chronicle stated, “The details of this review, conducted under the University’s research misconduct policies and procedures, are confidential." Curiously, the federal law mandates that Hellinga himself cited to duck comment to the Chronicle were not relied on by Duke.

Just like at Harvard, our university's clandestine policies and procedures -- the administrative and faculty culture at Duke -- cry out for review.

Thank you for reading.


Leadership!!! Brodhead discovers the Dream Act

✔ Fact Checker here.

Mr Brodhead, here is the list of presidents of US News and World Report Top 10 universities (*Duke is in a three way tie for 9, 10, and 11) and when they spoke out.

Harvard -- Sept 15, 2010 - Having expressed her support informally before, President Drew G. Faust personally went to Capitol Hill with a student who would be affected to lobby. As early as May, 2009 she had spoken out strongly.

Princeton -- Feb 18, 2010 - President Tilghman announced support.

Yale -- Sept 21, 2010 - President Richard Levin told students he supports the Dream Act, his first public statement after declining to speak out in the past.

Columbia - June 2, 2010 -- University President Lee Bollinger has offered his "strongest endorsement" of the DREAM Act.

Stanford - May, 2010 - Stanford President John Hennessy conveyed his full support, joining the UC Berkeley and UCLA Chancellors, University of Florida president, the University of Washington president and others.

CalTech - Before April 24, 2009, President Jean-Lou Chameaue expressed support.

MIT - President Susan Hockfield spoke out before September 21, 2010.

Dartmouth - Former President James Wright spoke out on December 1, 2006, and President Jim Yong Kim has endorsed the proposal throughout his tenure.

University of Chicago - President Robert J. Zimmer spoke out on Oct 23 2007

A review of the Chronicle archive and the archives for Duke News reveals no previous statement by Mr. Brodhead. Indeed the letter to Senator Hagan is stealth -- not yet available in a Duke press release.



Duke's venture into Kunshan, China falls apart

Before I start my principal essay of the day, here are the kind of numbers FC is famous for. Both appeared in Duke PR releases:

-- 12/4/2010 "The city of Kunshan is funding the construction of Phase 1 of the campus -- an investment that would cost about $260 million in U.S. dollars if it were built in Durham." The Chronicle editorial this morning uses that number, hyped as it is.

-- 9/30/2010 "Duke's $650 million campus under construction in Kunshan, China."

✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

Fact Checker has to hand it to our #1 PR man. Michael Schoenfeld's press release after the Trustee discussion of the Brodhead Administration's debacle in Kunshan had a spin that made it look as though we were on top of our game: words like "reviewing progress" on a "strategic objective" that was "extending Duke's programs to better serve an increasingly interconnected world." Yes, he split the infinitive.

In reality, this entire initiative is chop suey.

✔ 1) Almost a full year after President Brodhead conducted an elaborate signing ceremony with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the deal is dead. Duke's press release says the institution, which Duke has been bragging about, is unwilling to serve as the "legal partner" required in China. Why this is bubbling up now, and not earlier, is not known. We will return to the scramble to secure a new marriage in a moment.

✔ 2) Loyal Readers, our deal with the city of Kunshan for a new campus apparently isn't what Brodhead once said: a free ride with the city paying for all construction and then paying to run the campus for five years -- including electric power which was specified. Duke's international vice president Jones had to ask the Trustees last weekend for $5.5 million to cover planning, construction and oversight. Moreover, as Jones told the Academic Council last Thursday, he will go back to the trustees next February to seek an operational budget of $1 million a year. Strapped for cash, Duke will have to dip into the principal of its endowment for the money.

✔ 3) Time after time, administrators have waffled on the date when we could take occupancy in Kunshan. As documented below, Dean Nowicki once put the date as August, 2010. Duke Magazine (for alumni) reported last fall we'd move in in 2011 -- and hardly had this ink dried when Jones started to talk about 2012. Talk about it, yes. Explain it, no.

✔ 4) And Jones revealed to the Trustees that the Chinese require an undergraduate program as well as the planned Fuqua Business School offerings. It's not clear why this is just bubbling up now either, but Duke is going to try to fudge it, trying to get by with 50 students or so in programs leading to certificates in global health and entrepreneurship.

OK let's take this step by step.


January 21, 2010: Brodhead is in China, his second trip to the country, no doubt fulfilling the promise made after his first visit in June, 2006 to return every year or two.

This was his first visit to Kunshan, not surprising since it is a backwater (core city, 300,000) with no university, no airport, only one hotel with any stars which is to say only one where he could step and retain any self respect (others with stars that you may see are in the lake region, far from the city itself.) After a program of song and dance on a stage worthy of a Hollywood set, Brodhead (not yet calling himself Uncle Dick) joined his Chinese university counterpart at a long table fronted with scarlet bunting, the staffs of little flags of the US and China crossed in front of them.

You can still watch video of the drama on the internet. Any moment, you expect Obama and Wen Jiabao.

With great ceremony, the legal papers in special folders are signed with memorial pens and exchanged, and then everyone steps from the stage, gets a silver shovel, and turns the first earth for construction.

The failure of this deal has to be a major embarrassment for Brodhead. It is his signature product, his legacy.

We search desperately for a new partner. The Chinese government has set a deadline: March, 2011. FC list of school's to watch: Fudan University, Tsinghua University or the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. As Jones acknowledged in a fall interview with Duke Magazine (for alumni), prophetically, "..anytime that something like this doesn’t work, you take a reputational hit. Once we establish a commitment that we’re going to be engaged somewhere, it becomes incumbent on us to do everything possible to make sure that it will work effectively..."


There's an old Chinese proverb: "We flash the money, American educators come running."

Dukies first heard the word Kunshan on the morning of April 16, 2009, in an unusually long and detailed Chronicle article about aspirations of the Fuqua School of Business. Never mind that Fuqua's profitable business of running corporate education programs was tanking (FC uncovered the specifics later, sales plummeting to $47,011,200 from $81,046,560 the year before.) Never mind that Fuqua was even reduced to hawking rooms in its Dave Thomas conference center (yes named for the Wendy's guy; he was Fuqua's next door neighbor) to tourists as a bed and breakfast, $99 for 2 people. And never mind that Fuqua had dropped millions by charging into other international partnerships, the list led by the Goethe-University Frankfurt Faculty of Economics and Business. Plus the London School of Economics. Plus an announced agreement with the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad that was aborted during the first trimester in favor of a vague deal with two alumni in India.

The Chronicle said Fuqua was finding an explosive interest in its revamped Cross-Continent MBA Program, a gimmick that the newspaper did not detail nor question at all: students would shuttle to five leading cities around the world, well six if we include Durham, put in 60 days total and combined with "distance learning" get an MBA in 16 months. Tuition: cash, no scholarships, no loans, $120,100 plus travel costs. FC dubbed it "Duke on $2,000 a day."

"With applications mounting," we were told in the first Chronicle words, Dean Blair Sheppard expected to enroll at least 180 students in the program's first class, and hoped to grow to 280 students per class, "a goal Sheppard said he is confident will be reached by the second year," that is, the current 2010-11 academic year.

Turns out, applications weren't mounting at all, but lagging, lagging badly and for the first year, Shep had only rounded up 2/3rds of the students he sought. Not 180 but 120. And most of them were Americans, robbing the program of its intended international flavor. We have never been able to find out anything about the board scores or other qualifications of the students.

No worry. Shep promised 280 students in year two, which is to say the current year. This promise was made with full understanding of world economic conditions.

Guess what. Now that we are in year two, Fuqua has made no announcement of enrollment, but an enterprising Deputy Fact Checker got an admissions officer to say there were around 140, half of the goal.

With Fuqua setting the pace, and unspecified other divisions of Duke to follow, the focus for all this intellectual ferment was to be Kunshan, with the city covering, as the Chronicle put it, "all construction and operating costs for the facilities," Phase One in six buildings on 200 acres, precisely twice the size of East Campus. When tuition paying students arrive, it's all gravy for Duke, as "the University will not share a portion of the revenue with the city."

Yes all this with only one Duke commitment: to send perhaps 140 Fuqua students to the city for 9 days a year! (This was later expanded to 16 days a year, to include orientation formerly scheduled for London, where Duke was having its own embarassing problems and holing people up in a London Bridge hotel far from the city's business district.)

Kunshan? Shep explained it was "just outside of Shanghai."

Well not quite. The distance between Shanghai's international airport and Kunshan, is the same as between Durham and Winston-Salem.

Ah, so, our administrators told us, there's a high speed railroad, takes only 20 minutes.

Well not quite. The Chinese have been experimenting with a Shanghai - Nanjing link, called the RMB 146. A conventional train hit 302 miles an hour on the tracks a week ago. Modified trains have hit 357 and 362 miles an hour. It's possible to catch one, but most of these super-trains will whisk by the South Kunshan station -- south of the city -- without even whistling.

20 minutes? The high speed train begins its route at the newly opened Hongqiao Railway Station. From People’s Square on Metro Line 2, it takes about 35 minutes to reach the new railroad. It takes far longer from other locations in teeming Shanghai, with its 17 million people.

Brodhead chimed in that Kunshan enjoyed one of the highest per capita incomes in China. Half of the world's notebook computers, he said, are built here! Lots of other electonics too. Lots of flat panel TV's, not to mention LED electric bulbs.

All that's correct so far as it goes; it neglects that its very success is beginning to cause the demise of the city.

A quarter century ago, as the electronics age dawned, Taiwan became one of the world's outsourcing manufacturing centers. It prospered.

As wages grew, the sharks in Taipei running companies like Compal and FoxComm discovered they could hire workers for one-tenth as much in "mainland China." Yes, one-tenth as much pay. These available workers -- in huge waves -- were mostly young, in their early 20's, leaving farms and rural life, seeking more fulfillment in a city.

Compal and FoxComm picked Kunshan because trucks could be loaded with new computers, driven to ships on the East China Sea, and for the return trip, filled up with empty cardboard boxes (a principal US export) and driven back to Kunshan -- all in one day.

Now two factors are clouding the picture.

Compal -- maker of 38 million laptops last year, 23 percent of the world's total -- is looking further inland to find cheap labor. Forget Kunshan.

And now the other giant FoxComm.

Last June 7 -- as Duke's VP Jones, Supreme Dean Nowicki and other Duke administrators visited an empty hole in the ground in Kunshan to try to visualize what might occur there -- thousands of workers in a nearby rubber factory clashed violently with para-military police. As the AP reported ten days later, "...workers have begun demanding significant wage increases and showed far less tolerance for harsh work conditions than their predecessors did only five years ago."

FoxComm requires its workers to put in six 12 hour days a week. Its workers must live in bleak compounds next to their factories, which are surrounded by barbed wire since the city is a high crime nightmare. In Kunshan and elsewhere, the company was hit last spring with a rash of suicides by employees who could not tolerate these conditions.

The company's response: all employees in Kunshan were asked to sign a pledge that they would not commit suicide. And the company put up safety nets, like those used by trapeze artists at a circus, all around its high-rise dormitories. Soon after, a woman jumped -- killed when she missed the net and instead became impaled on a steel support for it.

On his return to Durham, Jones said our delegation was not aware of the strike. Mindful of the way Duke students confronted segregation in Durham decades ago and poor working conditions in sweatshops turning out University clothing more recently, Fact Checker wrote VP Jones to ask if he saw Duke students on the Kunshan campus engaged in such local issues.

We still await his answer.


In its first mention of Kunshan on April 16, 2009, the Chronicle quoted Sheppard
saying construction would begin in August, 2009.

The next we heard was on December 4 -- precisely a year ago -- when the Trustee winter meeting rolled around -- and the breathless PR people said Duke would send a delegation to Kunshan in January to "break ground," adding "the facilities would be ready for occupancy in 2011."

In January of this year, as noted above, when Uncle Dick went to Kunshan (saying very little about the city, but praising lake country north as beautiful), Duke PR flooded editors with pictures of the "ground-breaking." Behind Brodhead was a huge sign declaring the "cornerstone ceremony."

Six months later, June 16, the Chronicle -- without bothering to tell us about the other deadlines -- reported on a visit to Kunshan by a coterie of Deans trying to figure out what to do with the facility. Oh that's not what the official announcement said; but that's what it meant.

Steve Nowicki allowed that -- as the Chronicle put it -- "construction is set to begin soon."

Huh? Soon?????

And in an apparent contradiction, Nowicki said "The University will use the (Kunshan) facilities for the Global Semester Abroad program beginning next semester," a reference to undergraduates and August, 2010.

And the biggest laugh was in the Chronicle headline: "Chinese city prepares for opening of Duke campus."

By the time October rolled around, Jones, without ever wincing, had advanced the occupancy date to 2012.

Fact Checker, curious about the shifting sands, wrote to PR VP Schoenfeld, who dodged by saying site preparation and utility work was underway. When pressed, Schoenfeld snapped back, "Buildings need foundation, utilities and infrastructure before the “steel and stone” go up, unless you’ve come up with a new process. So the answer is yes, construction has started."


Two generations ago, when Duke had another Yale English Ph.D. named Douglas Knight as its foundering president, the Ford Foundation encouraged some promising universities to become regional centers of excellence. We went from that modest goal to "national university" with audacious ambitions under Terry Sanford. Nan Keohane incessantly referred to a "research university," and now Uncle Dick conquers the world, the "global university."

Dare not speak, however, about problems like academic freedom, in places like Singapore or Kunshan. Or some of the unsavory characters we are making deals with, like the sheik in Dubai.

Ralph Litzinger, an associate professor of cultural anthropology, is the only voice FC has heard on our campus. He calls the Kunshan plans “beautiful.” But he notes there are films that are banned, books that are banned, scholars who are censored.

“Will I be able to go onto the Kunshan campus and teach a contemporary ethnicity course that does an evaluation of the Xinjiang and Tibet protests? Will I be able to teach an environmental class that talks about how, in the developing world, community groups can organize against the state? Will I be able to use examples of protests in China? Will I be able to bring community leaders in China, people who work in labor and the environment and who are under surveillance by the Chinese government, onto the campus? These are the things that a lot of us are worrying about—just what the pedagogical experience will feel like on a campus like this. That’s assuming that this is going to be a campus where there really will be a critical liberal-arts education.”

Brodhead has only talked of "trade-offs" in international deals.

✔ In his first three months on the job, VP Jones travelled to Kunshan, Singapore, India, South Africa and Brazil which was “a kind of discovery process of learning what’s going on, what the opportunities are, what the needs are, what the challenges are.” We do not know about Inchon, South Korea, which had been reported dangling a deal like Kunshan.

FC expects many more Kunshans, triumphs and failures, meaning plenty of work for currrent and future Fact Checkers.

✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔


First person stories: "Potti was my cancer doc." A Fact Checker exclusive report about people who have gone from "hope" to "hell."

Search words: Anil Potti Duke University

Two posts today; scroll down for Kunshan.

✔Good day, Fellow Dukies. Today, a Fact Checker exclusive. For the first time, three Potti patients speak out, revealing their stories from "hope" to "hell."

Loyal Readers will undoubtedly recall the Agenda I offered for the October meeting of the Trustees, starting with the dismissal of Dr. Anil Potti. At that point, an investigation by the Provost had established Potti had "issues of substantial concern" in his resume, which is to say big fat lies starting with a faked Rhodes Scholarship. Since the Administration saw fit to allow this clown to remain on our faculty, FC suggested the Trustees protect the school's integrity by directing President Brodhead to fire him.

We of course heard nothing in response.

With passage of two months, Potti's mentor Dr. Joseph Nevins concluded there was no validity to their joint work on ovarian cancer and asked that a medical journal article be retracted. Potti scrambled for the exit sign before more retractions are made.

The three patients who have now stepped forward establish the need for direct intervention by Trustees: nothing is being done to keep them informed, nothing to be kind to them, and nothing to help them. This failure is rupturing the good name of all of Duke Medicine. And as important as the wobbly university financial picture and deterioration of the situation in Kunshan are (discussed below), the Potti Mess is paramount.

All three patients tell the same story: they knew nothing of the Potti Mess until last week, just after Duke canceled Potti's clinical trials, which is to say experiments on human beings, and when a short telephone call from a Duke doctor informed them they'd "figure out what to do next" in their upcoming regular appointments.

People who had put their faith in this institution, in one of its leading cancer researchers, people who had been "elated" to be included in his trials, suddenly found themselves pummeled. Let's meet them:

✔ The first has substantial ties to the University family, but has not cleared FC to use her name. Her father was one of Duke's early employees, serving here for two generations and then retiring. The breast cancer patient, herself, formerly worked in medical research at Duke and is believed to be one of the first people enrolled in Potti's trials. Single, she now has to work two jobs despite her frail condition in order to meet her extensive medical bills.

And her brother, who contacted FC and has given consent for use of his name, Michael Allen of Wilmington, N.C., worked at Duke briefly before a 20-year career with the Military Police in the Marine Corps. He told FC "The sad part is that no one has reached out to the patients that are ultimately the most affected people of all." We will return to Mike Allen in a moment.

✔ The second patient is Wendy Cadwell of upstate New York, coming to Duke because of the revolutionary promise of Potti's "discovery" that DNA and RNA held secrets that would reveal what cancer treatment work best in specific individuals. This is the holy grail of genome research, translating laboratory findings into treatments that will help people.

Ironically her husband Bruce, who contacted Fact Checker, is an executive of a company that makes dummies for use in medical experiments and training. He told FC: "We found out about (the Potti mess) by a call from the Duke physician treating her. The call came last week, with the comment we wanted you to hear it from us first" and that "we can discuss at your next visit.... We have received zero in writing from Duke on the subject, just the call."

✔ The third patient contacted FC but has requested that no information be released to identify her. Her story was the most heart-wrenching, her words barely spoken between sobs.

Her mother had breast cancer attributed to a genetic mutation. So did her husband's mother, although the (BRCA1) gene was involved in one, the gene (BRCA2) in the other. She has fears for her two young daughters.

After routine exams turned up a tiny lump, her approach was quite intellectual: do I need more tests? What is the pathology report? What are the treatment options and side effects? And lastly, discussion of a clinical trial that her physician knew about when she asked if there were one treatment that he'd recommend over others."

Dr. Potti gave her hope. Emotional help at least. Encouragement.

He gave her medicine. He gave her bunk. "I was not responding as I had been told I would to the chemotherapy. My doctor seemed to be saying that even with the specific targeting, the chemotherapy I was getting was going to miss its mark sometimes, and I might be that unfortunate person."

"We did not see the stories in the paper about Dr Potti. The first I knew was a phone call.. just before Thanksgiving. There was no help, just a call that the trial I was in was being ended because it would not work out. The doctor seemed to be in a hurry. I did not know about the fraud and I wasn't told."

"It's hell. I would have been better off if my spirits had never been lifted, only to be dropped back because of some one's dishonesty.... How did he get away with it so long. People work with Potti; they must have known. All this is devastating to me and everyone around me."

✔✔ Here is the letter that Mike Allen sent President Brodhead on Tuesday:

"My sister was one of the first patients admitted to this study. She received a phone call from one of the Doctors in the program four nights ago apologizing for the news about Dr. Potti. The next day, we found out that the issue started last July.

"She never received an official notification from Duke, even though she has continued to be seen and treated there since July.

"I find it hard to believe that Dr. Potti credentials were not checked regardless of what the Duke President says.... My sister is devastated because of this mess. I believe that if any of you had a family member or friend go through this, you might look at it differently.

"Technically, I do not care about peer reviews, papers published, lab protocols, face value acceptance of resumes, or, passing the buck. What I do expect is that an institution such as Duke needs to step up.

"I have seen a ton of inter-net stories and after the fact comments concerning this issue with Doctor Potti, Duke University, Eli Lilly, Glaxosmithkline, (Dr. Potti received thousands of dollars numerous times to speak at functions held by these pharmaceutical companies on this genome project) in the last few days. The fingers are pointing everywhere. Yes, this could eventually affect the University, the Potti backers, the Federal grant money applied to the project, reputations of both the University and it's administration.

"I know from personal experience that 99.9% of the general employees and mid-management staff do a great job. Most of them care deeply about providing the best service possible to the public, students and faculty of the University. The sad part is that no one has reached out to the patients that are ultimately the most affected people of all.

"I do not have great assets or influence. I will however do everything in my power to ensure that ultimately someone at Duke is held responsible, and, that all of the patients that were boondoggled by this idiot are not forgotten.

"My sister was under the impression until a few days ago that she was fortunate to be included in this study, that her cancer was being aggressively treated based on the hype that the University and it's staff had given her. She has been in this program since the beginning. My sister has been fighting cancer for about six years total, had surgeries, chemo and everything else prescribed to her based on erroneous data.

"Cancer is a terrible disease and fighting it is hard enough. Add to that the emotional ups and downs that go with it, she did not need this to add to her struggle. Although I was not educated at Duke, I did receive education on the treatment of people. Duke University, this is totally unsatisfactory. Do you intend to right this wrong to the extent possible? Mike Allen"

✔ Today's Chronicle story states the Potti Mess is not on the "official agenda," but is going to come up as a sideshow discussion. That's not good enough.

And Brodhead says the Trustees will be given information that the rest of us cannot have. Yes, the same Uncle Dick who has sent his administrators out to proclaim Duke would be totally "transparent" and its officials "accountable" in the Potti mess, is now telling us there are secrets.

Tell me Dick, how do you decide what to tell us, and how do you decide what to keep secret.

As for the discussion of campus culture, some of the old timers on the board may recall when Uncle Terry wrote students about the Crazy language employed to taunt at basketball games, the response was immediate, with the next game cleaned up.

Dick, how was response to you? You said you'd support students who wanted change. How many have come forward in response to your appointing yourself their Uncle.

Meet me at K-Ville, Mr. President.

✔✔ The Fact Checker essay now continues into other items for the Trustee agenda this weekend.

The most critical element, in my evaluation, will be the briefing that Executive VP Trask gives to the budget committee. It does not concern the value of the endowment, which has occupied the spotlight since the meltdown two years ago, but rather what we are earning on the endowment.

The ten year average has been slipping and slipping -- but an incredible 58.2 percent return during the dot.com boom of 1999-2000 hid the bad news. This fall that aberration was dropped from the ten year average.

The new calculation: for the past decade, Duke has averaged 6.5 percent return on its money. We budgeted for 8.5 percent.

The 8.5 percent assumed we would spend 5.5 percent and salt away 3 percent to protect the endowment against long term erosion of purchasing power. The Trustees have been cheating --- robbing that portion that we are supposed to be saving and spending it; last year, the general endowment is being tapped not for 5.5 percent but 5.8 percent. And to sustain need-blind undergraduate admissions, we are tapping endowment for financial aid at 7.2 percent. This academic year's numbers are secret until next October.

In recent years, the endowment has given us as much as 19 percent of the annual operating income for the educational part of Duke. Even with the higher, irresponsible withdrawals, that has slipped, down to a projected 15 and 16 percent. If we must cut again because the sustained earnings are below expectations, the FC estimate is the endowment may only provide 9.8 percent, which would mean a real crimp on this place.

✔ Next, employee raises after a two year freeze. It is apparent to FC that any raise will add about $30 or $35 million to a projected deficit already running at around $35 million for next year. Do we do it or not? And if so, do all employees share equally, or do some of the higher paid employees have to sacrifice a bit more to accord lower level employees who are really stretched some relief.

✔ Finally, the Trustees have to get serious about a long range fund-raising drive. There are 36 colleges and universities currently seeking to raise $1 billion or more. The leader is Stanford at $4.3 billion, an amount just achieved. Columbia and Cornell are seeking $4 billion, with Columbia in strong position to succeed and Cornell less so by the deadline of Dec 31, 2011. The point is, our $300 million Financial Aid Initiative which started in January 2005 and ended in December 2008, is paltry, not in that league at all, and those other schools will be setting a pace we cannot keep up with.

The Trustees must realistically examine if Uncle Dick will be able to see us through all stages of the campaign. At age 63, will he be available to wait out the current hard times, begin a year long quiet campaign and then a five or six year long drive? Total time likely to be a decade.

✔ Unless I am missing something, the trustee discussion of "entrepreneurship" will be like their bus trip around the more pleasant sections of Durham: fiddling while Rome burns.

My analysis of the falling apart of our Kunshan deal appears as a comment linked to the separate Chronicle story on that.

Thank you for reading Fact Checker.

E Mail: Duke.Fact.Checker@Gmail.com
Fact Checker articles are searchable thru the Chronicle archive. They also appear at http://dukefactchecker.blogspot.com/

Duke's deal in Kunshan falls apart!!!

✔ Fact Checker here.

You have to feel sorry for Dick Brodhead this morning, with his signature expansion of Duke into China in shambles.

Everything seemed in order back in January when Brodhead, his then international adviser Dr Sandy Williams, Peter the Provost and Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard went to China and signed a series of formal agreements with Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

What a visual for the TV cameras: an immense fake Hollywood set in a field in the backwater of Kunshan, a long diplomatic table decked with fancy red bunting, with little US and Chinese flags crossed in front of the signatories. You can still view the video thru Duke's website!!

Didn't the Dukies know, didn't their Chinese counter-parts know then of the legal requirement for an international university to be linked to a Chinese school? Surely they must have, for Duke is encountering the same obstacle in India.

Not to mention the silver shovels and turning of the earth last January 21, an event variously described as a "ground-breaking" and "cornerstone laying." The official Duke press release was ebullient: "Construction of the five buildings, designed by the architectural firm Gensler, will begin immediately and is expected to be complete in 2011."

✔ Fast forward to October: picking up the scent that all was not well in Kunshan, FC inquired of Vice President Schoenfeld. There was a snippy, misleading reply in response to a question about construction, the building's footprint, steel into the sky: "Buildings need foundation, utilities and infrastructure before the “steel and stone” go up, unless you’ve come up with a new process." Yes, FC was assured, construction is underway.

At least Schoenfeld answered; VP Jones became the first ordained Christian minister to ignore our correspondence.

✔ Fast forward to November: Brodhead and our new VP for international strategy Greg Jones were originally scheduled for a Prime Time Forum on November 16. That's part of a continuing series of appearances by administrators in Griffith Theater, with live and taped coverage on the internet. The aim is to keep employees informed, which is to say in line and aboard.

But suddenly, without explanation, this was canceled, only to have Jones pop up alone at a sleepy meeting yesterday of the Academic Council in an airless classroom in the sub-sub basement of the Divinity School.

And while the Nov 16th session was to include an update on "a new facility currently under construction" in Kunshan, China, Jones confirmed there is nothing under construction at all, for we are seeking $5.5 million "for design, consulting and construction oversight."

Flashback: December 5, 2009: the administration told the Trustees the city of Kunshan was picking up the entire construction cost, giving us the keys for at least 20 years for free, and throwing in free electricity to boot.

✔ And so it goes. FC has four different dates on file for completion of construction. Duke Magazine this fall had a story about our internationalization, and said we'd take occupancy in 2011. The ink hadn't even dried before we started to see 2012 mentioned.

And what do we have planned in this 200 acre complex. The only thing certain is that Fuqua's struggling (half as many students this year as the Dean "promised") Cross Continent MBA program will be in residence for 9 days, and if the site is also used by default for orientation, for a total of 16.

✔ Back to the November employee forum. The hype included this line: That Duke in Kunshan was "building on its long and successful history of international programs and partnerships..."

Oh how soon we forget. Back on October 18, 2007, Brodhead, before he was affectionately known as Uncle Dick, used his annual address to the faculty to talk about "The International Dimensions of Duke's Ambitions."

He did make a good point: Duke had no strategy, but rather a lot of disorganized, "opportunistic" thrusts into the international scene. Translation: you got money, we're en route.

As Brodhead droned on, he listed our best efforts: "longstanding agreements with the London School of Economics and the Goethe-University Frankfurt Faculty of Economics and Business More recently, Duke positioned itself to become one of the first American business schools to have a significant presence in India through an agreement with the IIMA—the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad."

Today, all of those agreements are dead. Like the PR man said, a "long and successful" history.

✔ Thank you for reading FC.