POTTI MESS - quack explains his conduct

December 16 2011 -- Dr Anil Potti has explained his conduct while at Duke University -- from the faked Rhodes Scholarship through research with made-up results -- in a letter to the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners.

Fact Checker now posts as www.DukeCheck.com and we look forward to your continuing to read our blog at its new location.


Dr Anil Potti settles with 11 patients

keywords Dr Anil Potti malpractice Duke University cancer

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same people, same bite, new address. please join us.


Potti Mess: Duke challenges Med Board conclusion on resume

Search words cancer Duke University Anil Potti

Duke came out swinging this morning, slamming the North Carolina Medical Board for saying the university had determined the fraudulent resume of Dr. Anil Potti — the cancer quack who faked a Rhodes Scholarship and other credentials — was the result of “honest errors.”

A no-nonsense letter from the University General Counsel’s Office to the president of the Medical Board used one word to describe its interpretation of Duke’s investigation: “inaccurate.”

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Please join us there to continue reading.


Potti cops plea, keeps NC medical license

Dr Anil Potti has gotten off with a reprimand from the North Carolina Medical Board.
See our new blog...... www.DukeCheck.com for details.


Fuqua guts plans for Kunshan. Chinese government to prohibit all religion on campus -- praying and teaching

Key words Duke University Kunshan Richard Brodhead Duke Kunshan University

OUR BLOG has moved. Same stuff. No location. www.DukeCheck.com



We've moved. Same dog. Same bite. New location

Fact Checker is now www.DukeCheck.com

Search words: Duke University, Duke Kunshan University, Anil Potti, Richard Brodhead.


We've moved!!! Fact Checker is now www.DukeCheck.com

✔✔✔✔✔ Our new address is www.DukeCheck.com

Same barking dog, same bite. New address.

If you did not see our posts about the resignation of Dr. Cuffe, and the lawsuits against Dr. Potti, please read them on this blog.

Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think!



FC wants to hear from more people on campus about their experiences during the tornado alerts last Tuesday.

What happened when Duke issued a high level WARNING in the early afternoon. What did you do? What did university employees do? Their supervisors? What training did you have.

We particularly want to hear from people who have contact with patients in Duke Health.

Fact Checker assures all sources of confidentiality. After your e-mail is read, it is deleted.


Duke Health losing its Chief Medical Officer after just 8 weeks. New job, and enormous salary increase, for Dr Michael Cuffe at Hosp Corp of America

Make sure you scroll down after reading this: first Potti Mess lawsuit filed.

✔✔✔✔✔ Chancellor Victor Dzau said last night that he has "unofficial" word that Dr. Michael Cuffe -- named Chief Medical Officer for all of Duke Health just eight weeks ago -- was resigning.

In fact Dzau was just being careful and polite, leaving to Cuffe and his new employer, the Hospital Corporation of America, the formal announcement. The chancellor -- reached after FC received a flurry of tips from Loyal Readers -- joined others in contact with FC to express deep regret at Duke's loss and best wishes to Cuffe as he leaves for an unparalleled opportunity -- no longer in academic medicine but in the corporate world.

Word of Cuffe's resignation -- effective in November -- sent a shock wave through the medical campus, where Cuffe enjoys a sterling reputation. One source told FC his mood was one of disappointment; he praised Cuffe as "brilliant," and said he had seemed devoted to Duke and effecting change, and had been lured by high paying corporate offers before.

Cuffe, who had been vice dean of the Medical School (and holder of a couple other titles) leapfrogged over others at Duke Medicine to his post in the inner circle in July. He also was given the title of vice president for ambulatory care, with vast authority over the ever-expanding medical empire.

Cuffe -- an alumnus of the medical school '91 who took it upon himself to earn an MBA in 2009 -- is a cardiologist. He was regarded as having an inside track to succeed Dzau if the chancellor elects to retire in three years, when he will be 68 and his current five-year contract expires. We believe Cuffe is about 47 years old. We did not reach him last night, as it got pretty late before we put together elements of the story.

✔✔ Cuffe will join the Nashville based Hospital Corporation of America, a behemouth that runs for-profit hospitals, employs 180,000 people and had sales last year of $33 billion. He reportedly will hold the title of XXX president and chief operating officer, #2 in command under a board chair who will reach retirement age in six years. This position has been open for some time. XXX correction: While Dr Cuffe will hold the title of president, this is in a particular division, rather than being corporate wide. XXX

Correction: our original post, based upon what we understood to be his new job, estimated his new salary. We can no longer support those calculations and have XXX them to flag historians who value FC!

XXX Cuffe, who earned $535,201 in the last year for which we have information, can expect a rather hefty increase. His new boss, HCA chair Richard Bracken, earned a neat $38,201,047 last year.

Cuffe also does a leapfrog at HCA, landing ahead of eight group presidents. So far as FC can determine, the highest earning of those was Samuel Hazen, president of the operations group, who took down $15,001,816 last year. XXXX

✔ Fact Checker -- in compiling those numbers -- also spotted a rather serious diversity issue at HCA. There are 15 corporate directors -- all of them male, all of them white. Among the directors are two members of the Frist family, multi-billionnaires several times over, who founded HCA. The most notable family member is former US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Republican of course.

The diversity issue also pervades the list of senior officers of the corporation, pictured on-line. Among 23 senior officers of the corporation, there are three females. As for males, one is named Juan, one conceivably might be black, and the rest are all white.

An important angle of this story involves the retired chair of HCA, Jack Bovender, Trustee of Duke and since July 1, vice chair of the board. The issue is whether he had any role in recruiting Cuffe, one of Duke's stars.

If so, it raises the question of Bovender's stewardship at the university. As a Trustee, he has a fiduciary responsibility to act totally in Duke's interests. In other words, we can't have Trustees going around stealing our key people for their profit enterprises!

Time will tell.

FC posted the following on July 13 when Cuffe was promoted to Chief of Medicine.


FC this weekend: No one knew what to do when Duke issued a tornado warning. One supervisor shrugged his shoulders.

More damning information about Tuesday's fiasco.

And Kushan has become a four-letter word that administrators dare not speak.


Keep scrolling down now. First lawsuit in Potti case.. is next.

Potti Mess: 8 patients file first lawsuit, naming University, Duke Health and five doctors as defendants

Search terms Anil Potti Duke University

✔✔✔✔✔ Eight patients -- six of them dead and thus being represented by their families -- have joined to file the first lawsuit in the Potti Mess.

FC predicts this is just the tip of the iceberg. Potti had 109 patients in his clinical trials for lung, breast and ovarian cancer when Duke halted them last year. Earlier, an unknown number of other people had either completed the trials, quit or died. And still other patients underwent painful invasive tests to see if they qualified for the genome-based treatment.

In all instances, the patients gave "informed consent" to medical studies that were not what they were led to believe. The plaintiffs say Potti promised "better than the standard chemotherapy" that would have "a higher likelihood of a favorable response." He also promised that his work -- with huge grants from the American Cancer Society and others for cutting edge genome research -- was enhancing "the public good."

In fact, Potti had falsified both his theories and his tallies of patient experience. And the cancer society demanded and got its money back.

As Loyal Readers know, so far five of about 40 articles that Potti and colleagues wrote for distinguished medical journals have been retracted. There are at least two investigations underway, a public one by the Institutes of Medicine, and a faculty misconduct investigation held confidentially under federal law. We have no idea how many faculty are included in the latter investigation.

The defendants in the lawsuit are the University, its wholly owned Duke Health subsidiary, the cancer quack Dr. Anil Potti, his mentor Dr. Joseph Nevins, and three other Duke doctors with administrative positions. A cancer diagnostic lab, believed to be owned by Nevins, was also named.

The administrators are:

Dr. John M. Harrelson, a retired orthopedic surgeon who headed the institutional review board that gave a ringing endorsement to Potti's work in early 2010.

And Vice Deans Michael Cuffe and Sally Kornbluth of the Medical School who were among administrators who signed off on the Harrelson board's recommendations. (Dr. Cuffe is also in the news today because of his unrelated resignation to become president of the Hospital Corporation of America. See separate FC post)

Potti was finally uncovered last year, initially because The Cancer Letter spotted a faked Rhodes Scholarship on his resume. He resigned his faculty position several months later.

Duke has a tradition of refusing comment on litigation, so we did not even bother to ask. It also has a tradition of dragging lawsuits out, hoping to wear down plaintiffs and build up their expenses. This litigation will take years and years. The plaintiffs' complaint alone is 78 pages of legalese.

Yes, delay and delay. That's our university.


Separately, by coincidence, the director of all genome research at Duke, Dr. Huntington Willard of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, sent a lengthy and very candid evaluation of the Potti Mess to his colleagues yesterday, saying the start of a new academic year is a good time to reflect on "a teachable moment."

Fact Checker will post on this document over the weekend. Loyal Readers can jump the gun on us by reading the document themselves!



It is impossible to say how much money is at stake in the lawsuit already filed, which seeks actual compensatory and punitive damages. The plaintiffs ask innumerable times for "more than $10,000" but that is just pro-forma.

The cases were filed in Durham Superior Court. The plaintiffs are represented by the Raleigh firm HensonFuerst, and its partner Thomas W. Henson Jr. This firm has tangled with Duke before, most notably in litigation growing out of Duke's negligent use of used hydraulic fluid from elevators to wash sterile surgical instruments.

One of the most frequent questions asked of Fact Checker is whether Dr. Potti will pay for his own defense. While this gets bogged down in insurance and liability issues, the simple answer is "probably not." The school is going to be hit.

✔✔✔ The lawsuits go well beyond problems arising directly from the fake research and clinical trials conducted by Potti. Clinical trials are experiments on human beings to see whether a drug, a test or a procedure lives up to its promise, or whether risks outweigh benefits. And in Potti's trials, the plaintiffs say they were exposed to "improper and unnecessary chemotherapy."

Duke's response to the accumulating evidence of fraud is deeply involved in the lawsuits.

The plaintiffs say Duke knew about issues with Dr. Potti as far back as 2006 but chose to ignore them because he was a rising star who roped in big grants.

There is also an allegation that Duke's internal review -- started in late 2009 -- which cleared Potti with a glowing report -- was conducted by a panel with numerous ties to Potti and his mentor.

The plaintiffs allege Duke "threatened staff with retribution, including legal action" if anyone spoke up about Potti to reveal his fraud.

"The entire response by (Duke) to the accusation of invalid and fraudulent science was deceptive. misleading and fraudulent conduct designed to protect its reputation and proprietary interests ... rather than protecting the safety of the patients involved in the clinical trials," the lawsuit states.

✔✔✔ Duke's motive allegedly included profit, a hope to create tests based upon Potti's research, that would tell precisely what drugs should be used against a given cancer, considering also the patient's DNA. This would replace the current trial and error evaluation that doctors use.

The plaintiffs say that had Duke been able to license these tests, it stood to gain "billions" of dollars, a substantial fee every time a test was given world-wide.

Six of the eight plaintiffs have since died, according to the lawsuit. All suffered from lung cancer and enrolled in the clinical trials under the belief that they would receive extra help fighting their disease.

The living patients are a Richmond County man with lung cancer and a Buncombe County woman with breast cancer.

After his resignation, Potti joined a cancer care clinic in South Carolina, that treats patients and does clinical research. He applied for and was granted a SC medical license.

Thank you for reading and supporting FC.

Confirmed: Medical Center shock. Dr. Michael Cuffe, just appointed Chief Medical Officer for all of Duke Health, is resigning

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✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Chancellor Victor Dzau said tonight he has "unofficial" word that Dr Michael Cuffe, recently named chief medical officer for all of Duke Health, is resigning. He reportedly will become president of the Hospital Corporation of America, a giant in the health care field.

This is sending shock waves through the Medical Center, where Cuffe, extremely highly regarded, was seen as having the fast track to succeed Dzau if he decides to step down when his current contract ends in three years.

FC has also learned that Dr Paul Lee, opthomologist and a spear-head of the huge expansion of the Eye Clinic that is just beginning, is also leaving. That much is confirmed. We believe he is going to the University of Michigan.

Potti Mess: First lawsuits filed. Five doctors named. Eight plaintiffs, six of them dead

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✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Developing. Post after 2 AM

Kunshan is now a four-letter word avoided by Administrators

We promised this post for Thursday. Our research and writing is not complete. Stay tuned.


FC continues investigation into tornado fiasco. More deficiencies uncovered. Cavanaugh toughing it out, silent

✔✔✔✔✔ Good day, fellow Dukies. FC here. Probative. Provocative. Pro-Duke.

A continuing Fact Checker investigation into the failure of the university's emergency notification system during Tuesday's tornado alerts has uncovered more deficiencies than were first apparent.

The university vice president in charge, Kyle Cavanaugh, ducked in his Allen Building cocoon for the second day on Wednesday, refusing to answer any FC inquiries. We even provided him with a cell phone number to reach us after hours. It's too early to tell if Cavanaugh will enlist Vice President L-Mo as he did during another failure last spring, and write a letter to the editor of the Chronicle trying to wiggle out of all accountability.

And Vice President Michael Schoenfeld, who has specific responsibility to provide information about alerts under emergency protocols established on April 15, 2009, also ducked us.

✔ The protocols provide for a three-tier alert system; we have been unable to find out basic information, like which level Cavanaugh or his designee declared when the National Weather Service first announced a day-long tornado watch for the entire region. As Loyal Readers know, a watch means a high potential for tornado activity. A warning is an escalation -- imminent danger to life and property -- because a funnel has been sighted or radar gives indications of formation.

We do know that at some point -- how early we do not know -- the watch was listed on Duke's website, but no other steps were taken. People who had signed up for e-mail advisories, for example, received nothing at this point.

We have also not been able to find out, in building a timeline, if Duke still subscribes to a private weather service -- revealed last April in an earlier fiasco -- and if so, when alerts from this service arrived.

And we do not know if Cavanaugh or his designate moved Duke to a higher tier in its internal protocols when the National Weather Service escalated to declare tornado warnings. The warnings occurred twice during the morning and once in the afternoon.

✔✔✔ We demanded to know why no notice whatsoever was given of the morning warnings.

✔✔✔ We asked about the afternoon warning, why some methods of notification that the emergency plan provides for were employed -- and others were not. We demand to know why this discrepancy occurred.

One method is the internet. We did not monitor Duke's three websites providing DukeAlert information at the time, so we are unable to provide an assessment. In the past, a student writing on the Chronicle blog noted "The "Duke Alert" page was a challenge to find"

We know that people who signed up for e-mail alerts received notification of the afternoon warning. A half hour late.

✔✔✔ But the sirens that surround all areas -- West, East, Central and the medical campus -- were not employed. At UNC, in the same forecast area as Duke, the sirens sounded twice. As we noted in our report yesterday, these procedures and the sirens were put in after the Virginia Tech massacre, and are used for any life-threatening situation on campus. If someone pushes the button.

And we have been unable to trace where Cavanaugh -- who is at the vortex of the university's emergency planning -- was at the time, and what methods there are to communicate with him. If there was a duty officer, we cannot find out his or her name.

✔✔✔ Deputy Fact Checkers have picked up on a debate among Dukies -- whether tornado activity was in fact close enough to campus to merit great concern.

This discussion is beside the point: the National Weather Service having upgraded to an alert, it was incumbent upon Duke to provide this information. And having decided to fulfill this responsibility -- as Duke did on one of three occasions on Tuesday -- immediate notification was required -- not a lackadaisical half hour delay.

We want Cavanaugh to explain precisely why the earlier alerts were ignored, and the last acted upon. There is nothing in the official Weather Service bulletins that would allow FC to make that distinction.

✔✔✔ Last spring, another failure involved a good dose of stupidity.

The siren system is tested once each semester and once during the summer. The purpose is two fold: to make sure the sirens are working and to familiarize people with them.

So far this semester, there has been no test. Meaning one/fourth of all undergraduates have no orientation.

Last spring, the test was scheduled for April 21st, with advance notification throughout Duke and the surrounding neighborhoods. No, we have no idea in hell why the tests aren't held on the first day of the semester.

April 21st. But three days earlier, a severe storm smacked its way through North Carolina, and at the height of the rain, wind and fury, someone at Duke got the bright idea to test the sirens right then. To make sure they would work in case they were needed.

This caused -- to put it mildly -- a great deal of confusion on what was happening, and how individuals should respond.

As a Chronicle editorial noted, at least students had the Weather Channel on cable TV. We are checking, but believe that is no longer available since Duke has given up cable TV service and substituted transmissions over phone lines that do not include all cable channels.

More from the editorial: "Whether or not students are in real physical danger is beside the point. Students deserve to be made aware of severe weather activity. This is all the more important when the campus is buffeted by wind, rain and talk of tornadoes. DukeALERT could allay much of the student anxiety generated by imminent severe weather by updating students on the status of the weather and, more importantly, by letting students know what to do if the worst does happen."

On Tuesday, it was deja vu: OK we hear the tornado alert, we want to take action, but what?

✔ Our list of failures would not be complete if we did not note a major continuing snafu during 2010. On many occasions, alert e-mails sent out by L-Mo did not go through.

We tried to inquire at that time, but he squiggled away: we wanted to know precisely when L-Mo discovered this and what he did about it.

✔✔✔ The administrator in charge of this mess, the emergency coordinator, Vice President Kyle Cavanaugh, has a deep obligation to explain these failures to the entire community. We are sad to report that he apparently views his job differently.

When Cavanaugh first arrived at Duke from the University of Florida in 2008, he earned praise from Fact Checker. Specifically we mentioned his role at forums for worried employees facing possible layoffs.

Cavanaugh seemed particularly helpful, a far cry from the humppphh that we heard from his boss, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask.

That has changed. Cavanaugh has turned either indifferent or arrogant. He -- like Shoenfeld -- has gotten a severe case of Brodheaditis. This is an unctuous disease that spreads from the head down, for which there is no medicine. Rather, it requires surgical removal of the host. More and more, we believe this is going to be necessary.

Thank you for reading FC.


Big lag in tornado alert. Administrators duck FC questions

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✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ An initial Fact Checker investigation shows very serious -- and potentially life threatening -- deficiencies in Duke's response to three tornado warnings from the National Weather Service -- high level alerts meaning imminent danger -- on Tuesday.

Late yesterday afternoon and last night, Duke's emergency response coordinator, Vice President Kyle Cavanaugh, and the Brodhead Administration mouthpiece, Vice President Michael Schoenfeld, ducked e-mails and phone calls seeking a minute-by-minute timeline of the university's response and other information.

Their refusal to be transparent, however, will not shield them from accountability. FC is on the case!!

✔ During much of the day, the entire central region of North Carolina was under a tornado watch as remnants of Tropical Storm Lee pounded the area. By definition from the Weather Service, this means that conditions are ripe for the development of a tornado.

On three occasions, the Weather Service upgraded the alert to a tornado warning, meaning tornadoes may be imminent. (Relax, either spelling with or without the e is correct.)

This level alert can be issued after a tornado or funnel cloud has actually been spotted, or after radar shows indications of tornado formation. The warning means that people should take immediate precautions.

One of these warnings was issued at 1:31 PM by the weather service. By 1:35, WRAL-TV and other outlets had broadcast the alert.

Duke has several methods in place to notify people of extreme danger -- a system similar to that developed by many universities after the massacre at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, that killed 32 and wounded 25.

One of these methods is an e-mail blast.

A Deputy Fact Checker who has subscribed to receive these e-mails reports that the first one was not sent until 2:01 PM -- meaning people were exposed for a full half hour to a danger that was established and known. The tornado warning was cancelled at 2:15 PM, meaning people were exposed two/thirds of the time it was in effect.

Duke apparently did not deploy another of the methods of notification: sirens that have been placed strategically all over campus. We say apparently because our survey was limited and none of our Loyal Readers who responded heard the sirens where they were.

At the University of North Carolina -- just seven miles away and covered by the same forecasts as Durham -- the sirens went off twice, once around 11:30 AM and then around 1:37 PM for the alert where Duke did not get out an e-mail until 2:01 PM.

With more urgency than at low-key Duke, Carolina buildings were evacuated, classes were ended and people hustled to the interior on lower floors. On one occasion everyone in the student union -- a building with particular exposure -- was rushed down to a part of the building that seemed safer. It was a text and twitter's paradise, ending when one person said, "Thank you for visiting our basement."

✔ Duke Today, the on-line "newspaper" for Duke employees, posted the following at 12:30 PM, "Since this morning, two tornado warnings have been issued and subsequently cancelled by the National Weather Service for Durham County."

We do not know about these warnings since we sleep late and then go to morning meetings.

But we do know that Cavanaugh and his emergency preparedness team did not take any proactive steps when faced with these two warnings of imminent danger.

Afterward, the "newspaper" Duke Today asserted "these storms were actively monitored by Duke officials and were determined, based on the direction of the storm, not to pose a threat to the Duke campus."


Pure bullshit, Mr. Cavanaugh. As the Weather Service website tells us, tornadoes are volatile and unpredictable. This is not a hurricane that sets a path, and a week later is still aiming at its target.

Rather, "Some tornadoes have changed direction mid-path, or even backtracked. A tornado can double back suddenly, for example, when its bottom is hit by outflow winds from a thunderstorm's core."

And this line, "Tornadoes can appear from any direction." So your watching and waiting, Mr. Cavanaugh, was the wrong move.

See http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/

We believe that Duke also subscribes to a private weather service, and one of our interests -- had Cavanaugh or Schoenfeld thought enough about the safety of students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors to respond -- was to find out what additional information was provided. We also wanted to know what departments of the university were alerted, for example Duke Police, and what mobilization meant.

According to a PR handout, Duke tests its sirens three times a year. Once each semester, and once during the summer. The aim is to make sure that everyone is familiar with this system. However, at the moment one fourth of the student body has never experienced a test, and we have no idea when one will be scheduled.

This morning's post concerns a specific set of circumstances yesterday. We regret to say the lack of response from Cavanaugh and Schoenfeld has become the general rule of an imperial administration. In the past, a legitimate inquiry of such urgency would not be ignored and indeed it would have been welcomed; in the Brodhead years, people asking questions are regarded as pests.

This is a festering sore that shows no signs of healing, and probably will only be cured by surgical removal of its source.

Thank you for reading FC and loving Duke!

Duke plans big blow-out for 9-11 anniversary, in sharp contrast to ignoring Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

✔ Duke University is planning several events to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, culminating with a program in the Chapel next Sunday afternoon. Dukies should attend these observances and contrast them with the continuing neglect of our heroic classmates, faculty and staff who gave their lives in the nation's wars.

In the Chapel, the program will include a performance of Mozart's Requiem -- symbolic of mourning and consolation -- by the Chapel Chair, Duke Chorale, the Choral Society of Durham and the Orchestra Pro Cantores.

There will also be remarks by President Brodhead, Durham Mayor William Bell, Dean of the Chapel Sam Wells and Duke's Muslim chaplain, Imam Abdullah Antepli.

FC has long pointed out that while Duke promptly erected a memorial to the six Dukies who happened to be in the World Trade Center on that September day, and while the Alumni Department has laid a wreath every year, Duke neglected for more than half a century the campus memorial to our war dead. That is, the memorial not to people who per chance were attacked, but to men and women who deliberately stepped into harm's way.

It was only after intense pressure -- intense -- with repeated batterings of Brodhead in newspapers and blogs -- that Duke fixed the war memorial and rededicated it two years ago.

But then it fell into neglect again. There were no observance of Memorial Day nor Veterans Day until another furor. And then a minimal effort, just an Alumni Department wreath.

Aside from the re-dedication of the war memorial, Brodhead has never spoken out about Dukies who gave their lives in the nation's service, possibly because he -- and just about everyone else in his administration -- never had the honor of wearing a uniform in the Armed Forces.

Neither has Dean Wells, who came to Duke from Cambridge, England, spoken. Nor has the Chapel been used.

This is a study of contracts. FC thinks 9-11 is overdone, and Duke continues to neglect its veterans.

On a national scale, we point out that a member of our Armed Forces who is killed in battle will only leave his family a small life insurance policy that he or she has paid for personally through payroll deductions. In some instances, there will be continuing salary benefits. But the families of those killed in 9-11 have gotten multi-million dollar awards, from a federal fund set up to keep them from suing the airlines whose jets were hijacked during the attack, and from generous public contributions. Another study in contrasts.

(The 9-11 memorial was temporarily moved to allow for construction of the new Keohane Quad dorm)

Superb editorial in Chronicle takes aim at Brodhead Administration

It's the kind of editorial that we usually have to wait until second semester to see.

It's well conceived, well executed, emphatic. And it takes direct aim at the Brodhead Administration for top-down control, leaving students out of decisions that directly affect them.

Loyal Readers, this contempt by the administration for the proper role of others in the governance of Duke also infects relationships with the faculty and with alumni. It is tragic.

Here's a link. The first time that FC has posted a link to the Chronicle!


Guest FC: Human rights concerns surround Fuqua's entrance into Kazakhstan

FC is developing a new website that will allow for even more input from Loyal Readers!!

✔✔ By a member of the faculty: The Fuqua partnership to run a business school with Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan should raise eyebrows.

First reported by Fact Checker on August 9, it was confirmed by the administration for publication in The Chronicle and the Triangle Business Journal, conveniently just as students return. It allows Duke to trumpet its international reach and conveniently distracts attention from Fuqua's Kunshan project, widely seen as dead in the water with the departure of Dean Blair Sheppard of Fuqua and nigh-on insurrection among its faculty.

But perhaps the rather more sordid story is the willingness of Duke to cavort with Kazakhstan's leader, Nulsultan Nazarbayev -- who built the Nazarbayev University and had it named after himself -- and associate itself with Kazakhstan's less-than-gleaming human rights record.

The international monitoring group Freedom House categorizes Kazakhstan as "not free" on a score of the country's political rights and civil liberties record, rating its political rights as being second from worst on its scale, and civil liberties only a notch higher. In its 2010 report, Freedom House notes that these assessments continue on a downward trend due to media crackdowns, arbitrary arrests and "grossly deficient judicial proceedings" against a human rights activist, Yevgeny Zhovtis.

In a 2011 report, the US Diplomatic Mission to Kazakhstan lists an even greater litany of complaints about human rights abuses: "severe limits on citizens' rights to change their government; military hazing that led to deaths; detainee and prisoner torture and other abuse; unhealthy prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of an independent judiciary; restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and association; pervasive corruption, especially in law enforcement and the judicial system; prohibitive political party registration requirements; restrictions on the activities of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); discrimination and violence against women; trafficking in persons; and societal discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender persons, and those with

Administrators in the Fuqua Business School have sought to assure faculty and students that they would not enter into partnership with an institution if, according to a report in The Chronicle, "they were unsure that Kazakhstan would make education and academic freedom top priorities."

The same Chronicle report quoted Dr. Michael Merson, director of the Duke Global Health Institute and interim vice president and vice provost for global strategy and programs, as describing Kazakhstan as “a region of the world that has been a bit turbulent and is trying to invest in terms of human capital.” This is an astonishing outburst of chutzpah, and a strong a contender for the most euphemistic statement of 2011. This quote might well have been applied to the US during the era of slave transportation.

Jennifer Francis, senior associate dean for programs and Douglas and Josie Breeden professor, and Valerie Hausman, assistant dean of global business development and executive education, are the Fuqua administrators behind the plan and are less shy about their descriptions: “Fuqua believes that in order to effect change in the world, it is important to actively engage in the regions of the world that matter,” Francis and Hausman said. “We will be involved to the extent that we can help promote innovation and critical thinking around global business issues. This is consistent with our global strategy.”

It is intriguing to note that for Francis and Hausman, effecting "change in the world" means "innovation and critical thinking about global business issues."

Global businesses have consistently been at the bulwark of thwarting human rights, and the only "innovation" in changing the world has usually been to find ever more cunning ways to get round the weak international standards that do exist. Their further comment, that Kazakhstan "could be a major player in the world economy because of its wealth of natural resources, including oil" belies the real thrust behind the current Duke administration's extension of its international tentacles.

All this suggests that either Fuqua has a cavalier attitude towards human rights, and is happy to engage with odious dictators with the right money, or that, despite the spin, entities like Fuqua are driving Duke's global strategy even while, with the departure of Dean Sheppard, they remain effectively rudderless. Either interpretation does not bode well for the current administration, Duke's academic reputation, or its "global strategy".


Masked gunmen holds up three grad students just off West Campus

✔✔✔ The semester was barely five days old when three female grad students were held up at gunpoint by a man wearing a mask over his face.

This Durham on Duke Violence happened at 1 AM Saturday about half a mile off campus, near an apartment complex filled with Dukies at 2750 Campus Walk Avenue. (Please note: despite the name of the street, these are privately owned off-campus apartments.) We anticipate Duke will omit this crime from its Clery Report, a federally required tally of crime on and near campus that is full of loopholes.

Directions to this location: from the Law School, go out Tower View Road, which soon becomes Morreene Dairy Road. Campus Walk runs to the right, to connect with South LaSalle Street. Loyal Readers will recall several serious crimes last year against Dukies on South LaSalle within a half mile of Saturday's location -- including the robbery of two friends from China on consecutive nights.

The victims this time were also Asian. The gunman described as black. He took personal belongings and fled on foot. There were no injuries.

Following this, we got the usual pap from the Brodhead Administration. Extra patrols.

We had been assured last year that this precise area was going to get extra patrols by both Durham and Duke Police. But Deputy Fact Checkers who spent hours there at night saw only minimal police presence -- presumably also the observation of local thugs.

In fact, this is just one of four areas that Duke Police have promised supposedly "extra" patrols. The Administration has refused and refused to answer our questions about where this manpower was coming from -- if some other areas were being stripped.

The administration has also refused to answer our questions about the overall strength of the department, and to see whether it includes as many officers as the latest Clery Report states.

Sounds like a good project for student government.

Duke dining: administration eats crow. After not announcing changes, there is no announcement of their withdrawal either

Loyal Readers will recall last week's major essay on the lack of student input into decisions directly affecting their lives.

This was sparked by significant changes in Duke dining -- including manipulating the "merchants on points" program in a way that would have made it impossible for some eateries to continue to participate. The changes would also have put new restrictions on delivery hours to dorms.

(For Dukies puzzling about Merchants on Points, this allows some dollars in pre-paid Duke dining plans to be used off campus, in eateries that have a deal with Duke.)

The changes were not announced to students. People trying to order food found out.

And now, while students were eating mystery meat in Marketplace and the Great Hall, the administrator at the heart of this fiasco has been made to eat crow.

After negotiations described as intense with student government, the changes were rescinded. At least for this year.

Guess what, no one announced this either.

The administrator running this show is assistant vice president Rick Johnson, head of housing and dining under VP Larry Moneta. He's destined to rise in the Allen Building ranks -- because faced with the lack of student input, he cited a meeting last spring that he did not attend as proving there was consultation.

Nice try Rick. Next time you dine in the Great Hall, I hope they give you two lumps of gravy instead of one, as a thank you.


First Nifong. Now Cline. In Part 1 of series, Raleigh News and Observer points to illegal conduct by Durham DA

✔✔✔✔✔ Michael Nifong needs no introduction. Durham District Attorney in 2006, he falsely accused three white members of the Duke lacrosse team of raping a black stripper at a house party, roiling town and campus alike. The players were declared "innocent" by the state Attorney General and they are now suing. Nifong was later stripped of his law license, sent to jail for a symbolic one day for criminal contempt of court; today he's morally if not financially bankrupt as he claimed.

And now his elected successor, District Attorney Tracey Cline, is under fire for very similar conduct: misstating facts to judges and failing to provide evidence favorable to defendants as required by North Carolina law.

Part one of a three part series called "Twisted Truth" in the News and Observer on Sunday says Cline is under investigation in at least six cases.

Example: Cline stated to a judge that the state crime lab was to blame for years of delay in tests on crucial evidence in a burglary and home invasion prosecution. In fact, the newspaper reported, Cline waited more than three years to submit the evidence to the lab.

And when the evidence was finally tested, none of it matched the defendant.

Another example: a judge found that Cline and a deputy violated the rights of a man charged in the death of a two-year-old girl. Result: the defendant was set free when the judge found that prosecutors deliberately withheld information they were obliged to give the defense under North Carolina law.

"I would not sit in a courtroom and lie. I wouldn’t," Cline told the newspaper in an email message. "That is not who I am. And anybody that knows me will tell you that. But people make mistakes.’"

Here's a link. This is Pulitzer Prize stuff:


Communist Party stirring for new crackdown on internet in China.

Loyal Readers have sent us several news articles this weekend about a new crackdown on the internet that is possible in China. This seems to set up a collision: on the one hand, President Brodhead's assurances about full access on the Kunshan campus, and on the other, the Communist Party and its grip on government.

Reuters, the international news agency, says there are "signs that Beijing, jolted by the growing audience and influence of Twitter-like microblogging websites, is weighing fresh ways to tame and channel online opinion."

Several party leaders joined in a long op-ed in the People's Daily -- the main newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party -- warning that Party control is at risk unless the government takes firmer steps.

"Among the many controversies stirred up on the Internet, many are organized, with goals and meticulous planning and direction, and some clearly have commercial interests or political intentions in the background," said the commentary.

"Unless administration is vigorous, criminal forces, hostile forces, terrorist organizations and others could manipulate public sentiment by manufacturing bogus opinion on the Internet, damaging social stability and national security."

China already heavily filters the Internet, and blocks popular foreign sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The commentary listed a string of offending actions that have had their origin in microblogs. The first was the public outrage over a fatal crash on the bullet train -- the very train that former Dean Blair Sheppard touted as giving Dukies in Kunshan 9 minute access to Shanghai.

The bloggers aimed outrage at government officials for evasive statements, safety failures and feverish expansion of high speed rail. The trains now have been slowed down.

"In Internet battles, usually negative views crush positive ones," said the People's Daily, adding that extreme online opinion abounded with "unvarying suspicion of government policies, official statements, mainstream viewpoints, the social elite and the well-off."

The commentary said that the Chinese government had shot itself in the foot by letting Internet technologies take off and win huge followings before effective control was in place. That must change, it said.

"We have failed to take into sufficient account just how much the Internet is a double-edged sword, and have a problem of allowing technology to advance while administration and regulation lag," said the commentary.

Once the government tries to control an Internet technology that has already become popular, it faces "fierce resistance and a backlash" from users, and also international criticism, said the newspaper.

"Clearly, in the future when developing and applying new Internet technologies, there must first be a thorough assessment, adopting even more prudent policies and enhancing foresight and forward thinking in administration."

Hmmm we used to be Blue and White

From WRAL TV's website

"The Blue Devils warmed up in their traditional blue jerseys and white pants, but they returned from the locker room with a new look. Duke's players donned black jerseys and black pants, running back onto the field as "Back in Black" by AC/DC boomed out of the speakers just before kickoff."

I am not sure what I think of this!!


A new academic year, but the same old tune for student rights

Three posts this morning, two of them about football, highly appropriate for the weekend of the first home game. One post is sad: the expansion of the UNC football scandal into the Afro-American studies department. Another is hilarious: a Brodhead Administration's sell-out on Tailgate. The almighty dollar $$$$. Be sure to scroll down

✔ ✔ ✔ Good day Loyal Readers and all Dukies who are new to this blog and the university. This is FC. Probative. Provocative. Pro-Duke. The blog that is read first thing every day in Allen Building!

On the third day of the new semester -- which is to say, in record time -- the president of Duke Student Government, Pete Schork, confirmed that the Brodhead Administration had made major decisions directly affecting students without consultation.

The decisions involve student dining.

First decision: changing the way the "merchants on points" program works, which is to say sharp, new limitations on how a student's pre-paid meal plan can be used with off campus eateries, including those that deliver to dorms. Said Schork: "We were taken aback... just like you were.”

Second, there were also changes involving two on-campus eateries, the Tower and the Devil’s Bistro, news to Schork. "It is certainly troubling... You have to consult students first. It’s not okay to act first and notify students later.”

All this must be particularly frustrating for Schork for a number of reasons.

This is the same Pete Schork who has focused on "campus services" during his entire political career here, becoming the student government's vice president in this area as a sophomore, insuring he is totally familiar with dining options and might have been an excellent resource for administrators.

This is the same Pete Schork who drew this headline in the Chronicle during his junior year campaign for president: "Schork looks to increase student stakeholder voice." And who told a reporter his goal is to see students "empowered in ways they haven’t been before.”

The reporter wrote, "He also plans to improve the way... students help create policy."

And this is the same Pete Schork who now has a new vice president handling housing and dining policy -- mirroring the latest configuration in Allen Building so communication and consultation should be a given constant.

✔ ✔ Schork's predecessors got run over too by the Brodhead juggernaut. But not in the first week of the semester.

It was in December before president Awa Nur was rolled over, ironically also on a dining issue, two years ago. Her words: "I want to make my position on that clear... There is no way in hell that I am going to support that."

FC applauded her determination. She enjoyed all but unanimous student support. But it did no good; Allen Building rolled as it wanted.

✔ ✔ There are many other examples too.

Students returning two years ago for the fall semester discovered weekend housekeeping in the dorms had been eliminated -- no consultation -- assuring that vomit deposited on Friday night festered until Monday.

Yes, 2009 was a banner year. Duke Conversations, which allowed students to invite speakers for, of all things, a dinner round-table which sounds like precisely the atmosphere the administration seeks, was sliced and diced by 33 percent. No consultation. The impact was actually more than one third: fully half the Conversations had to be cancelled, and there was no more dining in the gracious and expensive Washington Duke Inn, although our Trustees feasted there on Duke's dime later that very week.

The administration also "merged" International House and the Center for Multicultural Affairs with great insensitivity to both students and staff, closed the student health pharmacy making a hassle to get a prescription filled, and even reduced the level of campus cop patrols while Durham hoodlums were having target practice with Duke students.

The granddaddy in FC's opinion was the construction of the new Keohane Quad dorm. We have no idea how this bubbled up as top priority. But when it did, The Supreme Undergraduate Dean Steve Nowicki (who apparently no longer tells freshmen to "Call me Steve") appeared before Campus Council with great fanfare, to invite students to join in the planning. Three weeks later, the guy down the Allen Building hall, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask, let slip that the architect was all but done with his work -- contributions of students be damned.

We subsequently wrote Steve, telling him we wanted to do an essay on student contributions to the dorm, what ideas had been accepted. And guess what, Loyal Readers, we're still waiting to hear from him three years later. Shame on you, Steve.

✔ ✔ The latest dining changes are the culmination of a lot of juggling and power-grabbing.

The story begins when Trask canned his vice president for campus services, Kemel Dawkins. T3 -- his initials and the insider's handle -- of course did not use the word "canned," but anyone who studied the arcane federal tax Form 990 could see what was happening to Dawkins salary. Oh you didn't study the 990? Luckily you have a Deputy Fact Checker on your side!!

The next to go was Eddie Hull, executive director of housing. Dispatched with great warmth by the Brodhead Administration's principal spokesman, Michael Schoenfeld: "He's chosen for personal reasons to move on to some new opportunities. If there's anything more specific, you'd have to talk to him about it."

✔ And now Jim Wulforst, the respected 15-year director of dining. Vice President for Student Life Larry Moneta spoke, parroting the words of Schoenfeld as if they have become part of this administration's operating manual: “It was a personal decision on his part to leave his current position. I can’t speak for his reasons.”

Wulforst actually listened to students. Not only that, he sent an e-mail to FC when we first started this blog, giving us contact information if at any time we had a question about dining. Unprecedented. I mean, unprecedented!

Wulfhost might have sensed trouble when L-Mo (Moneta, for people new to Duke) picked up some of Dawkins responsibilities, reorganized them and basically sought to give a new person the same job title as Wulforst. Sadly, nasty in fact, T3 and L-Mo and their ilk -- surely knowing what was afoot -- made Wolforst sit on the search committee to find his executioner.

✔ ✔ As Loyal Readers know, Wulforst was killed off last week. Timetable for departure immediate. By now, the man the search had uncovered, Rick Johnson, from that well known culinary masterpiece, Virginia Tech, had been on the job for nine months.

When Johnson first came in, he sat for an interview with the Chronicle's thoughtful and perceptive columnist, Gregory Morrison, who earns even more FC praise because he was the only op-ed contributor last year who regularly showed signs of actually doing research. Morrison served this university and his fellow students well as executive vice president of student government as a junior. He told FC he tired of elective politics and thus did not seek the presidency in his senior year.

In the Devil's Bistro, Morrison listened and then wrote: "Johnson will take a 'student focused' approach, in which incremental changes are tested with students to 'make sure we’re going in the right direction.'”

Hey, don't blame Morrison. That's what Johnson told him.

✔ ✔ We can't resist inserting here the comments of Campus Council Programming Chair Betsy Klein, who sat on the search committee. She revealed what she liked most about Johnson: in the words of a Chronicle story, "a commitment to incorporating student opinions into his future plans."

Klein e-mailed the Chronicle a response to its questions: "I could tell that he cares a lot about the student voice, and I think he will take our opinions into account for every major decision he makes."

Right on, Betsy, right on. You sure read Johnson right.

✔ We conclude this essay with more from Morrison. He had advice for the student government when one of his columns took a long-range philosophical look: "A good DSG president should have perseverance in the face of adversity."

He also had faith in the new administrative structure, housing and dining together, as L-Mo described it, putting "a huge chunk of student life under one umbrella." Morrison liked the student government response, as noted above, with a new vice president with a similar role.

Wrote Morrison: "I wonder what type of plans the two might hatch together?"

Yes, we wonder too, and it is Duke's loss that we are highly unlikely to find out during the tenure of the Brodhead Administration.

Thank you for reading FC. GO DUKE! Defeat Richmond.


Tailgate resurrected.

✔ ✔ ✔ Six days ago, Dean Sue declared, “The word ‘Tailgate’ will never exist.” And Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek added, “We buried the term.”

Loyal Readers will recall the sanitized replacement: Game Day!! Whee!!!

What the Brodhead Admnistration buried, Coca Cola has now dug up. An official announcement from the Blue Devil IMG Sports Network says it will air the "Coca-Cola Duke Football Tailgate Show" live from a stage in Blue Devil Alley one hour prior to Duke home football games.

Hey they pay money! Cash! They can have Tailgate all they want!!

From the PR news release: "The show will be hosted for the 13th season by John Roth and will feature guests and interviews with a myriad of Duke University coaches, players and former players, including football coach David Cutcliffe and director of athletics Kevin White. The show will take a look at Olympic sports at Duke as well as preview and track the scores of games around the ACC."

Blue Devil Alley is located at the north end of Cameron Indoor Stadium near Krzyzewskiville. And the first show is Saturday at 6 PM, before the Duke-Richmond home game.

New troubles for UNC football, as head of African American studies "resigns" over academic "irregularities"

✔✔ The football scandal at UNC in Chapel Hill took an ominous turn yesterday, moving beyond the athletics department into the academic heart of the university. Thus, while we usually restrict ourselves to Duke, this merits a Fact Checker report.

A grim statement from Chancellor Holden Thorp revealed "irregularities" in courses offered by the University's Afro-American Studies Department, including one course taught by the chair himself and another by a sports agent who simultaneously represented UNC athletes.

Previously, some UNC fans had been able to laugh off the scandal, which, after all, in its early stages involved some one's delving into the disposition of parking tickets that football players received. But this revealed a pattern: a link to a car dealer currently in federal prison for money laundering.

One early focus: the talented receiver Greg Little who, in two months time in 2009, got 16 parking violations on a Dodge that had three different license plates. In one three day period, Little got three tickets, same car, different plate. And on the 13th unlucky day of April, he got two tickets, same car, with different plates.

With play for pay lingering in the air, there were also allegations that an assistant coach took cash from an agent; that a former UNC football player who is now an agent had access to current players in the weight room; and that numerous athletes accepted trips, parties and other perks. 14 UNC players missed part of last season, at least seven sitting out the entire season. Still, there was hope that academic integrity had not been compromised, even though all this other shit was going on.

✔✔ Yesterday, Thorp announced the "resignation" of chair Julius Nyang’oro: “Because academic integrity is paramount, we have every obligation to get to the bottom of these issues... This process has been difficult, and we’ve been through a lot this past year, but the only right thing to do is to pursue the facts and fix the problems.”

Because of the sensitivity of this move, Thorp was impelled to state he had his cards lined up, with specific support of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees Wade Hargrove and UNC-system President Thomas Ross.

Thorp followed the same formula when he had to can Butch Davis, the head football coach, on July 27: "I have lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution. Our academic integrity is paramount, and we must work diligently to protect it. The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change.”

There was another casualty: athletic director Dick Baddour, who served 14 years as athletic director, and 44 years in total at UNC.

Nyang’oro was the only black chairman of a department in the College of Arts and Sciences. Moreover, the department has been battered by UNC's budget cuts. For example the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and the Institute of African American Research both suffered budget cuts of 20 percent this year alone.

Nyang’oro became a focus of the football scandal in July when it was found that former defensive end Michael McAdoo had plagiarized a paper for Nyang’oro’s class, and the plagiarism had not been flagged despite the use of tracking tools on the internet.

Worse, when the issue got to UNC's Honor Court, the court ruled McAdoo had improper help from a tutor -- but overlooked what the internet tool showed. Shaken, Thorp instituted a faculty-led review of the Honor Court that is just beginning.

McAdoo, banned for life from college sports by the NCAA, is suing.

✔ Nyang'oro's was also surrounded by controversy because of his grade to football player Marvin Austin. He was in a 400-level course as a freshman, a move that required consent of the professor. He earned a top grade despite SAT scores that indicated he could not read very well at all. And no one got less than a B minus.

The Raleigh News and Observer later chimed in that Nyang’oro had hired a sports agent to teach a summer class popular with athletes, Foundations in Black Education, without bothering to inform the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of his background.

Score one for Duke in dragging out the lacrosse litigation, again

Read Fact Checker every day!! The boys in Allen Building do. There are three posts this Thursday morning. Be sure to scroll down. Have a good day!!!

✔ ✔ Duke University's lawyers got what they wanted in federal court yesterday -- the right to drag an amazing 233 people into the lacrosse litigation and stagger dates for their depositions during the next year.

Lawyers for lax players got the right to take an additional 60 depositions; it is possible the same person will be on both the plaintiff and defendant's list, and the federal court provided that each witness only has to be deposed once.

Another year! And it means that the most important depositions -- of President Brodhead and former Trustee Bob Steel can be delayed some more. Duke did promise it would not destroy e-mails and other evidence that the defense hopes to see. Some day.

Depositions are part of the pre-trial process. They allow lawyers to build their case with greater lee-way than when the witness appears before a jury. And they lock the witness into testimony, for the deposition can be used to detect any attempts to change the story.

Depositions also take a lot of time -- and run up legal bills mercilessly. Duke likes that idea, trying to wear down the plaintiffs and consume their lawyers.

And you thought the lax hoax was simple: a Durham loon lying about rape, and a dishonest prosecutor pursuing charges.

✔ Also in yesterday's court hearing: Duke did not succeed, yet, in having all the depositions take place in Durham. Plaintiff's lawyers pointed out that 29 of the plaintiffs now live in New York, New Jersey and Maryland -- and having Duke bear the expense of sending its legal team there might be fairer.

Background: generally speaking, we are talking about lawsuits against the university for violating player's privacy and other rights in dealings with Durham Police during the 2006 lacrosse hoax. The University settled with the three indicted players; these are from 38 other team members.

The city of Durham is among the defendants. But that part is on hold. The city has an appeal pending challenging its liability -- and when that's settled, it too will want depositions, dragging and dragging and dragging this out.

Lesson: if you want to sue someone, be prepared to have the defendant drag it out mercilessly.


Christian a cappella chorus at UNC says gay member is singing off key

✔ There seem to be an abundance of collisions at the intersection of Christian Street and Gay Way. The latest is in Chapel Hill, and it has the UNC campus roiled.

Members of an a cappella group called Psalm 100, which identifies itself as Christian, voted unanimously to oust senior Will Thomason, who has been singing with the group since his freshman year.

Blake Templeton, general director of the group, said Thomason was not removed for his sexual orientation now that he has come out, but for his opinions about homosexuality. He said the views clash with the ideology of the Bible, which the organization’s constitution mandates members must uphold.

That's Templeton's interpretation of the Bible, by the way. So far as Thomason's being gay, that's fine with Templeton and the rest of the singers. It's just his opinions.

(A Deputy Fact Checker has been in touch with a Loyal Reader, who says Duke also has a Christian a cappella group, Sapphire, which disallows non-Christians.)

If you think that is confusing, wait until you understand the fine line UNC must walk in responding. Adhering to Supreme Court decisions, UNC lets students associate with whomever they want. However, the university does not allow you to draw your circle based upon who other people are, which is to say race or sex orientation.

It may come down to this: whether UNC student funds will continue to be used to fund this chorus. The singers may be allowed to warble their forked version of Christianity on campus or off, but not with other people's money backing them.

UNC's Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp said. "We are on notice that there is a question as to whether or not a student organization has acted in compliance with the (anti-discrimination) policy or not,” Crisp said. “We take that very seriously and that will be investigated.”

This is very healthy.

Compare this, please, to the response that Duke's Justin Robinette got from the administration a year ago, when leadership of the campus Republicans met at night, changed the by-laws without telling anyone, and ousted Robinette because he was in the process of coming out.

There was -- in addition to ousting the chair -- also a pattern of harassing and discriminatory conduct by the Republican leaders who did this:

Constantly referring to gay people as "Shit on Dicks," a phrase for which this campus is indebted to Carter Boyle.

Continuing with a racist internal memo that grew uglier by the line, beginning with the suggestion blacks could be attracted to the GOP table on the plaza by boom box music.

And winding up with GOP stalwart Rachel Provost approaching Robinette at President Brodhead's Homecoming Dance, and telling her fellow student she saw a hickey on his neck, and wanted to know if it was planted by a male or female.

The pattern for the Duke response was set by President Brodhead, who refused and refused time and time again to see Robinette -- until he was granted five minutes.

The student government, including the judiciary, only considered the issue of group blame: whether the Republicans as a club had discriminated. Answer: no, they had not. Even though the Republicans all walked together like penguins, this was not their club speaking, only individuals.

And Duke declined to pursue the individuals for their gross misconduct. A witness to conduct that would, in our opinion, merit expulsion stepped forward and wrote FC. With permission, we passed that e-mail along to Vice President for Student Life Larry Moneta. He never contacted the witness.

It is one thing to say there is not enough evidence. It is another to disagree with FC on the penalty for this offense. It is quite another to fail to interview a witness. This surely ranks as the low point in L-Mo's career at Duke.

At UNC, the student government was scheduled to meet last evening. Its vice president has taken the lead.

At Duke, the student government waffled and the student judiciary failed. Though the leadership of the GOP club lined up like penguins and voted just as Robinette was coming out, the decision was that the club members acted as individuals, which was OK.

We can only hope for a better outcome at UNC.

Duke people in the news: All American Jon Scheyer, Trustee Gerald Hassell

Duke People in the News. A periodic feature, when stuff warrants it.

A new Trustee at Duke, Gerald Hassell '73 is making big news in the world's financial newspapers this morning, having won a joust in the board room of his New York bank. The former chair is out, and Hassell is now boss of one of the world's largest financial institutions.

The institution: Bank of New York Mellon. It has an amazing $26.3 trillion (with a T) in its custody and administration, and another $1.3 trillion (with a T) under management. And you thought the federal debt was big: as of August 3, 2011, the gross debt of the federal government was "only" $14.34 trillion

Hassell thus joins a long line of Dukies at the helm on Wall Street, a rather impressive roster: Bob Steel, former Duke Trustee chair, of Goldman Sachs and the US Treasury. John Mack of Morgan Stanley fame. Alan Schwartz who was boss when Bear Stearns collapsed. Steven D. Black, head of global investment banking at JP Morgan Chase. If you want some more names, this Duke Magazine article from 2009 is rather interesting:


Back to Hassell. BNY Mellon, as it is known, issued a press release that was unusually blunt, saying Robert Kelly, 57, had "differences in approaches to managing the company.” As Dukies know from recent changes at the university, shake-ups usually result in the loser's being given a convoluted explanation about new directions and challenges. This one is effective immediately. Ka-boom.

The following is from FC last June when Hassell was about to join Duke's Trustees:

Hassell is 59. He started at the Bank of New York (forerunner of the current entity) as a 21 year old management trainee. He rose and rose, to the top job of President of the Bank of NY at age 46. A merger in 2007 resulted in his current position. 2010 salary: $11,179,102. In addition to stock he already owns, he has options -- accumulated since joining Bank of NY -- which according to the FC calculation are worth just north of $300 million.

At the bank, he developed a specialty in financing media, and is on the board of Comcast Corporation, which, in case he is having a hard time making ends meet at his day job, paid a nifty extra $237,905 last year.

An example of how capitalism is supposed to work, he chaired the board of visitors at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke from 2005-11.

Hassell has a long list of other activities: Board of Visitors at the Columbia University Medical Center, and the boards of the New York Philharmonic, the Economic Club of New York, and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. He is vice chair of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York. And is a direct of Comcast Corporation.

Hassell lives in Chappaqua, New York, in a home totally surrounded by old growth trees so we could not get a peak on the Google satellite. This is in the arc of wealthy suburbs north of New York City, in Westchester County and nearby Connecticut, that has given Duke numerous trustees. For example John Mack and Roy Bostock of Library fame, merely to start the list.

We believe Hassel's daughter is Alyssa '08.

End of earlier FC post.


This is a news release. Whenever we use a handout from PR -- we identify it carefully. Unlike some other news outlets, we do not say it is from "Staff."

The release is from Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization that encourages immigration by Jewish people to Israel from North America and the United Kingdom.

The following story refers to aliyah. Wikipedia: Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida ("descent").[1

Duke University All-American basketball player Jon Scheyer made aliyah Tuesday on a group flight organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Immediately after stepping off the airplane at Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Scheyer was accompanied by Nefesh B’Nefesh staff to the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption office in the airport where he received his Teudat Oleh (immigrant certificate) and officially became a new immigrant.

According to Danny Oberman, executive vice president of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Scheyer will receive his Israeli ID card at the Nefesh B’Nefesh office in Jerusalem on Thursday. After he obtains his ID card, Scheyer will officially become an Israeli citizen.

Brad Ames, a prominent NBA basketball agent, assisted Maccabi Tel Aviv in recruiting the 24-year-old originally from Northbrook, Illinois to play as its shooting guard in the Israeli Super League.

“I am really looking forward to starting my new life in Israel and playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv,” said Scheyer. “Nefesh B’Nefesh has been extremely helpful throughout the whole process and has allowed me to hit the ground running so I can fully concentrate on playing the best basketball I can.”

FC footnote: under rules of the international league that Scheyer will play in, any team can have only four players who are not from its own country. Thus, Scheyer will not consume one of these slots.

That's it. No other interesting Dukies today.

Potti Mess: Vice Chancellor says scandal is "one of biggest... in medical history." Many more papers to be retracted.

Search words Dr. Anil Potti, Duke University
✔✔✔✔✔ Buried in today's Chronicle story on academic research, there's some real news about Dr. Anil Potti, who thus far has had to retract five articles that he wrote for important medical journals. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

In case you are new to Duke, Potti was the golden boy of Duke Medicine, a cancer researcher who was exceedingly well funded. For years, Duke ignored warnings that Potti's research had holes in it, until last year it all exploded with revelation that he created a Rhodes Scholarship for himself. Subsequently, we learned that more than five years of study at Duke were founded on fantasy, fueled by falsification of data. Potti resigned from Duke late last year and is now ... get this... practicing cancer medicine in South Carolina. There are at least two investigations underway.

OK back to today's development: Dr. Robert Califf, vice chancellor for medical research: “We’re amidst one of the biggest retractions in medical history... (Potti) was a co-author on about 40 papers that had original data that was generated at Duke, and we’re in the process of retracting about a third of those papers, and there are another third... being partially retracted.”

Califf says throughout the rest of Duke Medicine, there are usually zero retractions every year.

Potti wrote many of his papers with Dr. Joseph Nevins, his mentor. And there were other Duke names that recurred on many of the papers. Stay tuned.

At Duke, black medical researchers buck the national trend and land federal grants. Well, not many of them.

✔ Fact Checker here. Good day fellow Dukies!

Under the direction of a vice provost who flies very much under the radar, James Siedow, this university does quite a bit of self-study.

Under the radar? Never before discussed in a Fact Checker report, Siedow, trained in the academic disciplines of botany and biology, popped up as a secondary player in only two Chronicle stories in the past year, with no direct quotes and only 39 words sourced to him.

So what does he study? A few years ago, one page from one tantalizing report was liberated from the usual Allen Building secrecy. The study compared the achievement of racial groups with what had been expected of them. In other words, given the credentials like high school grades, College Board scores and all the other factors that admissions officers looked at, how did white, Asian, African-American and Latino students fare. (We arranged so that the largest group comes first, the smallest last)

Only Asians did marginally better than expected as Duke undergraduates. Whites and Latinos had a little dip, but there was a significant drop-off for black students.

Rather than spawning great concern that Duke was not coming through for them, and not allowing them to realize the potential they had demonstrated, this study frightened administrators into a tighter circle of secrecy.

This is important hot potato stuff, and try as hard as we could, FC and Deputies could obtain no more than one page. Realizing the substance of reports is so secret, FC switched and asked John Burness, now retired as VP for public relations, if we could at least see a list of the title of reports from Siedow's office.

The answer came back within the hour. No dice, this is Duke, this is the Brodhead years.

✔✔ So it was refreshing yesterday to see Siedow as the source of a Duke news release. My goodness, the University was actually telling us about something he studied.

That something is how our black research professors fared when seeking federal grants, specifically from the National Institutes of Health, which distributes a large slice of the available scientific money.

At Duke, the analysis was done by the Office of Research Support, which is one of the divisions found on the rather complex organizational chart of the provost's and vice provost's office.

Press release quote: "African-American faculty had a 33 percent success rate on all federal proposals over $100,000, versus 29 percent for all other faculty. On (grants made through the National Institutes of Health) black and non-black faculty at Duke both had a 29 percent success rate on their proposals."

Now the fine print. Proposals from African-American faculty accounted for just two percent -- correct, 2 percent -- of all the Duke funding proposals sent out in a six year period that was studied.

This press release undoubtedly was occasioned by an article in Science magazine, that found black researchers landing research dollars for a significantly smaller percentage of their proposals than whites. This has set off something of a time-bomb in the academic world.

More press release, this one from the NIH itself:

"Black applicants from 2000-2006 were 10 percentage points less likely than white applicants to be awarded research project grants from the National Institutes of Health, after controlling for factors that influence the likelihood of a grant award, according to an NIH-commissioned study in the journal Science."

As for other ethnic groups: Although Asian applicants also were less likely to receive an award than white applicants, those differences disappeared when the sample was limited to U.S. citizens. Award probability for Hispanic applicants did not differ significantly from white applicants.

The bosses at NIH, including Director Francis Collins, promptly called the findings "disturbing and disheartening, and we are committed to taking action."

Collins: "The strength of the U.S. scientific enterprise depends upon our ability to recruit and retain the brightest minds, regardless of race or ethnicity. This study shows that we still have a long way to go. It is imperative that NIH and its partners in the biomedical research community take decisive steps to identify causes and implement remedies. NIH is already moving forward with a framework for action."

FC is compelled to note that the NIH study covered 40,069 grant proposals. Only 1.5 percent -- 598 -- were from blacks. There were 3.3 percent from Latinos (1,319), 13.5 percent from Asians (5,402), 71 percent from whites, and 11 percent from researchers who either did not disclose or wrote "other."

That there is any racial disparity at all is surprising. An applicant can list race and ethnicity voluntarily when asking for a grant. But all that information is not available to reviewers, although an applicant's name or school which is in the reviewed materials can be suggestive of race or ethnicity.

And back to Vice Provost Siedow for a footnote: as FC wrote, it is refreshing to see some of Duke's institutional research available, but fellow Dukies, don't get used to it.

Thank you for reading and supporting FC!


Salt. Salt. And more salt. Fact Checker examines the sodium content of a meal at the Marketplace

✔✔✔Good day fellow Dukies.

We recently pointed out the excessive salt being used in food sold in the Medical Center's dining rooms for out-patients, the public and staff. Those facilities, as well as Fuqua's Dave Thomas Center, are run by Aramark, the international giant that for many years had a grip on a captive audience of students as well, dishing out just awful gruel and mystery meat.

Our earlier post:

So -- from the perspective of sodium -- salt -- let's go to the Marketplace (the words are run together at Duke), run with considerable fanfare about healthy living by Bon Appetit.

Salt: remember, please, that healthy people should consume less than 2,300 milligrams a day. And on the website of the Mayo Clinic, there is a recommendation for a 1500 mg a day limit "if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease."

So let's do breakfast and dinner in the MarketPlace. Remember, it's all you can eat, but we specify the portions taken. And in terms of calories, you'll be consuming around 2300.


310 mg Two scrambled eggs
1320 mg Three thin slices of Canadian bacon
600 mg One corn muffin
80 mg One butter
105 mg Glass of 1 pct milk

2415 mg TOTAL for breakfast


1980 mg Bowl of clam chowder
Unknown Crackers
1450 mg Turkey 5 oz
Unknown Gravy
679 mg Side of mashed potato
Free Veggies
320 mg Pita
150 mg Glass of chocolate milk
480 mg Pecan pie

5059 mg TOTAL for dinner

FURTHERMORE, other options

490 mg Tomato Juice
760 mg Sausage, 3 links
710 mg Kix cereal
1010 mg Soy sauce packet
3249 mg Teriyaki sauce packeet
950 mg Pesto sauce 1/2 cup
1220 mg Chicken sandwich (fried)
670 mg Slice of pepperoni pizza
1230 mg Hamburger with bacon and cheese
830 mg Hot dog
530 mg Potato salad, 1/2 cup
1040 mg Chili with meat 1 cup
1460 mg Pretzel snack, 3 oz

In some respects, the Marketplace is better than Aramark food, on the salt index.
Pepperoni pizza 670 v 935. But is not something to write home about.

FC finds all this unacceptable. Our dining halls, after all, tout themselves: "Our goal is providing a healthy and enjoyable experience, no matter where you dine on Duke’s campus."

There's nothing healthy about a buffet that makes it easy for you to consume four times the recommended salt intake for healthy people.

Thank you for reading FC. Excuse me while I go get a hot dog and potato salad.


Brodhead, administrators waffle on drinking

✔✔✔ Good day, fellow Dukies. Fact Checker here. Probative. Provocative. Pro-Duke!

It's not often -- not often indeed -- that President Brodhead speaks out on a contemporary issue on campus. For example, we have waited all summer for his comments on the shaky status of the Kunshan Initiative, which in the past he has contended will be as transformative as James B. Duke's gift that turned Trinity College into a university named for his father. On June 1, the Fuqua faculty shot down two proposed degree programs, and sent the entire Kunshan timetable into a tailspin; none of this has ever been reported officially to stakeholders. Our President's only public response has been to stop off in Kunshan on a three week spree through Europe, Asia and Africa, to don a yellow construction hat as he posed smiling for a Twitter picture.

Another example is how Brodhead kept hands off Dr. Anil Potti, who falsified the premise and results of important cancer research. The Potti Mess, as our blog called it throughout the last academic year, started to unravel when a reporter discovered Potti's resume listed a Rhodes Scholarship that he never got. Brodhead advised us not to reach conclusions, because between truth and falsehood there can be an "intermediate explanation."

Which is a contortion that only an English scholar oblivious to the honor code could conjure up. Brodhead reserved this curious assessment for a private meeting with the editorial board of the Herald Sun, and the quote never even appeared in the Chronicle. Answering questions for the editorial board at the News and Observer, Brodhead said the vetting of professors was working just fine, and no other steps would be put in before they are hired. The Chronicle ignored this too, by the way.

The President was silent when Duke's #1 cancer doc praised Potti for "honesty, integrity" and his "research" in a letter for his medical license in his new home state of South Carolina. Using official Duke stationery.

✔ And so when we heard Brodhead in Duke Chapel for freshman Convocation last Wednesday, we applauded. Here was the President going beyond his usual annual rewrite and regurgitation of inspiring ideas from similar speeches at Yale, compiled in his book "The Good of This Place." Here was the President actually speaking out forcefully on campus culture.

Well sorta. On drug use, just short of rampant in some sections of the campus, the President ducked. He spoke only of watching out for "adult pleasures," which we guess means drugs.

On sex, Brodhead was just a little better, advising freshmen to "build a life you can be proud (of)," not do anything that would haunt them in the years ahead. FC would not be surprised if Uncle Dick was still shivering at that point from the enterprise of Karen Owen '10, who not only bedded athletes left and right, but kept score with full disclosure of their length, width and prowess. And Ms. Owen bound all this lascivious detail together in a document looking like a thesis that went to a friend, who was indiscreet enough to show it around, and so it wound up viral on the internet.

✔✔✔ And then there is the drinking problem, rampant to the extent that it defines this great school and destroys the ability of some students to benefit from it. The apologists refer to this as "the social scene." A close friend of FC says the drinking problem makes Duke the University of Southern California of the east, not the Harvard of the south.

Brodhead had been passing up the opportunity to speak out forcefully on this since his inauguration seven years ago. He did sign the Amethyst Initiative, a document from college presidents and chancellors dealing with questions about the 21 year old drinking age. At that time, Brodhead made a point of hiding where he stands, rather calling for national debate which he never started.

So surprise, Brodhead's words at Convocation were precise: "As for drinking, you know the law and are obliged to obey it."

Precise words, or were they? His next gasp failed the Breathalyzer test. Identifying Duke as a "domain of freedom," he no longer said each individual decision about drinking was already pre-empted by law, but rather "the object of your conscious and thoughtful choice."

✔✔✔ On the very day Brodhead spoke, members of his administration were disclosing plans for "GameDay." We can just see the minions gathered at a conference table, congratulating each other for the moniker. “The word ‘Tailgate’ will never exist,” said Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek. “We buried the term.”

GameDay was born because TailGate, the traditional Bacchanalia before home football games, died. Died on the spot last November when the 14 year old brother of a student was found slumped unconscious in a porta potty, a victim of alcohol overdose. We never did learn the blood alcohol reading, but sources say it was double the limit for driving.

Trust FC, the motto for GameDay is not "you know the law and are obliged to obey it."

Instead, Vice President for student life Larry Moneta, recognized by everyone who's been here more than a week as L-Mo, and Dean "Call me Sue" Wasiolek, have set in place a series of dampers.

Rather than a huge gathering for anyone showing up in the Blue Zone parking lot, GameDay involves closed parties for no more than 75 students who get a permit for a BBQ (you can also buy overpriced picnic lunches, the food necessary to tame the effect of alcohol). “These will be private events hosted by particular groups that want to host an event,” L-Mo said. “These are not events intended to be broad public events.”

There will potentially be incentives for the groups, still being decided. Wasiolek said they may have the ability to sit together in the football stadium -- which is to say they get preferred seating -- and their names might be featured on the scoreboard! Whee!!

There will be muted music, a requirement to end 45 minutes before the football game (many people at Tailgate never bothered to go to the game) and most of all, a location out front of the dorms or close to other buildings so, presumably, no porta-potties are needed. Or for cynics, close enough to return to the dorm to sleep.

Loyal Readers will note that the permits are for the Main and residential quads on West Campus. To hell with Central Campus. (We'll get to East Campus and its freshmen in a moment.)

And who is left out? Read these comments from a discussion board:

"Independents get screwed, as usual"

"So basically if you're an unaffiliated student, you no longer have ANY pre-game festivities to attend unless someone in a 'group' (aka fraternity) invites you, or you have enough money to register for your own 'private barbecue.'"

"What about just a bunch of six people who want to get together?"

"These new tailgate policies effectively ban all Panhellenic Sororities from congregating on Gamedays. As well as any kind of BBQ or Saturday gathering held by major student groups (over 75 people) think BSA, Mi Gente, most selective living groups.."

"The new proposal is, as other posters point out, narrow-minded, excludes independent Duke students, and cages in possible interactions between students to such an extent that not only is spontaneity nearly impossible, fun is measured-and-doled-out-by-administrators-in-small-inedible-portions."

✔✔✔ And now the hypocrisy. As for alcohol rules at GameDay, "you know the law and are obliged to obey it" gives way to what the Chronicle called "University alcohol policy, including a six-pack per person rule, a no glass rule and a no common distribution rule. These are the same regulations that apply on the Last Day of Classes."

The policy also involves Dean Sue, other administrators and Campus Cops drawing a cordon around the parties, keeping out city police, state ALE agents and anyone else who might want to honor the alcohol laws.

As noted, the announcement of GameDay focused on West Campus, filled with sophomores, juniors and seniors. In other words, some students who have attained the age of 21, but certainly not the majority.

It was consistent with the University's attempt to keep East Campus dry. The key word being attempt. It will be interesting to see if there is clamor for festivities on East Campus too, or if freshmen will be content to take a bus to West for the game, and walk by the BBQ and beer en route to the stadium.

Hypocrisy. Wrong message. Period.

✔✔ Oh yes, finally let's return to the line in the Chronicle story saying GameDay drinking policy is the same as on Last Day of Classes.

What's missing here?

The answer of course is the sacred cow, K-Ville, with hundreds of students, many of them freshmen, living for months in unsanitary conditions in cold tents, all in the name of building Duke spirit and getting good seats at one winter basketball game. With Brodhead failing in his responsibility, FC feels that Coach Krzyzewski, so dedicated to following the letter and spirit of NCAA rules, should speak out.

Coach K should no longer lend his name to this nonsense right under his office window. Aside from the tone it sets, it simply does not work to draw crowds to most basketball games. Not to mention the noisy disrespect for people living in nearby quads, its hazing on the final two days, and most of all the unfettered use of alcohol. And not just beer.

Unfettered. Hard stuff.

Thank you for reading and supporting FC, and for loving Duke.

Lacrosse litigation: Duke fighting to keep depositions, documents a secret

✔✔ There will be a key hearing in federal court on Wednesday in the lawsuits brought by 38 Duke lacrosse players against the university. The 36 escaped indictment in the hoax five years ago where a stripper at a team party alleged rape. Loyal Readers will recall that three players who were indicted by dishonest prosecutor Michael Nifong settled their claims against Duke right after they were declared "innocent" by the state attorney general.

The hearing deals with pre-trial discovery -- the right of the plaintiffs to bring in witnesses under oath and to demand to see documents like e-mails.

Issue 1: where will the depositions be held? The students -- now dispersed all over the country and world -- want Duke lawyers to travel to them. That's an uphill legal battle.

Issue 2: Duke wants a court order to keep everything it tells the plaintiffs lawyers a secret. There is some feeling that parts of the testimony and evidence will be highly embarrassing to President Brodhead and former Trustee chair Robert King Steel. The plaintiffs say they will probably go along with redacting any appropriate segments.

One key contention of the players is that Duke administrators violated confidentiality promises and conspired with local authorities to hide the fact that they released without subpoena key-card information about the players' comings and goings.

The City of Durham is also being sued. But that part of the case is on hold pending an appeal of preliminary issues.

The deposition phase and the appeal are expected to take another year. Down the road there will be a trial. And hopefully justice.


What hurricane? 1,200 freshmen party at the Nasher. Historic oak uprooted on East Campus. 1st report has Beaufort Marine Lab OK

✔✔✔ Despite anxious calls from parents, 1,200 freshmen ventured to the Nasher Museum Saturday night for their first giant party. There was a light drizzle at the time, a fringe of Hurricane Irene.

Duke and Durham escaped the fury of the storm, which tore into the Outer Banks and left millions of people along the Eastern Seaboard without power. At Duke, there was an outage in one area of student housing; and some employees living close to campus were out for a while too. The Duke and Durham power is largely, if not totally, restored.

A large oak tree that has stood watch outside the West Duke Building for generations of students was toppled by the hurricane. This around 2:30 PM Saturday.

According to Duke VP Kyle Cavanaugh, the university's emergency coordinator, the tree came to rest leaning against the building; there were a few students inside at the time, but no injuries. Duke Police evacuated the building as a precaution

Around campus, several other trees suffered severed limbs.

We do not have the rainfall total from Duke and Durham yet, or more importantly from the watershed area. There is a minor drought, and there was not that much rain at all.

Air travel is a mess. The State Highway Patrol reports hundreds of roads, and 21 bridges, closed east of Interstate 95, which is about 20 miles east of Raleigh.

✔✔✔ Duke Marine Lab officials are trying to get to their research and teaching facility today. Initial reports indicate lots of water, but no serious damage.

The lab is in Beaufort, which was hard hit. The sea surge was estimated at seven feet, and the town lists itself as being 12 feet above sea level. As of 5 PM Saturday evening, weather observers reporting to the US Weather Bureau said there had been 16 -- 16, correct -- inches of rain so far. The Mayor has declared an emergency, and a dusk to dawn curfew remains in effect.

The Outer Banks in general were very hard hit. "Epic flooding" is one description. Many towns are closed for future evaluation.

Irene: Landfall at 7:47 AM. Durham area power outrages. Man far inland killed by falling tree limb.

Unless Duke and Dukies are specifically involved, this post concludes our Hurricane Irene Watch.

Updated at 11:40 AM

Landfall was at 7:47 AM near Cape Lookout. Winds were sustained at 90 miles an hour, with one gust of 115 recorded at the Cedar Island ferry terminal. Next stop: Morehead City.

There are numerous reports of tornadoes.

There are hundreds of thousands of people without electric service in the eastern portion of the state. In addition, Duke Energy had 1,063 customers in Durham County and 1,618 customers in Orange County without service.

By 11 AM some portions of eastern NC already had measured 9 inches of rain.

There are conflicting reports whether the storm ate away a portion of the Outer Banks and created a new channel at Hatteras Island. Some locals say it's merely a surge of the ocean that will subside. The surges are expected to be as much as 10 feet in some areas.

It's a bad day to be a pier sticking out into the ocean. Waves sheared off about 90 feet of the Sheraton pier in Atlantic Beach. The Bogue Inlet pier stands no more.

One man was killed when he went out to feed his animals and was hit by a falling tree limb. This was far inland in the town of Nashville. A man is missing in the Cape Fear River; he may have jumped in, unclear if this was to swim or commit suicide. A rescue boat had to call off a search after only a few minutes because of conditions.

At 11 AM the National Hurricane Center, which issues new readings every three hours, said sustained winds were 85 miles an hour, a Category 1 hurricane, with a forward movement of 15 miles an hour.

For the Durham area, the forecast is for winds maxing out at a sustained 30 miles an hour, gusts to 45, more or less what was predicted. However, rain will be less than any of the predictions. While there is no total yet of what has fallen already, Accuweather (again, this is at 11 AM Saturday) says there's less than an inch on its way. Some forecasts on Friday indicated three to five inches.

The Duke University website has posted no new advisories since yesterday (Friday). We'd give you the URL but it is useless; every time administrators post something new, they change the URL.

We have no confirmation that the men's basketball team arrived. It advanced its return from Dubai by about 12 hours to beat the storm and was due in around 6:30 AM.

The Raleigh Durham airport website is a mess. The lead paragraph on a press release says the hurricane will not impact operations on Saturday. The next sentence says American and American Eagle have cancelled all their flights until Sunday at 10 AM.

The www.GoDuke.com website -- official Duke athletics site -- has not been updated.

This site does have some neat pictures of the team -- which won four meaningless games against ad hoc opponents in China and Dubai -- on the 124th floor observation desk of the Burj Khalifa, at the moment the world's tallest building. The building actually rises to 160 stories and 2,717 feet.

In NYC, the subway is shut down for the first time in its history. 350,000 people are under mandatory evacuation order. This morning Mayor Bloomberg warned the entire Wall Street area that it may be deliberately blacked out. Salt water from New York harbor may wash in, and the cables would be damaged less if there were no power in them.