Tragedy claims life of championship Duke athlete; FC gets more confidential papers on Duke in China; Salman Rushdie to speak in Page

✔ FC here. Good day!

We are testing Fact Checker Too, a compilation of shorter items of great interest to Dukies. We will of course retain our longer essays. Tell us what you think. Duke.Fact.Checker@gmail.com

✔ A Loyal Reader has sent in information from Maricopa, Arizona, about the tragic death of a championship Duke athlete: Sally Meyerhoff '06. (Actually the alumni directory is unclear if she was '06 or '07). Sally won several ECAC titles, including the 5000-meters outdoors in 2004, and the 3000-meters indoors in 2005. She had career best times of 33:03.19 for 10,000m, 1:12:52 for the half-marathon, and 2:35:49 for the marathon. One of America's leading runners, she was training for the next Olympics.

In January, she was the winner of the women's division of P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon. The website UniversalSports makes note of long red hair, usually in pigtails, and a penchant for wearing bright colored (if not iridescent) running skirts -- a standout not only for speed and endurance but in appearance. She also was interested in triathlons, and had qualified for last year's Ironman World Championships as an amateur.

Meyerhoff died died instantly when her cycle (conflicting reports on whether this was a bicycle or motorcycle) missed a stop sign in her hometown and hit a pickup truck. Police checked out the driver for DUI, cleared him, and did not issue a summons. She was 27 years old.

Her next event was to be the marathon in Chandler, Arizona, which has now been named in her honor. Race director Dave Shapiro: "I remember she'd finish a race, win it, look at her watch, jump up and down, then run a two- or three-mile cooldown. It's a huge loss not only for Arizona but for the national scene."

From Facebook: "I love my life, especially my dogs ♥ Barney♥ Wilbur ♥ Winston ♥ and now Maxx ♥. I would do absolutely anything for those that I love. A Duke Blue Devil forever :) I still miss the unbelievably gorgeous campus..."

David Broder has passed away, for several years on the Duke faculty, best known as the Washington Post pundit and Sunday talk show regular, the Pulizer Prize winner for his part in explaining the importance of Richard Nixon's misdeeds in Watergate. Teaching? He concluded he preferred reporting.

Fact Checker has secured three additional internal documents about Duke's expansion into China. Just like the confidential comprehensive briefing that we brought to light, which was provided members of the Board of Trustees before their meeting at the end of February, the new materials are eye-opening if not explosive. Rich with detail the Brodhead Administration has not make public -- or perhaps did not want to be made public because of the potential impact.

Deputy Fact Checkers are assigned to run down different angles. A Special Report expected in seven to ten days.

✔ Duke has announced that the author Salman Rushdie, completing a five-year residency at Emory University, will lecture in Page Auditorium on April 12. The announcement was made while students were away from campus (another Brodhead administration disconnect), but at least they are waiting until March 15th to start making free tickets available.

Rushdie has written ten novels, establishing himself as a great writer with his second, "Midnight's Children" in 1981. It was reaction to his fourth, "The Satanic Verses" in1988 that brought him world attention.

A Muslim at birth (pursuing no religion as an adult) the novel was perceived by some as an irreverent depiction of the prophet Muhammad. Iran's screwball Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, directing Muslims around the world to kill Rushdie anytime they could lay eyes on him. Khomeini promised a rich reward if anyone were successful, presumably both cash on earth and special privileges among the virgins in heaven.

Rushdie went into hiding in Britain (he was born in India but went to Cambridge University) while Khomeini proved his good faith by fomenting several acts of violence in different parts of the world. Rushdie took several years to emerge -- appearing first at a Columbia University literary event with the level of security that New York City cops usually accord the President of the United States.

In time, Iran eased the fatwa (the government will "neither support nor hinder assassination operations on Rushdie") but only Khomeini can lift it, and he is now dead. Rushdie went public again in the 1990's, at a U2 concert in London. He had provided the lyrics to one of their songs.

Speaking of events in Page Auditorium, FC wants to set the record straight. Duke's PR handout on the $80 million The Duke Endowment will provide to renovate original university buildings noted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had spoken in Page on November 13, 1964 -- putting the best blush on a horrible snub. In fact Dr. King was refused an invitation for many years ("too militant") and Duke powers relented only after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. But nasty people would not allow King -- the foremost Christian preacher of the era -- to climb to the pulpit in the Chapel, relegating him instead to the podium in Page.

Stop! If all this sounds pretty impossible to you, consider that only six years earlier, the president of the University (one Hollis Edens) overrode an invitation by drama students to their counterparts at North Carolina Central to attend a Page performance. Edens explained there were no bathrooms in Page or anywhere close that Negroes could use. Yes, this is the same Edens we honor with a dorm complex.

Needless to say the PR department offered a sanitized summary of Page's history, proving the need for a Fact Checker.

As previously noted, FC does not yet cover Duke sports, though from time to time we post something we think is of interest.

Announcement of the ACC All-Academic team. Congratulations to Ryan Kelly '13 (public policy studies major) on the list for the second time, to Mason Plumlee '13 (psychology) and Kyle Singler '11 (visual arts) on the list for the first time. And what's a sports story without some statistics: no other school had three selections, Miami and Virginia had two. This is the 7th time in Duke's history -- and the first since 2000 and 2001 -- that Duke has had three or more selections.