Saint Michael and the acolyte Poythress

✔✔✔ Good day, fellow Dukies. FC here. Probative. Provocative.

Until Saturday morning, FC thought the big news about Duke basketball this summer would be the rather absurd trip to Kunshan, Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai in late August to play four exhibition games. Rather absurd? Yes.

To take a handful of upperclassmen and five incoming freshmen on such a grandiose adventure simply sends the wrong message:

✔-- wrong for young athletes, already treated royally, starting with their being ushered through the admissions office. The last time we saw College Board scores for the freshmen recruits for the men's basketball team, the numbers were horrifying: 698 total for verbal and math. Now a new group of athletes will be going to the plushest hotels in Asia and the Mideast, in Dubai for instance a Gulf-front room with a Ramadan special costing $729 each per night. Consider the impact on freshman this year, lionized before they have ever shot a basket for Duke, much less become an effective team and won a game.

✔-- wrong signals to stakeholders in the university and the general public about priorities at our school, priorities which have caused the intellectual heart of the university to flutter. Yes, there is good reason the Athletic Department has refused to tell FC the cost of this expedition, or where -- in this era of crimped budgets -- the money is coming from. Compare please, how many searches for basketball players we have eliminated, with the number of searches for Arts and Sciences professors that have been cut.

The trip is a PR stunt, conceived in the heady days of actually believing we would win another consecutive national championship. Two high level administrators bubbled over when they heard the idea, and both are now gone: Greg Jones, who left his vice presidency, we are told, for health reasons, and Blair Sheppard, who left his post as Dean of Fuqua with all of seven days notice, because, we are told, of an epiphany that he is not the man of the hour to lead Fuqua forward.

The grand tour? The suggestion was that the world would love Duke more after seeing Kyrie Irving, and the implication was that Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler would be along too, although none of that was ever realistic. Never mind the Arts and Sciences professor who wrote FC recently that he had to pay his own way to a conference in Charlotte, these kids travel in the front of the plane. And their coach, by contract, gets a private jet within the USA.

The roster is not the only disappointment for this trip. Even the travel agent handing this uber-expensive jaunt, which die-hard fans can join, admitted to a Deputy Fact Checker that the Dubai game, for example, would be played in "something like a high school gym" with 2,100 seats.

✔✔ So on Saturday morning, Duke basketball made unexpected headlines nation-wide. The kind of headlines usually reserved for the annual disclosure of Coach K's earnings, which, in the 2009-10 year totaled $4,699,570 from Duke alone, or reserved for his quest to become the most winning big time coach in college basketball history, a goal for which he is three games short. FC hates the word winningest.

No, this time it was for an alleged violation. Oh my, what would Dick Vitale say? He who abounds with praise for all things Blue and White, "Never a rule violation. Never a recruiting violation." "You're awesome, baby." Oh my, USA Today was so stunned it asked readers in its daily poll if Duke, "above reproach.... never been a whiff of scandal" deserved a break if a violation did occur. Results due Monday. How vapid.

So let's pick up the story in Orlando. Or Lake Buena Vista. Or Kissimmee, depending on which dateline appears for The ESPN Wide World Sports Complex, the closest thing you’ll find to a sports theme park with playing fields for just about every sport you can think of: basketball, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, soccer.

500 top players -- some young enough to be rising into the 8th grade, others rising to be high school seniors -- gathered amid much hype for a series of tournaments. Poythress was eligible for two.

And in the stands, a who's who of hungry coaches: Duke's Krzyzewski, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’s Bill Self, UConn’s Jim Calhoun, Memphis’ Josh Pastner, Florida’s Billy Donovan, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Georgetown’s John Thompson III, West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, and Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin to begin the list.

On Tuesday night (July 26) Poythress's team lost an overtime heart-breaker 79-77. Poythress had a monster game, scoring 26 from all over the court, though in the final 30 seconds, he did not come thru: he took a shot that was blocked, and his opponents snagged the rebound. (In another tournament, Poythress scored only four points as his team got whipped 66-37 in the quarter-finals.) Crucial facts to remember: the tournament continued with the finale being scheduled on Wednesday night. And the players on Poythress's team were still under the jurisdiction of their coach.

The rule: Practice or Competition Site. Recruiting contact may not be made with a prospective student-athlete prior to any athletics competition in which the prospective student-athlete is a participant during the day or days of competition, even if the prospective student-athlete is on an official or unofficial visit. Contact includes the passing of notes or verbally relaying information to a prospective student-athlete by a third party on behalf of an institutional staff member and telephone calls. (Revised: 1/11/89, 1/10/91, 1/11/94, 1/9/96 effective 7/1/96, 9/18/07)

Now the careful Loyal Reader undoubtedly sees the issue of whether a tournament that has ended for Poythress is nonetheless a "day of competition."

FC comment, give me a break. This is just a basketball game! There are less intricacies in law school.

After the heart-breaking loss -- we get conflicting information on whether this is late Tuesday or sometime on Wednesday -- coach K called Poythress's coach. That call resulted in the player's making a call back to Coach K. Whether this return call was solicited or offered or just emerged is not pinned down.

There are more nuances to this: Bylaw (you know that, right?) allows for telephone calls initiated by the recruit and at the recruit's expense.

And then there is Bylaw 13.02.4, the "bump rule," which allows the coach to be "innocently" approached by the prospect, his parents, or somebody associated with the prospect, and the coach must exchange no more than pleasantries and act to end the contact immediately.

Issue: did Poythress misinterpret Coach K's praise? Did this 17-year-old amid the hubbub of ESPN national TV coverage, with at least 15 big time college teams after him, hear what he says he did. Clearly this rising high school senior from the military town of Clarksville, Tennessee -- standing 6-7, 215 pounds, overall rank #17, small forward position rank #3. -- was enthralled to have Coach K pick up the phone: "It felt pretty good... It was pretty exciting to talk to Coach K. He said he saw me play at the Super Showcase and Peach Jam, and he liked what he saw."

✔✔ A possible violation? A scholarship offer! It was a jolt, the news reverberating. It was bad enough when CBS Sports broke the story; 20 hours later the Chronicle sports editor entered the Holy Temple of Cameron and confessed that Poythress had told someone at the newspaper (not identified) the same story about the Deity himself. The difference: unlike CBS, the Chronicle did not realize it had a story on its hands and its blog -- up and running even though the paper is on summer vacation -- said nothing.

Sunday night ESPN’s Andy Katz said he's been told by a source that Duke is appealing to the NCAA for an interpretation of this morass. Publicly Duke offered only pap: “Proper adherence to NCAA bylaws has always been, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of Duke Athletics,” Jon Jackson, associate athletics director for university and public affairs, said in a statement. Coach K -- reportedly out of town -- recruiting -- has not been heard from.

✔✔ We have no doubt Coach K knows the rules, as arcane and complex as they are, and obeys them. Rules, rules, rules, there are more than 9,000 burdensome rules -- plus books and books devoted to interpreting them. The work product of a bloated bureacracy and zealots who thirst for power.

It is very easy to step across the line. It doesn't have to be something serious, like the Ohio State memorabilia-for-tattoo scandal that cost Jim Tressel his job in May. Consider the fine for Nebraska announced in early July for, over the course of four years, giving its student athletes too many textbooks. Yes, $28,000 in total value in all sports in four years. Textbooks.

As the journal Inside Higher Education dug out earlier this year, the NCAA has punished nearly half of all big-time college sports programs for major violations in the last decade. That's 53 out of 120 universities in the NCAA's top competitive level. Yes, it isn't just a "few bad apples."

And there was more in the Journal: the number of academically related violations leaped in the past decade. Leaped in the time-frame after the NCAA changed eligibility rules and lowered minimum academic requirements for freshmen, and imposed penalties on teams that do not make consistent progress toward a degree.

✔✔ So Duke, mindful that the NCAA rewards universities that uncover infractions themselves, can probably expect a mild penalty if there is any guilt at all.

At worst -- assuming there was an improper phone call if not a scholarship offer -- Duke will have to revoke it. We do not know if another offer can be made. Another possible penalty is a loss of one or two days of off-campus recruiting by each coach.

No heavy sanction, but remember, please, that even for the most serious infractions, the NCAA has grown famous for ducking. In the Bowl Subdivision, in the past decade, just six teams have been barred from the playoffs, and no team has been barred from lucrative TV appearances.

✔✔ Duke's internal investigation will cover and perhaps resolve the immediate situation. But larger questions ensnare our athletic program: how it influences the culture of this university, how it may distort our values.

Oh Duke has had the microscope out before. Lacrosse comes to mind, but despite the furor of the year 2006 with President Brodhead's having no less than four commissions and two special advisers at work, little has changed.

Nor has any change been apparent since Brodhead felt impelled to relieve Executive Vice President Trask of his oversight of athletics, taking over the portfolio himself.

In a series of internal studies, the Brodhead commissions did not mention basketball. Nope, not at all. Lacrosse, baseball, golf, the sport with students statistically showing the worst behavior, all were addressed.

In fact, mention basketball and our President becomes skittish. Remember, please, his horror that the lacrosse team had strippers at its famous 2006 party, his comment being it did not matter if a rape occurred because "what they did do was bad enough." Contrast that to Brodhead's falling silent after the historian Robert David Johnson, known as KC, revealed the men's basketball team had strippers at its own party two weeks earlier.

One must never question the Deity.

Remember the reports that Brodhead commissioned on "campus culture," devoted largely to alcohol abuse? Recall, please, the heavy criticism of Tailgate, even before a 15 year old was found slumped in a porta-potty. Recall please the attack on the bacchanalia we call Last Day of Classes, with its unbridled drinking all over the quads.

Has anyone ever seen a similar report on K-Ville? On the numbers of people carted off to the emergency room unconscious? Or the sanitation of it all, hundreds of people in tents week after week? The noise of "music" every night disturbing to students in regular rooms? Of a concert starting at 2 AM? Or the last two nights before the Carolina game with their hazing? The last time a Deputy Fact Checker went to K-ville, she reported a night-time of both men and women urinating between the tents, and spotted two engaged in public fellatio.

✔✔ Go Duke, Go. Yes we cheer our basketball team and its coach, but we need urgently to get it back into perspective, before this entire university drifts further toward being an air ball.

A good place to start to learn more about this, Loyal Readers, is the transcript of the Academic Council -- the faculty's elected Senate -- last December.


Yes, the Academic Council to its credit lets everyone attend and everyone read the transcript. And you know what? FC has never heard one faculty member say this transparency in any way encumbered debate. Contrast please with the Board of Trustees, and its specious insistence it must have closed meetings.

✔ We like the way Richard Hain, the professor of mathematics who has waged a lonely fight to put athletics in perspective, and Fred Nijhout, the professor of biology, framed the issue some time back in a letter to the editor of the Chronicle:

"Recent editorials and op-eds in The Chronicle seem to suggest that athletics and academics are equal partners at Duke. They are not and never should be. Duke is a non-profit educational institution. Like all research universities, Duke's primary mission is the creation, exploration and dissemination of knowledge through research, scholarship and teaching. Athletics serves a significant auxiliary role by helping cultivate school spirit and by creating a healthy diversion for students from their intellectual pursuits. For many faculty, the primary issues concern the relationship of athletics to the University's mission and its priorities.

"The relationship between academics and athletics is not static. During the last decade, the Duke Athletics budget has grown at about twice the rate of the Arts and Sciences budget. If this trend persists, Athletics will be half as large as Arts and Sciences in 2030 and as large by 2046. This raises very serious questions for the Duke community. But the issues extend well beyond Duke. This summer, the House Ways and Means Committee continued its inquiry into college sports. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education (September 22, 2006) "Lawmakers are concerned that big-time sports programs are evolving into entertainment businesses that are only marginally connected to the tax-exempt purposes of colleges and universities....

"Not all issues relate to budgets and priorities. Student-athletes are subject to increasing time demands for travel and practice, which often have significant impact on their studies. An athlete in one of our classes a few years ago was on a team whose coach scheduled practice the minute her classes ended. To avoid penalty, she had to leave class early in order to attend practice on time."

OK all together, GO DUKE.


Chronicle sports editor: Poythress told us while tournament was underway that Duke had made a scholarship offer. Coach K under investigation


Updated Saturday 11:26 PM


The Chronicle's sports blog was updated within the past few hours and it points to a recruiting violation by Coach K and his staff.

The paper's sports editor, Chris Cusack, states rising high school senior Alex Poythress -- a 6-7 forward from Clarkesville, Tennessee -- was interviewed by the Chronicle during a Florida exhibition basketball tournament, and Poythress said he had been offered a scholarship. The timing is key: the paper is not specific but says the interview was held while tournament play continued. NCAA rules prohibit any contact until the tournament is over.

Before this became national news, the Chronicle missed the possible significance of the timing.

Fact Checker has learned that the offer was made after Poythress's team was eliminated from the tournament, but before the final playoff which was the next day. Poythress was still with his team at the event, and our source says that is key, because the player is supposed to have severed all ties with his summer tournament team before being approached.

Earlier, CBS Sports said it too had a similar interview. That interview was on Thursday, after the tournament ended. But Poythress spoke of a Tuesday encounter: "It felt pretty good," Poythress said. "It was pretty exciting to talk to Coach K. He said he saw me play at the Super Showcase and Peach Jam, and he liked what he saw."

The student newspaper says most of Duke's chase of Poythress has been handled by assistant coach Jeff Capel.

Coach K is reported out of town on a recruiting trip and no one has reached him for comment. Athletic Director Kevin White has also been silent. Duke Athletics PR has issued only a generic statement saying it takes any allegations of rule violations seriously. Those are code words: the athletic department has an investigation under way.

Any scholarship offer would be considered a secondary violation. This might result in any offer being rescinded (we don't know if a new offer could then be made or if the player is lost) or possibly Duke's coaches would lose a day or two of off-campus recruiting.

Poytress leaves Florida with a string of scholarship offers -- and more teams interested which have yet to speak up. He says he will whittle the list in the next two weeks. Earlier he had not included Duke on his list of possibilities.

More on his career appeared in our earlier post, scroll down.

Developing: Coach K under investigation for alleged recruiting violation

DEVELOPING... Saturday 10 AM
Deputy FC assigned.

✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

How many times have we heard Dick Vitale boast about the Duke basketball program: "Never a rule violation. Never a recruiting violation." "You're awesome, baby."

This morning there are reports of a possible recruiting violation by Coach K. Yes, Mr. Squeeky Clean of All American sports.

Sources: CBS Sports, which reported the allegation, and News and Observer, which followed up and got a statement from Duke athletics.

NCAA Rule prohibits coaches from contacting student athletes until they are finished playing in a tournament.

So what happened -- if anything -- Tuesday between Coach K and Alex Poythress, 6-7 forward from Clarksville, Tennesee? Did Coach K offer him a scholarship -- before Poythress and the Georgia Stars club team completed play in the Super Showcase tournament in the Orlando suburb of Lake Buena Vista, Florida, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex?

The finale of the tournament was Wednesday night.

The Chronicle reported Thursday that Poythress had gotten a scholarship offer from Duke -- but said nothing about the timetable. And the player was non-committal, saying he's "wide open" with a lot to think about and a lot of schools after him. As a junior, the 6-foot-8 small forward (ESPN says 6-7) averaged 22.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 1.4 steals and 1.2 assists per game for Northeast High School.

The N and O says Duke athletics issued a statement Friday. We can't find it anywhere on line -- that doesn't mean it isn't there, because it may be tucked into some nook or cranny -- so we quote from the newspaper:

"In all rules matters brought to our attention, the Duke compliance department exercises due diligence in determining the relevant facts of a given situation," Duke associate director of athletics for media relations and public affairs Jon Jackson said in the statement. "Proper adherence to NCAA bylaws has always been, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of Duke Athletics."

Jackson would say no more, as NCAA rules prohibit staff members from talking about recruits who have not signed scholarship agreements. There has been no direct word from Coach K.

ESPN offers this profile of Poythress: high school class of 2012, 6-7, 215 pounds, overall rank #17, small forward position rank 3. There's a list of schools he is interested in, and a list of schools chasing him, but Duke is not on either.

And this assessment quoted from ESPN:

Poythress is a terrific long armed athlete that does a great job running the floor and attacking the basket on the break and in the half court. He can hit the open three with time and space but he is at his best when getting to the rim where he can finish through contact. Poythress is an excellent rebounder on both ends mainly because he can get rebounds in and out of his area. He has great hands is also a good passer and ball handler. Defensively Poythress did a great job of challenging shots on and away from the ball.

Poythress must continue to work to hone his overall skill set in the areas of scoring with his back to the basket and moves off the bounce in order for this combination forward to become a full time small forward. As Poythress continues to add strength his game will continue to blossom.

End ESPN quote.

The AAU Super Showcase is a marquee event. The invitation-only summer-time tournament gives elite players a chance to showcase their talent. Among the players who have starred in this event are Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers.

Did Coach K jump the gun this time? We'll believe it when they prove it. Stay tuned to FC!!


Long weekend

There will be no FC on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Next post around 2 AM Monday. Unless another administrator departs on short notice.

Have a good summer weekend.


For Richard Brodhead, the issue is now survival. A Fact Checker essay

✔ Fellow Dukies, good day!

Allen Building is alive with rumors. We share some with you, with the caveat that neither FC nor Deputies can confirm them with second sources.

#1 rumor. The Ministry of Education in China has granted Duke's application to operate a school in Kunshan -- but specified a tuition so low that the project is not viable. And who put together the economic plan for the most important academic programs? Dean Blair Sheppard of Fuqua.

#2 rumor. At their June 17th meeting, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, examining four years of red ink in Fuqua under Sheppard, discovered an even deeper hole for the fiscal year starting July 1. As the faculty committee evaluating (and rejecting) Fuqua's plans for Kunshan noted in its secret report (liberated by FC), the school will face a budget disaster this fall, with fewer students anticipated in many of its degree granting programs.

#3 rumor. Trustees are pissed that we are likely to miss another Kunshan deadline, which is to start classes in August, 2012. Brodhead had made personal assurances. In this regard, a Loyal Reader made a point that we did not think of in outlining why President Brodhead should seize the leadership and announce a delay if not a full moratorium. And that is, Chinese students thinking about a masters degree are laying their plans now, collecting information, making decisions. Who can possibly rely on a school that does not know if it will be up and running, a school that cannot tell you its tuition much less the quality of its student body and professors?

No one is talking, not even good FC sources. The atmosphere is bad. More than bad. Think invective. Think vituperation. As FC wrote last winter, the Administration has circled its wagons, the people leading us into uncharted territory fearing every arrow as much as American settlers going West.

✔✔✔ And now today's essay:

In the springtime, King Richard the Englishman was riding high. On his visit to the conquered lands in April, it was stressed he would encounter the Premier of China. On another international spree in June and July, he would travel from Europe through Asia to Africa with his band of Merry Men, including the Duke of Fuqua.

But in the summer, fortunes changed, and now the issue is no longer exultation, but survival. For the same forces that unwound the Duke of Fuqua in seven days time are still rampant on this campus.

Richard Brodhead has been in deep water before. The lacrosse crisis comes to mind, bungling so bad that ultimately he himself felt compelled to stand and apologize. But in that turmoil, he had Robert King Steel (his actual middle name) at his side, a known loyalist with deep affection, the Trustee chair who, just three years earlier as leader of the presidential search committee, had found Brodhead at Yale and lured him to Duke. Indeed, the proud Steel would support Brodhead to the extent of saying that if anyone wanted to blame the President for the university response to the lacrosse hoax, they should blame him and other Trustees too.

Today, King Steel is gone, removed by term limits that were installed by Terry Sanford. His remaining base of university influence is an obscure panel tucked into a recycled building, the advisory board for the Duke Global Health Institute. His full-time job is a demotion too: no longer atop Goldman Sachs, no longer the #1 official in the federal Treasury dealing with the domestic economy, today he is Deputy Mayor for economic development of the City of New York, his Rolodex filled with the likes of Marty Markowitz, the Borough President of Brooklyn who knows a thing or two about vigorish, and Rueben Diaz, a Bronx political hack who mostly scoops up Medicaid dollars and rants against gay marriage.

✔ In Steel's place, after a bland two-year tenure by Dan Blue, this university has an unknown: Rick Wagoner, former chair of GM. So far, we have heard only hash from him, as in this interview written up in the Chronicle on July 1, his first day in office:

“Duke is fortunate enough to have a very capable faculty and administration, and it also has a very effective and highly engaged Board of Trustees.. All of us have been pleased with the progress we’ve seen with Duke over the last decade, and everyone is committed to continuing that, including close engagement with students, faculty and the entire Duke community.”

Reading this endorsement last night, FC could not help leaping to Chapel Hill, to think about Butch Davis, the UNC football coach who, while his players sputtered morally, enjoyed months of personal accolades. Until he was hauled on Wednesday morning before a closed door meeting of the Trustees -- and summarily fired. The same athletic director and chancellor who supported him now had a new explanation: “To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it’s time to make a change.. What started as a purely athletic issue has begun to chip away at this university’s reputation." Hmmm

Wagoner is from a vicious corporate culture at GM. He was criticized for hesitancy in cutting off people who had moved past their prime productivity -- and is unlikely to make the same mistake twice.

And at his side is David Rubenstein, who has studied forcing the hand of the mighty. This billionaire personally owns a copy of Magna Carta, signed by King John in the 1200s, result of a direct challenge to the monarchy that gave serfs liberties and guarantees.

Rubenstein too is an unknown -- ducking FC interview requests. His secretary most politely and firmly explains month after month, that he's stretched and stressed, traveling the world for his private equity firm, not to mention sitting, by his own count, on 20 to 30 boards. FC has even not been able to find out who is a member of the Trustees' China committee which Rubenstein chairs.

As Brodhead begins his eighth year at Duke, he might survey the Board and count a majority aboard because he selected them. He can count his cabinet and see only two who have predated him -- Peter the Provost and Executive Vice President Trask -- both of whom he reappointed.

But boards and cabinets are tricky. And making sanguine assessments risky. Witness Harvard, where Lawrence Summers arranged for the addition of ex-Duke president Nan Keohane, good friend and confident, to the highest governing board, known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Only to have her turn in a year's time and take the lead in forcing Summers out.

Our president surely must know someone beyond Blair Sheppard will bear responsibility for the Kunshan debacle, and he must wonder every day if the Sheriff of Nottingham is scheduling an archery contest, and whether David of Doncaster will warn him in time.

Thank you for reading FC and caring for and loving Duke.

Fact Checker needs you!

If you are in a university dorm or office, we'd like to hear about the air conditioning. As you probably realize, Duke cut back this year to save money. Is it comfortable? Do you notice some buildings are still favored?


If you know Word Press and can volunteer to convert FC, please speak up!!!!

What next for Kunshan?

Don't forget to scroll down: three stories today.

✔✔✔ Good day, fellow Dukies. FC here. Probative. Provocative.

We assume, indeed we are certain, that despite the departure of Dean Sheppard -- with seven days notice -- his dream of Duke's becoming the Roman Empire of Higher Education lingers within the Brodhead Administration. And what a dream it is: for Duke-branded research universities to conquer the globe, serving indigenous populations, the first in Kunshan, China.

Our president and his administrators owe this great institution more than their devotion to this grandiose scheme. Yes, they are entitled to define what Duke might be and to champion their cause -- but they also have a deep obligation to inform "the other side," to enable debate rather than try to stifle it.

And stifle Mr. Brodhead does, for he understands that information and knowledge are power. With a firm hand on the throttle, he and his minions limit and spin what stakeholders can find out.

Add to this the President's propensity to intimidate opponents (witness the senior professor who was ridiculed when he dared raise questions about access to the internet on the Kunshan campus with Mr. Brodhead at a Bass Scholars dinner), we have a toxic combination that is ill-serving an institution that Brodhead professes to love.

✔ The control of information is a recurrent theme in FC essays, and this morning we start by examining the status of any guarantee of academic freedom on the Kunshan campus.

On March 29, Peter the Provost told the Chronicle that in the weeks ahead, Duke would sign a written agreement -- most of it already formed -- that would embrace academic freedom, or at least internet freedom which was the immediate topic of the interview. Peter said he could not -- for reasons not disclosed -- show the Chronicle what was in place so far.

Surely in the intervening four months, this contract has been signed. And Dukies are entitled to know what is in it. To read it word for word. To examine Kunshan with full knowledge of what we face there.

We can think of no valid reason to withhold this contract from the faculty and other stakeholders; after all, the "other side," the Chinese government, has a copy!

So long as the Brodhead Administration keeps this contract locked up, it cannot become fodder for debate, ammunition for opponents of Kunshan. And that's what we believe Brodhead wants, to avoid what one Trustee who talked to FC on Monday night predicted: that this contract will land with a thud when presented to the Academic Council.

The Academic Council now maintains a China website for such documents, and our contracts with the city of Kunshan, our silent partner Wuhan University and the Chinese regime should be posted forthwith.

✔ Ditto the University budget. There is a pervasive odor that suggests belt-tightening in Durham to allow for subsidy of Kunshan. Indeed Brodhead's rather deceptive presentation last spring to the Academic Council, where he discussed funds from one Duke pocket (the strategic initiative pool) as if they were all that Duke would have to pony up to subsidize Kunshan, concentrated that odor.

We are entitled to know the entire picture.

We are entitled to know too, the status of the strategic initiative pool -- created from something called virtual equity dividends -- which dried up in the last University financial statement. Balance: zero. If Brodhead is counting on this fund for year after year of Kunshan subsidies, we would be well advised to make sure it is being replenished.

Stakeholders in this University, prepared to intelligently discuss and debate our international aspirations, are entitled to see the budget lines where money is moved from Durham to Kunshan. We are entitled to see how, when Sheppard diluted his focus on Fuqua, its financial woes grew. And to see how in the year just starting, the business school will not meet its targets again, primarily because admissions for degree programs across the board are lagging.

✔ Another vital component of the Kunshan formula is the amount of tuition we can charge. In applying in February for the privilege of operating in China, the Brodhead Administration made a specific dollar proposal to the provincial and national Ministries of Education; we are entitled to know what it is, and to compare it with the tuition that must be charged to sustain the financial matrix presented by the Administration in the Duke Kunshan Planning Guide.

But we fear Mr. Brodhead figures so long as he can keep the lid on information about the proposal, then opponents of Kunshan have one less fact to load.

The Planning Guide presents only one actual number: $46,000 plus for tuition for the Global Health Institute's offering. A Deputy FC had to calculate tuition for two masters degrees proposed by Kunshan, scratching for information about the numbers of students who might enroll in two masters programs and the total anticipated revenue. We believe the Brodhead Administration is counting on charging at least $41,000; the national Ministry has never allowed an international university to charge even one-third that.

✔ Also in the financial realm, Executive Vice President Trask owes us more than a smile and a vague statement about revenues and expenditures being uncertain. Tallman, stand up and tell us we are dealing only with guesses, that the entire financial picture is a shaking house of cards. You earned credibility steering Duke through the financial crisis; now use it.

✔✔ And lastly, in our post yesterday, we underscored how tight the time-line is for Fuqua's new interim dean, Bill Boulding, to retrieve what he can from Sheppard's degree proposals which were shot down by the faculty June 1, to prepare new academic proposals, to usher them through the faculty, to secure needed approval of the Academic Council and to start classes by August, 2012.

And we should add, Boulding must prepare new proposals in a manner unlike Sheppard. Rather with full cooperation and collaboration with the faculty, not only hearing their ideas but incorporating them. That healthy process -- unknown to Sheppard -- takes substantial time.

Mr. Brodhead, as embarrassing as it may be to have yet another delay in your pet project, we call upon you now to move the timetable. Now.

To remove pressure from Dean Boulding to have to work within the confines of the current timetable or to be forced to suggest a new one. At least one year delay. Two would be more appropriate to allow for full investigation of all dimensions of Kunshan and other campuses.

Much of the discussion that we envision should have taken place long before we got this far in the grandiose scheme. But that does not excuse our not doing it now.

We cannot continue to tumble into an initiative which Brodhead has stated is the biggest since James B. Duke endowed Trinity College and got it to change its name to his. The president must become fully realistic about the timetable now -- rather than realizing later that he is cornered. Acting now, that would be a hallmark of leadership.

Thank you for reading FC and loving Duke.

Gig U. No, no. It's nothing dirty

✔✔ The New York Times reports this morning that Duke and 27 other universities are joining to build ultra-high speed computer networks -- with internet speeds several hundred -- yes several hundred -- times faster than generally available. One gigabite, if that means anything to you, download a high definition movie in less than a minute.

The networks are not only to cover the campus, but surrounding areas as well.

Stop stop. The words "to build" are too strong. It's a concept, called GigU. Years away. The idea is to draw high tech start-ups (health care, energy, telecomm). Case Western Reserve U tried it; three new corporations showed up in the first three months. Others are skeptical though about the "build it, they will come" philosophy.

”We’re not asking for government money,” said Blair Levin, a fellow at the Aspen Institute (and erstwhile head of the FCC's broadband plan) who is heading the project. “We believe the right approach is to have the private sector fund the networks.”

“The concept is laudable, but the real question is for what purpose?” said Michael Kleeman, a computer network designer and telecommunications policy strategist at the University of California, San Diego. Hey Mike, remember Bill Gates once said a computer with 256k memory would be powerful enough for everyone's home; I am writing this on a new machine with 16 gig. So ya never know.

Duke lacrosse: another 353 page legal brief, more delay

Lawyers for the city of Durham have asked a federal appeals court to overturn the trial judge and derail further legal action by the three Duke lax players who were indicted for the 2006 hoax and their teammates. Among the players' allegations: the city police department is corrupt.

The brief -- if you want to call it that -- is 353 pages long.

When we saw this, we immediately thought of the reason that Duke's $2 million a year outside counsel gave when she surrendered her plumb assignment: Jamie Gorelick of Washington DC said the appeals were ending, and local trial counsel could carry on.

The players have until August 25th to answer.


Sheppard's quick exit signals turmoil within the Brodhead Administration over Kunshan Initiative

✔✔✔ A Fact Checker essay.

In the Brooklyn Mafia, when one of the goons acts up -- perhaps botching a truck hijacking or keeping too large a slice of a pizzeria shakedown for himself -- Don Richard Brodheadio and Consigliere Peter Languini would summon Vinnie the Chin. In short order, Vinnie would arrange a car ride, where, depending on the severity of the perceived offense, the goon may be dispatched through the agony of torture, or the lingering terror of a garrote around the neck, or a mercifully quick bullet to the back of the head.

In Allen Building, the Don and Consigliere summoned not Vinnie, but a PR man, who concocted a press release, which was intended to be a merciful announcement of the demise of Blair Sheppard from his position as Dean of the Fuqua Business School. This spin failed and the death will be agonizing.

To believe the press release, you must accept the following:

✔-- that Sheppard now believes that while he gave birth to many dreams, as is "often the case... the person who drove significant change, especially through an extremely difficult economic time, is not the person to consolidate the change."

✔-- that Shephard did not realize this at all during his fourth year in office, when he gave no hint of stepping aside. Indeed he participated in an exhaustive review of his first term as dean by a committee chaired by Professor Paula McClain, a review aimed at a second term.

✔-- that Sheppard did not realize this even when the McClain committee scorched aspects of his career and Peter the Provost sat him down for special counseling. Or even when the University took the rather unusual step of stating in some versions of its press release announcing his reappointment, that these sessions had been held -- and would continue.

✔-- that on April 19, Sheppard let Peter the Provost announce a second term, never mentioning the nuance that emerged in the PR release on Monday: that Shep was merely considering the offer.

✔-- and now, with seven days notice, which is not the way these things are handled in the academic world, Sheppard will depart for a vague job with the new Duke Kunshan University. And he will teach in the regular MBA program, which has not been scheduled at all for the dawning semester. FC believes the job is merely face saving -- and a device to shift Shep's salary off Fuqua's back. He is the Dean with the highest salary in the University --$511,686 -- and typically his salary will continue at this level for a year, and then begin to phase back over several years to that of a regular professor, believed to be about $300,000 in Fuqua. (Dean Nancy Andrews of the Medical School earns slightly more, but that includes a bonus in some years that Shep is not eligible for). By declaring Shep is a Kunshan fund-raiser, we believe the salary shifts to the budget for the Duke development office, which enjoys a five year, $1 million per year gift to rev up Kunshan fundraising. (Rev it up, meaning Duke Durham donors will be approached.)

Even the most senior faculty in Fuqua were caught by surprise.

Fellow Dukies, make no mistake. Sheppard's tumble reflects a deepening crisis over Duke's attempts to build an entirely new campus in the backwater of Kunshan, China. This initiative is in shambles, and Sheppard took the hit.

Crisis? Shambles? Fact Checker, you use strong and urgent words. Yes. Yes, indeed.

FC and Deputies have polled all sources, checking and rechecking.

1) There is new tension between Trustees and Administrators, caused in large measure by the rising chorus among faculty vigorously opposed to the Kunshan Initiative. Beyond, there is substantial concern that even among faculty who have not spoken out, support is tepid at best. And equally important, there is no faculty champion willing to stand and lead a fight for the initiative.

✔2) There is increasing recognition we have a can of financial worms on our hands. As the reports from the Fuqua faculty committees on degrees proposed for Kunshan established, the finances are out of whack. And unlikely to get better by tinkering with the proposals.

✔3) Some believe we were sold a bill of goods on Kunshan. Backwater. No university. Not even an airport. Even Sheppard is now saying Kunshan will "not work" for some degrees, that students are demanding courses in the Bund, the Wall Street of Shanghai. And when word got around that Sheppard wanted to build there too, our original partner for Kunshan, Shanghai Jaio Tung University, got pissed because Duke would be in direct competition with its MBA program. The announcement of the termination of our elaborately signed partnership with Jaio Tung seemed phony too, the stated reason being Jaio Tung did not want to operate in a different province of China. As if the geography had just changed.

✔4) A Trustee who talked to FC Monday night says there is now realization that the Fuqua faculty considered only the financial dimensions of the proposed degrees in Kunshan -- and that when the Academic Council considers academic freedom, the initiative is likely to get creamed. Even this Trustee could not tell FC the terms of the agreement that the Brodhead Administration has already negotiated with China for academic freedom -- and yes, this trustee also thinks details are being withheld from stakeholders because they will land with a thud.

✔5) An unlikely partnership -- Methodist minister and atheist graduate -- is formulating a major challenge to Kunshan and other international initiatives because Duke is leaving its Christian heritage at home. Kunshan: no Chapel, no prayer room, no space for meditation. There is considerable concern over the prospect that if some students or faculty or their families want to attend Christian services (or other religions for that matter), the Chinese will thrash them. Moreover, the degrees awarded in Kunshan will be from Duke in Durham -- and one wonders how the words "Eruditio and Religio" will fly with the Chinese regime. FC believes those words are absent in degrees we award in Singapore too.

✔6) There is no one who can understand how rolling the dice on a risky undertaking thousands of miles away will benefit the mother campus. The rationale that Brodhead was finally reduced to offering -- that faculty going to Kunshan to teach would return to infuse the mother campus with an international flavor -- has fallen apart with the June 1 meeting of the Fuqua faculty and the determination that virtually no one wants to go there to teach.

✔ 7) Increasingly we see the Kunshan Initiative not only gobbling money, but grabbing the attention of administrators, leaving them grappling for time to focus on Durham. Brodhead's three week international spree this summer -- followed by vacation -- speaks for itself.

One source tells FC that the Trustees taking leadership roles in this reappraisal of Kunshan include the new chair, Rick Wagoner, and the chair of the secretive China committee, David Rubenstein. Neither has ever been willing to sit down with FC for an interview.

Shephard was the leading advocate for Kunshan. He discovered the city, formulated with its officials the deal for a 200 acre site and buildings, and negotiated each paragraph of a contract. Unfortunately, with each step, the deal became less and less favorable to Duke. Where once Sheppard said we'd get free rent for 20 years, it is now down to six. Where once he said Kunshan would pay all operating deficits for a decade, it's now down to 45 percent for the next five years.

Sheppard rolled over Gilbert Merkx, who was vice provost for international affairs before being demoted to his current position of Director of International and Area Studies in the Provost's office.

Relatively little is known about Shep's relationship with Merkx successors, Gregory Jones, briefly vice president and vice provost for international initiatives (who resigned for health reasons) and now Dr. Michael Merson, diluting his positon as head of Duke's Global Health Institute to sit in temporarily as vice provost.

An important FC source says Sheppard always had a tense relationship with Peter the Provost -- even before the scolding and counseling resulting from the McClain committee review.

And a senior faculty source tells FC that some faculty were always uncomfortable with Shep's academic credentials. He has degrees in psychology, considered a "soft" background by business school professors attuned to the discipline of strategic planning or finance.

Sheppard not only led the faculty -- he got too far in front of them. Time after time, FC was told that he enjoyed very little support among faculty and he seemed oblivious to this. When we first learned of the dislike of Sheppard, it was hard to believe the intensity of the comments, until the June 1 faculty meeting that rebuked his leadership.

He has been criticized for starting Duke Corporate Education (DCE) -- criticized for the way it tailors any program any corporation wants, criticized because universities are not supposed to be set up to chase profits. And criticized because the DCE structure does not require faculty approval for its offerings.

You can't argue with the fact that DCE took off in the rankings, now #1 in the world, nor with its initial financial success. But since the world-wide financial meltdown, DCE has hurt, losing millions last year.

✔✔ So what's next.

Our most important source in Fuqua -- cool to Sheppard -- has mentioned his successor favorably many times. Monday night this source wrote:

"Boulding is trustworthy; I think that he would not be part of something that was not good for Duke.

"Boulding is very good and has been at the center of most of the positive things that have happened at Fuqua for several years. This seems like a great thing for Fuqua."

Hours after the announcement, Sheppard and Boulding made a joint appearance at a forum in Fuqua. Not newsworthy, we are told. Our source again: "People are surprised but do not seem unhappy. I think Fuqua will be ok with the sudden change but only because people trust Boulding and he has a long history at Fuqua."

✔✔✔ The issue is joined: how vigorously will Boulding put together new proposals for academic offerings in Kunshan? Will he try to keep the current timetable -- increasingly unrealistic -- of starting courses in August, 2012? If he lobbys for an extension, will he collide with Brodhead, whose grandiose scheme to start Kunshan and other campuses around the world is already, embarrassingly, on its second timetable?

And how open will Boulding be to ideas other than his own? Will faculty be consulted, their ideas not only heard but incorporated, a very necessary time consuming collaboration that is likely to add to slippage in the deadline?

How will Boulding fare when the proposals -- as required by university by-laws -- go before the Fuqua faculty and then the elected faculty senate, the Academic Council?

And how will he react to the sustained voices who want a two year moratorium so Duke can rethink (or more accurately think thru at last) -- publicly, with stakeholder involvement -- where this international road leads.

And how will he mesh with the Don and Consigliere who suddenly are his bosses? And will he outlast them? Monday's announcement said Boulding has a two year appointment, with a national search for a permanent dean to start in the second year.

Thank you for reading FC.

Jay Ruckelshaus condition report

From a family friend:

Jay's physical therapist visited him (Monday morning) and was pleased with his flexibility and range. That's great news.

Jay had his trachiostomy (Monday afternoon) and was sedated for about 2 hours. This is a procedure that is done in moving toward getting him off the ventilator and breathing on his own again.

His family was able to see him afterward and thought he looked so good! All of the tubes were removed from his mouth, and they could see his handsome face again. The doctors are confident that he will be breathing on his own in the next few days.

Jay's recovery is coming along consistent with what the doctors are expecting, so that's also good news. One day at a time...

Please continue to pray for a miracle

In addition, the friend sent along this information about financial help for Jay and his family:



Sheppard quits as Fuqua dean effective August 1. Prime driver of Kunshan effort who encountered heavy faculty fire.

Please scroll down. There are three stories today: Duke borrows too heavily, just like the federal government. And some messages that fellow Dukies have been sending incoming freshman Jay Ruckleshaus, seriously injured in a diving accident.

Dean Blair Sheppard of the Fuqua Busines School -- the prime architect of Duke's thrust into Kunshan and a dozen other cities around the world -- is stepping down effective August 1.

This is unexpected; this is on short notice. Just last week, when Sheppard returned from accompanying President Brodhead on the international spree, FC polled all sources in Fuqua about his reworking of proposed academic courses at the new Duke Kunshan University, and picked up no hint of his impending resignation. One source did note that the reworking seemed rather low key -- with Shep having limited meetings with few faculty.

The reworking is necessary because the faculty, in a June 1 meeting, turned thumbs down on two proposals he had come up with -- largely on his own. This rebuke of his leadership and that of President Brodhead and Provost Lange, stunned the administration.

The change in leadership at Fuqua is sure to affect the entire Kunshan timetable, which was growing increasingly tight. As it stands right now, Duke plans to start courses next August (August, 2012), but there is no approval from the Chinese government, no approval from the Duke faculty. FC believes there will surely be another delay; Kunshan originally was announced to open in 2011.

The announcement at 8 AM today rewrote some history: it noted Sheppard had been "offered" the "opportunity to serve a second term as Dean beginning in 2012." On April 19, Peter the Provost announced Sheppard had been reappointed to a second five year term -- with no hint Shep was going to decline! In some versions of the April 19 announcement, though, Peter hinted at trouble. He said that he and Sheppard had met to discuss short-comings in his performance, and that the Provost would continue to monitor Sheppard. That rather blunt assessment all but violated the administration's code of silence.

There were many who were surprised Sheppard had been offered another five year term after a routine review. The review of his initial term was rocky, far from the usual glowing conclusions that emerge in these reviews.

Sheppard made his mark building Fuqua's executive training programs, which are ranked #1 in the world. These are operated through a subsidiary that is free of the usual faculty control. But the recession has been rough: Duke Corporate Education (DCE)'s income plunged, its staff suffered immense salary cuts, and some were sent packing. DCE turned from a profit maker -- to a substantial drag on the entire Fuqua budget.

The faculty reports that led to turning down the degrees proposed for Kunshan contained another stunner: in four of the past five years, in other words in good economic times and bad, Fuqua had operated in the red. Moreover, the reports revealed that in the academic year just starting, Fuqua is hurting for students in its programs across the board. No specifics were ever released, nor did a Deputy FC assigned come up with specifics.

An announcement at 8 AM to the faculty -- just one hour ahead of public disclosure -- inclui;ded a statement from Brodhead that Sheppard would remain at Duke and assume some vague responsibilities for Kunshan. His wife is also a professor at Duke, and head of the Talent Identification Program.

This morning's announcement stated that "Sheppard will be succeeded by J.B. Fuqua Professor of Business Administration and Deputy Dean William Boulding, who will serve a two-year term. The university will conduct an international search in the second year of his term."

FC will have more later.


FC update: Dukies -- past, present and future -- join vigil for incoming freshman Jay Ruckleshaus, seriously injured in a diving accident

✔✔✔ It is not embellishing to say that Dukies of all generations -- from alumni, to faculty, to current students and to members of the Class of 2015 who will arrive on campus next month -- have joined in prayer and encouragement for Jay Ruckelshaus.

It's an outpouring of support similar to that seen in his Midwest hometown, Fishers, Indiana, where the word "neighbor" knows no boundaries. Where a family friend who has been in repeated contact with FC spent Saturday with his son doing yard work at the Ruckleshaus home, the 97 degree heat and high humidity be damned. Where classmates at the Catholic prep school where he was valedictorian have united in masses and Holy Communion. And where, at the O.A.R. concert in Indianapolis on Friday night, some of his favorite musicians led a shout-out.

Read, please, this post from the internet:

Hello Jay and Family! My husband works with your neighbor Derek Sprunger. We haven't met you but have read about how smart you are in the newspaper when they featured all the top graduates! You are in our thoughts and prayers and we look forward to hearing about your accomplishments in the future!! The Qualkinbush Family

Brenda Barker Qualkinbush

As FC readers know, Jay suffered a substantial injury eight days ago when -- on a hot summer's night -- he dove from a waterfront patio at the home of a buddy into a reservoir that was only three feet deep. Luckily, one of his buddies was a lifeguard, who pulled him ashore.

No one knows the long term outcome.

Jay, with perfect math SAT score, verbal skills almost to match, turned down Harvard. Turned down Yale. Turned down the most prestigious scholarship at his home state Indiana University. He won an Angier Buchanan Duke Scholarship, showing precisely why they exist: to bring to Duke the absolute best from all over the nation, just as the BN Duke Scholarships are aimed at keeping the best North Carolina students from fleeing north.

To compete Jay's resume: cross country team, a rower at the Indianapolis Rowing Center, planning a career in public policy or international affairs, hoping to go to law school as an avenue to do so.

Before we get to the latest condition report, Loyal Readers, please read some of the messages from fellow Dukies that we have spotted.

Hi Jay,
You don't know me yet, but I'm going to be in your freshman class at Duke. I'm so sorry to hear about your injury, but you will fight it through in true Blue Devil form. You are in my prayers!

Ryan Dhindsa


Hi Jay,
You don't quite know me, but I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you have a wonderful family supporting you at home, but you are also a part of the Duke family that is also praying for you and ready to support you. I wish you all the best and hope to see you around at Duke!

Stay strong and positive!

Bret Lesavoy


Dear Jay,
I (know I speak) on behalf of all of the upperclassmen, as a member of Duke 14', when I say that we are so excited to meet you come August. I'm praying for a speedy recovery and hope that we become great friends in the future. If you ever need anything at Duke do not hesitate to come to me.

All the best,
Michael Farruggia


I know we don't know each other personally, but I wanted to make sure you knew that you have my thoughts, prayers, and support. You also have the support of the whole Duke family behind you, and we are all praying for your speedy recovery so that you can spend the next four years having the time of your life at Duke with the rest of us. You have so many positive thoughts and prayers coming your way, so keep your chin up! :)

Kristen Wade


Some future Dukies met Jay at the AB Duke competition weekend last spring.

Hi Jay,

I know we only met once or twice during the AB weekend, but I just wanted you to know that you're in my thoughts and I know you'll pull through like the amazing person you are. I can't wait to see you again at Duke.

Wishing you a speedy recovery,

Olivia Chen



You are in my prayers and thoughts. Everyone is looking forward to seeing you pretty soon at Duke. Your sense of humor can get you through anything :) Wishing you a healthy recovery.

Nonie Arora


Hi Jay,

Even from the AB weekend, it was apparent that you were in every sense a great kid. Best wishes for your recovery.

Brendan Farmer


Hey Jay,

Hope to see you strong and well at Duke!

Warm wishes,
Faraz Yashar

Officially, the University has affirmed Jay's scholarship will be available whenever he comes to Duke. Now is not the time or place to get into our frustration. but we extracted that bit of vague information from Michael Schoenfeld, vp for public relations, only after four e-mails. He would not say if President Brodhead had been in personal contact with the Ruckleshaus family. Nor what official represented Duke.

And now the latest condition report.

On Wednesday, Jay's temperature spiked, alarmingly high, believed to be a reaction to medication. That is now under control.

He remains sedated most of the time, although his father read him the newspaper between dozes this weekend.

The key in the next few days will be to strengthen his pulmonary function, and wean him from a life support respirator. Originally this was scheduled this past week, and we do not know at all how to interpret the delay.

The question on everyone's mind, as to where this fracture-dislocation of the C-4 and C-5 vertebrae will lead, is simply unanswerable. "He currently has no feeling below his chest, but that's typical at this stage of recovery for his injury and it is not yet known what functionality he will have over time. It will be days or possibly weeks before we know."

He had no brain damage.

As a friend posted:

"Jay understands that he is in the football game of his life, and God is the quarterback. To use another Ruckelshaus Sports Analogy, "this is not a sprint; it is a full marathon."

Thank you for reading FC.

If you think the federal government borrows a lot, wait until you learn about Duke!

✔ Good day, fellow Dukies. Fact Checker here. Probative. Provocative.

We have been closely following the simultaneous debates in Washington over borrowing and spending.

Currently, every time the federal government spends $1, it borrows 40 cents.

On August 2nd, this nation will max out on its credit cards -- being $14.294 trillion in debt - and there will be no Congressional authority to borrow another cent. That means the USA won't have enough money to pay all its bills: not enough for the paychecks of federal workers, or for monthly payments to people getting Social Security, not enough to keep Medicaid and two wars going. And from Wall Street's standpoint, most importantly, we could miss payments on existing loans unless the fat cats are favored and paid first.

If we defaulted on fat cat payments, after borrowing so much by pledging the "full faith and credit" of the United States, we are told there would be utter chaos.

Looking ahead, there are projections -- which obviously are only estimates so they can vary -- that if we do not trim what we have already planned to spend, we will add another $13 trillion to the national debt in 10 years.

Whew. Some legacy.

We'll let the politicians in Washington battle over all that, while FC pursues its mission: to watch over Duke University.

✔✔ Fellow Dukies, you may be surprised to learn that our institutional debt has actually proliferated faster than the national debt -- to the point where the interest we must pay is putting a real crimp on other spending.

That's just to pay the interest. For the most part, Duke has no plan whatsoever to repay the debt, and our only option will be, on the due date of each loan, to roll the debt over and borrow some more to pay the original lender.

We are going to leave the Duke Health System out of this essay. It operates as a separate corporation -- and it has a superior revenue stream, getting fees from 61,749 patients who were hospitalized in the most recent year reported, and 85,512 surgical procedures, and 1,811,955 doctor visits in the out-patient clinics, just to begin the list. The FC investigation indicates that Health System debt for four of the most recent years did not budge significantly. While construction of new facilities like the Comprehensive Cancer Care Center has caused a bulge, it is in our analysis responsible and manageable.

So we turn to look at the "education" side of Duke, or as it is called in some reports, "the campus."

As we examine this portion of Duke, we are going to put aside the $500 million emergency loan that Duke took out two and a half years ago to protect its liquidity during the world-wide fiscal meltdown. We'll come back to that in a few moments.

One final caveat: bear in mind that we are using the latest figures supplied by Duke, which are for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 (a year ago). And bear in mind that despite our repeated attempts to ask questions and secure an updated briefing on finances, we've been rebuffed. A Bronx cheer to Trask and Schoenfeld.

So, at the end of the 2004-5 academic year, the education side of Duke owed $779,000,000. That in itself is a radically different balance sheet than this university had enjoyed historically: it used to be we constructed buildings and acquired other expensive things only when we had accumulated the cash. That tradition started with Trinity College and continued even after James B. Duke forked over the big loot and the school changed its name to his. Recall, please, how ground-breaking for the new Medical School and Duke Hospital was delayed more than six years because there was no cash.

Back to modern times. By the end of the 2009-2010 academic year, the total debt on the "education" side had increased to $1,387,000,000. As noted above, this excludes the $500,000,000 liquidity loan which we will talk about separately.

✔✔ That's an 80 percent increase in five years. An unsustainable pace. Yet the current administration has shown no signs of letting up.

✔ Witness, for example, the new dorm nearing completion in Keohane Quad. You are looking at borrowed money. And you are looking at a fairy tale on how we are going to pay for it.

At present, existing dorms that we have paid for in full operate at a slight loss. But with fantasies only an administrator can explain -- and won't explain to us -- Keohane 4 (as it is called) is going to derive from room rents enough to pay ongoing expenses, plus enough to pay interest.

No, the loan is not being amortized. It's not like a home mortgage where every year you pay interest and also melt down the principal. At the end of 30 or 40 or 50 years, we will have an out-of-date worn down dorm -- and still owe every cent for constructing it.

There has not been one administrator who has taken the FC challenge: if new dorms could pay for themselves, if this myth of the financing of K4 were true, why put up only one dorm? Let's develop Central and solve the entire housing problem -- whee -- for free!

The interest rates that Duke must pay on all this debt vary considerably. Some bonds (long term debt) are tax free and interest rates are low. Some more recent bonds are taxable and carry interest rates as high as 5.9 percent. In this economy, that's a high rate; we do not know if this reflects an erosion in Duke's credit rating, and had Trask and Schoenfeld not ducked, we would be asking.

The FC calculation is that in the academic year just starting, the education budget of Duke is going to be hit for $60 million in interest charges. If Mr. Trask has a better number, we'll be glad to sit down with him to discuss it.

Just think of what could be done with $60 million -- if we had not gone on this destructive borrowing spree.

$60 million. Recall please that the Arts and Sciences once had a $500,000 a year budget for research, for travel to conferences for example. That has been shaved and shaved, until last year it was only $100,000. When the A and S Council specifically asked the administration to rebuild this appropriation, the answer was No.

In other words, we are paying our bondholders first, and we are paying for Kunshan first. And A and S is in last place.

✔ What is of particular concern is that we do not know where all this is going in the years ahead. Will we borrow more? Should we?

Duke's strategic plan is horrifically out of date, focused on constructing a new Central Campus in one swoop, paid for by money that evaporated in the meltdown.

The plan is not updated. It says very little about our international ambitions, and nothing at all about a full campus in another nation, Kunshan being merely the first. We fly by the seat of Mr. Brodhead's pants.

✔✔ Now back to that $500,000,000 borrowed during the great meltdown. We informed Trask and Schoenfeld that we wanted to revisit this issue, which we discussed last winter, and they refused to answer questions. Fellow Dukies, we're not talking about OUR questions, they are YOUR questions. For while these two administrators refused to meet with FC and Deputies, it's really Loyal Readers and fellow Dukies who got the snub.

We believe the reason the administration felt it needed this massive infusion of cash was very well hidden, and it had nothing to do with paying routine bills like salaries and electricity. Hidden this way: in addition to existing investments in exotic investments like hedge funds and private equity deals at levels that we knew about, the university was obliged to add new money under its contracts with money managers. Perhaps as much as $2 billion.

Yes that's right. To throw $2 billion (our informed estimate) in new money at the same exotic, hard to understand investments that were swirling down the toilet.

In normal times, these obligations would be paid from the normal flow of cash, most of it from the sale of investments that had appreciated. But there weren't many winners in Duke's portfolio, so any sale would have resulted in a bloodbath. Duke was also counting on new contributions, and they were drying up fast.

As if this pinch were not enough, there's an even bigger reason: Duke evaluates all of its hedge fund and private equity deals by guessing. Trask acknowledges this every year in his annual report.

There are no benchmarks, very little guidance in estimating the value of these investments.

And ah hah... in the meltdown... had we anything at a firesale price, there would then be a price point, and we'd have to use that to recalculate the stated value of our entire portfolio. Yes Duke would have been required to re-evaluate hundreds of millions of dollars in hedge funds and private equity deals to conform with the firesale price. And boy, that would have made things look even worse.

When it borrowed the $500 million two years ago, Duke promptly spent $90 million. Given the suddenness, we believe this was not for current expenses, but rather money we were under contract to add to hedge funds and private equity.

$90 million spent. The balance, $410 million, was salted into a special account where it earned interest. Indeed, over two years, Duke was able to earn more on the $410 million than it cost to take out the full $500 million loan. OK OK Trask take a bow. The actual profit was $6.9 million.

And we believe the profit may have been substantially more. Because we had the $410 million in a very liquid investment -- where we could get our hands on cash immediately -- Duke did not have to keep approximately $350 million in endowment funds that it normally puts in the very liquid -- but low paying -- investments.

Instead, this $350 million could be put to work in the general pool of investment assets which was fortunate enough to earn far, far more. By FC estimate, the $350 million could have yielded an extra $60 million over two years.

✔✔✔ This sounds like a win-win situation to FC. So why last May 5th, did Duke repay the entire $500 million loan?

We had to pay a penalty of $56.2 million to get out of the deal, to pay back the money we borrowed early.

Duke did not have to pay back the money at all. $250 million was due in 2014 and $250 million was due in 2019.

The people who were due money in 2014 really cleaned up. They got almost all of the $56.2 million penalty. Had Duke not paid them early -- but on time -- they would have gotten only $37 million in interest spread over three years. Here, the larger kitty arrived immediately, and for the next three years, they had their principal to invest elsewhere.

In exploring this, FC was told well, maybe, maybe, Duke wanted to get rid of the $500 million debt in case interest rates went up on the loans -- and went down on our re-investment of the cash.

Our response is that yes there was a risk, but no where near exposure for $56.2 million.

Moreover, if interest rates ever did start to move unfavorably -- and they show no sign they will -- they will not go in one bump and Duke would have had substantial time to respond.

In fact, Duke's risk was declining every month, as the length of time that any interest rate squeeze affected the university was being constantly reduced.

Mr. Trask, anytime you're ready, we'd like to understand how you did not waste $56.2 million. And we'd like to know who you made the checks out to when you repaid the loans, and whether any financial institution tied to our trustees made a profit.

Thank you for reading FC. Yes, sometimes it is tedium. No one assured you this was going to be easy.


What's ahead on Fact Checker

Developing stories that FC will have after a sultry, summer weekend break.

Dukies -- present and future -- are joining in a massive outpouring of prayers and support for Jay Ruckleshaus, Class of 2015 Angier B Duke Scholar seriously injured in a diving accident. We have asked about any official university contact with his family -- and gotten no response from Duke PR.

Alumni Department tells FC that totals on reunion giving and Annual Fund won't be available for some time. Other schools -- Princeton for example -- reported two weeks ago.

FC -- having established that President Brodhead's website is in shambles -- now visits other Duke sites and finds they are not much better.

Brodhead mum on FC request for statement of his position on Aycock Dorm, named in honor of a terrorist and racist. National committee of concern being formed.

Atheist and Methodist minister take lead in slamming God-less campus in Kunshan, China, saying it violates our fundamental heritage.

Faculty member questions proliferation of Global Health classes, saying there is no faculty involvement, approval or quality control.

Do you want to participate in a clinical trial of a cancer drug? Dr. Anil Potti -- now in the hamlet of Loris, SC -- has a new offer for you!

Chronicle spending big bucks to send a reporter on the silly basketball trip to China and Dubai. But at least he or she will get a look at Kunshan.

✔ The Chronicle -- hurting for cash -- is going to spend more than $13,000 to buy a coach seat on the charter plane taking the Duke basketball team and supporters on an exhibition tour of China and Dubai.

This news came not in the newspaper's pages or website - but in an appeal to Chronicle alumni for donations to help meet the extravagant cost.

We have fished out the name of the reporter, but being fair, we're holding up his/her name to allow the paper to make that part of the announcement itself. The reporter will have the first on-the-scene look by a local journalist at the folly of Duke's new campus in Kunshan.

There's validity in that; as President Brodhead has noted Kunshan is the greatest thing for Duke since the invention of air conditioning and James B. Duke's forking over the loot in 1924 to get Trinity College to change its name to his.

But FC feels a trip tied to a silly basketball promotion -- with the promotion governing the timetable -- has to be questioned. After a grueling overnight flight from the US, the plane is scheduled to arrive in Shanghai at 11 PM local time. Buses will immediately take the team and fans to Kunshan -- a three hour trip according to FC calculation.

Then there only be limited time in the city; if the reporter wants to dig for more than 3 days, he or she will be out of luck since the Duke entourage will be moving on to Shanghai, Beijing and then Dubai.

The way-overpriced $13,460 charter fee includes hotels and some meals, as well as a ticket to four basketball games, limited sightseeing and transportation. But it would have been far cheaper to buy a ticket for someone to fly on a commercial airline -- Delta for example, which, according to ITAsoftware.com, currently has coach seats for $1,031 round-trip. Even a business seat would be only $3,864.

Delta requires a connection in Atlanta, but the charter is not non-stop either.

The charter is in an out-of-date narrow-body jet from some company we never heard of; the coach seats are three and three, meaning you have a 33 percent chance of being in the middle. The plane is so dinky that it will have to stop on both of its long flights before refueling.

Hotels.com is offering rooms at Swissotel, the only hotel in the city itself with any stars, for $83 a night. Even the luxury Fairmont Hotel -- on Yangcheng Lake far outside the city but appearing in searches for Kunshan-- is only $160 a night. This is the hotel that so wooed Brodhead during his most recent visit.

The newspaper -- having eaten through much of its substantial nest egg in the past few years -- has a new accounting firm and hopefully will be revealing its operating results for the past academic year in the coming weeks, which is a far earlier schedule than in the past.

Loyal Readers, we're going to find that the Chronicle is not immune to the forces that are whacking print journalism.

Footnote: historically the Athletic Department footed the bill for a Chronicle reporter and photographer to travel with any team. No more. The newspaper's staff makes its own travel arrangements and the Chronicle picks up the bills.

Update: Incoming freshman has very serious home-town accident. Condition report. New details

Please scroll down. There are three posts this Thursday. A faculty member checks in with perspective on President Brodhead's international spree. And there are important developments in the Potti Mess.

✔✔✔✔ We are now in contact with a close family friend of Jay Ruckelshaus, the member of the Class of 2015 due to come to Duke in a few weeks. We reported Monday that he had suffered a critical injury when he dove into a reservoir in Fisher, Indiana, near Indianapolis, not realizing the water was only three feet deep.

We regret our initial report stated that he had been "partying drunk." The family friend who wrote FC offered this detail: "Yes, there was beer present, and some of the young men were partaking - but there was no party and they were not 'drunk'. They did drink a couple beers - but it was a small group of recent high school grads hanging out together on a hot summer evening a few weeks before heading off to college.

"Jay's classmates will all tell you he was not a partier, did not drink much at all, and was an exemplary student and friend. One of the young men is a lifeguard, and pulled Jay out of the water, saving his life. Authorities reported that they were respectful and cooperated completely. It is unfortunate that alcohol played a part in this story, but it was not a primary factor in Jay's accident."

As for Jay's injuries:

"Jay had a severe neck injury that resulted in a lengthy surgery to straighten his spine and replace a disc. He has no brain damage and is communicating with his doctors, family and friends.

"He currently has no feeling below his chest, but that's typical at this stage of recovery for his injury and it is not yet known what functionality he will have over time. It will be days or possibly weeks before we know."

And the e-mail included this information: "Jay is a wonderful young man that any parent would want their daughter to date or their son to hang out with. More than 300 people, including more than 100 of Jay's classmates turned out for a prayer service with four hours' notice Sunday evening."

There is a website to follow his progress: www.caringbridge.org/visit/JayRuckelshaus/createorsignin

Wednesday night the website included this information: "Jay is aware of the extent of his injuries, but true to Jay-Form, he was most concerned that his brain was 'ok'. The Doctors have all assured him that there is nothing at all wrong with his brain! :-) Please keep Jay and all the Ruckelshaus family in your thoughts and prayers. At this time, they are asking for cards or notes only and need no food or flowers. They would like everyone to pray for a miracle. We know that Jay is in God's hands, and Jay believes that, as well."

And this also posted on Wednesday night:

"Jay is at the beginning stages of being weaned off the ventilator. This will take several days, and until such time as he is off the vent, Jay will be unable to speak . He is 150% aware of everything (true to Jay) and communicates through a letter board. He can nod his head as well. He currently has no movement below his shoulders. The extent of his injury was a fracture-dislocation of the C-4 and C-5 vertebrae. The spinal cord has a contusion. As Jay's condition is still critical, the family indicates that there can be no visitors or flowers at this time. The Ruckelshaus family is deeply appreciative of all prayers and well-wishes.
to follow Jay's progress. There has been an outpouring of support for Jay from his incoming Duke classmates that are part of the A.B. Duke Scholarship program."

As FC reported Monday, Jay said NO to Harvard. NO to Yale. NO to the most prestigious scholarship at his home state Indiana University. Valedictorian at one of the toughest prep schools, he had a perfect math score, which we learned via a newsletter from the math department in his prep school; we do not know other scores, but can take a guess!

And as noted above, he is an Angier B. Duke Scholar. Known as Jay, his full name is John Christian Ruckelshaus IV according to the ABDuke announcement of his award.

Guest Fact Checker: a faculty member views Brodhead's spree in Europe, Asia and Africa

FC offers Loyal Readers the opportunity write a guest essay. Submit yours to Duke.Fact.Checker@gmail.com. We are developing a new website which will expand greatly the ability of Loyal Readers to participate in dialogue about Duke.

✔✔✔✔ The most important point raised by FC's recent coverage of our president’s world-wide vanity trip concerns the incontrovertible fact that the Duke-Kunshan folly is draining Duke's resources -- of time, personnel, money and, above all, institutional focus.

Even if the particular donors that are being sought for Duke's imperial outposts may not have been available for donations here, grooming them has obviously kept the administration from pursuing other potential donors for Duke University in Durham. President Brodhead and Provost Lange cannot clone themselves (which, on balance, must be accounted a good thing), and their Quixotic scheme of conquering the globe in installments only serves to expose their manifest lack of understanding their true responsibilities ... which of course are to the long-term flourishing of Duke.

Brodhead's embarrassing photo-ops, with yellow hat at Kunshan, or benevolently smiling at whatever dog-and-pony show locals may have arranged for him in Shanghai, Tanzania, or wherever, bring to mind Werner Herzog's Aguirre spinning delusional fantasies about conquering new worlds while rafting down into an alluring and indomitable world far beyond his comprehension. The resemblance might be amusing, were it not for the vapid and ingratiating pleasantries spouted by the President about Duke's reincarnation as a "globally-networked university."

For behind these and similarly hollow slogans stands the harsh and disquieting reality that in Kunshan, Duke is getting into bed with one of the most repressive regimes in the world. And for what? For a slogan? To keep up with the Joneses? Or is it just the vanity of a president who, nearing retirement (fervently anticipated by many in the Duke community), covets some Mausoleum to signal his “accomplishments” to posterity?

The plain and incontrovertible fact is and remains: Duke does not need to create old-fashioned brick-and-mortar outposts around the world to be a great university. In fact, it will only ever succeed in being a great university of it finds new administrators with sufficient good sense to understand that the flourishing of Duke University will pivot on the real, substantive, and sustained academic work of faculty and students here in Durham, North Carolina. Few people would be so foolish as to draw the inference that Duke is a major educational institution from the fact that it has sundry outposts around the globe. Rather, students from around the world will want to experience that quality first hand at the source. Quality is not some advertiser’s mirage or a function of global "spin." Instead, it is only achieved through a concentrated, sustained, and appropriately scaled effort.

In case President Brodhead is in any doubt as to how his persona is perceived by a large portion of faculty and alumni, he may want to betake himself to his library again, pull T. S. Eliot from the shelf, and read the opening stanza of "The Hollow Men." Having arranged the royal treatment for himself and his costly entourage on his latest peregrinations around the globe—so costly and yet so empty—the president should have no difficulty applying Eliot's "we" to himself:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Potti Mess: federal researcher testifies that Duke sits on explosive internal report with "very troubling accusations made... so sensitive."

Search words Anil Potti Duke University

✔✔✔ Good day, Fellow Dukies. FC here. Probative, Provocative.

There have been several developments in the Anil Potti scandal. We want to look today at Duke's involvement as an institution, and also review some questions about Potti himself that Loyal Readers have raised with FC.

In case you just landed on earth, Potti was the highly regarded, highly promoted Duke cancer physician who, it turned out, invented a Rhodes Scholarship for himself and then faked very important cancer drug trials -- experiments on human beings with medications for breast, lung and ovarian cancer. Duke has now conceded these trials should never have been allowed.

Potti was suspended with pay, and as a formal faculty misconduct review was beginning -- secret by federal law -- Potti quit.

The Institute of Medicine -- sought out by Duke for an outside review of the entire Mess -- continues to conduct hearings, with an eye toward Duke's involvement but also a great concern for what the genome community might learn as procedures and protocols emerge for this cutting edge science.

In one recent hearing, Lisa McShane, a National Cancer Institute biostatician testified -- and said Duke is holding on to explosive information about data manipulation in at least one of Potti's three clinical trials.

The witness said Duke had prepared an internal report on this: "There's quite frankly a bit of -- not a bit -- a lot of detail in (the report). Names Named. Very troubling accusations made."

Despite being pressed by the IOM committee, McShane said “I would prefer not to release (the report) because it's so sensitive, but if you have no success getting it from Duke, I can certainly take it to the National Cancer Institute leadership (the people who dispense federal research dollars) and we can decide what we think we could release."

The Cancer Letter -- in a piece freelanced by the Chronicle's Taylor Doherty -- could not get Duke to comment.

If Duke does not make this report available in full, it would be a fundamental breach of its commitment to the Institute of Medicine and to every stakeholder in the university for an "unfettered" investigation. The institute is a top notch private organization of 2,000 people, including approximately 80 at Duke, described this way by Wikipedia: "The Institute provides unbiased, evidence-based, and authoritative information and advice concerning health and science policy to policy-makers, professionals, leaders in every sector of society, and the public at large."

✔✔ Another recent witness before the IOM was Dr. Joseph Nevins, Potti's mentor and his co-author for many (we've heard but have not confirmed the number 14) medical journal articles, four of which Nevins and other co-authors have now renounced and asked to be withdrawn. Interestingly, the Cancer Letter is now referring to the Mess as the Potti-Nevins Affair.

An important source tells FC that the Nevins testimony was a disaster.

"Joe clearly doesn't 'get it.' He's digging his heels in and just doesn't see that there's a need for a mea culpa.

"The design of the overall project appeared to be fine (in my opinion) and had some good statistical advice from collaborators; but clearly Nevins (as the overall project leader) did not look closely enough at the data and certainly didn't respond to or take seriously the emails from (scientists at the great M D Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas) once problems were found.

"That was a mistake, plain and simple -- understandable as a human foible, but not defendable after the fact. Nevins screwed up -- inadequate mentoring of Potti, poor oversight of the data on 'his' project, and poor responsiveness to colleagues. But he hasn't yet reached the point of agreeing to the previous sentence."

And our source added, "Part hubris, part self-delusion perhaps. None of us ever wants to admit failure. And Nevins certainly wasn't prepared to do so at the time of his IOM presentation."

✔✔Several Loyal Readers have written FC about Potti's being licensed by the state of South Carolina -- to practice cancer medicine in the hamlet of Loris, near the North Carolina border and the Atlantic Ocean. This is part of a large group cancer practice headquartered in Myrtle Beach.

According to the website for Coastal Cancer Care, Potti's little office not only sees patients, not only does research, but has clinical trials too. Ummmm... here we go again?

Loyal Readers, quite frankly, we do not think Potti should be licensed to do these specific things so soon after he fumbled so badly --- doing precisely these things.

There is nothing in the South Carolina record to indicate that Potti was asked for an explanation of his conduct at Duke, nor asked if he needs treatment for whatever caused his elevator to start skipping floors.

While there is a question as to whether the applicant sought help from mental health professionals, there is no inquiry as to whether he should have.

Potti seems to have slipped through other cracks in the rather extensive questioning he did face in his written application. Indeed, his comments in the application clearly indicate that he expected just a temporary license, not the full license he did obtain.

More troubling are some of his answers. "Are you currently under investigation or the subject of pending disciplinary action by any Medical Licensing Board, health care facility or other entity?" Originally Potti checked No. Then with a slight squiggle, he seemed to cross that out, perhaps hoping no one would notice. He did check the Yes box too.

Similarly, he said No to an inquiry about whether he ever discontinued the practice of medicine for more than a month. From his suspension at Duke to his emergence in a South Carolina application was a longer period.

✔✔ Equally disturbing, a review of Potti's license to practice medicine in North Carolina indicates there are no "Health Care Institution Suspensions or Revocations." We think Duke should have reported its suspension of Potti --- as a medical school professor, as a researcher and as a clinician treating patients. This might have flagged a problem South Carolina did not catch.

✔✔ In his South Carolina application, Potti benefited from an effusive recommendation from Duke's #1 cancer doc.

Dr.Jeffrey Crawford, chief, Division of Medical Oncology, wrote an effusive recommendation to South Carolina officials. Words of praise incorporating phrases like these:

"...Honesty, integirty and humility."

"...great admiration and respect.."

And the kicker, "Anil developed an impressive research program..."

This was written on official Duke University Medical Center stationery. We suppose the freedom from restraint accorded our faculty allows them to proclaim the earth is flat, and suffer no more than approbation from their colleagues. But we feel university officials should at least speak to Dr. Crawford about this travesty.

In all four Duke doctors wrote letters of recommendation. Another came from Dr. David Rizzieri, bone marrow and stem cell implant expert, who was more subdued. Loyal Readers will recall our 11/14/2010 post identifying Rizzieri as a North Carolina leader in getting money from drug companies -- a practice that has come under increasing fire. Rizzieri got a whopping $240,150 over two years from drug companies: $36,000 from GlaxoSmithKline for speaking engagements and a whopping $204,150 from Cephalon under the vague category of "honoraria."

This list may not be complete, as reporters at the Pro Publica organization are still getting raw data. Potti himself was in on this, receiving far less however.

✔✔ FC is quite concerned too that Duke is letting Potti get away with hiring an internet image consultant, who basically floods the internet with good news, pushing the bad deep into searches. The problem is, the posts convey an inaccurate accounting of Potti's years at Duke. The University should thus take steps to protect its own integrity.

There will be litigation because of the Potti Mess. One concern of attorneys is to identify how the potential plaintiffs were harmed. In cancer treatment, it's hit or miss trying different drugs. Potti's claims that he had unlocked the human genome to reveal which cancer drugs might best target specific cancers in specific individuals may have been bunk; but except for a small number of patients who got a cocktail of chemotherapy that Potti himself concocted, the treatment he gave patients is the same they might have gotten by chance. For sure, Potti deceived patients into participating in his trials by alleging a scientific basis for them, and that's a significant part of the plaintiffs' case.

✔✔✔ We conclude with this e-mail from a Loyal Reader:

"I knew Dr.Potti when he was a resident and prior to all that has happened at Duke. He was an intelligent physician who could have done well without staining his name.Like many others, he has chosen the wrong path to reach the top. He should not go any further unless he can face why he wronged so many who believed in him and if he is capable of correcting his dishonesty. Medical licensing boards have a duty not to neglect this and issue a license without such proof."

Thank you for reading FC and caring about DUKE.

Mr. President, kick some butt. Your website is in shambles, and whoever manages it should be replaced.

✔✔ After receiving several comments from Loyal Readers over a period of time, FC checked out President Brodhead's website and here is what we found:

-- You have to click three times in the right spots to get from the university's home page to any mention of Brodhead. Then he sits on a page with three other leaders, including Peter the Provost, Chancellor Victor Dzau and Executive VP Trask. This is dead end: there is no link to any other Brodhead site. (Most university presidents have a home page greeting)

-- We could not find a link to Brodhead's website -- which we knew existed -- no matter where we looked. We did a Google search and landed at http://www.duke.edu/president/

-- Most of the pictures are from his initial photo shoot on campus, and he's now starting his 8th year. We could not find any that reflected his shaving off his mustache a year and a half ago.

-- More importantly, there is no speech since Convocation in May, 2010. No writing (as information e-mails to alumni) since April, 2010.

-- The last time he was in the news was July, 2010.

-- The last log of a Duke Idea presentation to alumni was May 20, 2009.

-- And his Curriculum Vitae is worse. His last honor in May, 2007. His last professsional activity a year before that. His last major lecture was in Cleveland, “What Universities Are Good For,” The City Club of Cleveland, November 2006.

-- If you click on "additional resources," the Quick Facts about Duke is blank.

-- If you seek "Reports to the Trustees February 2006 to present," you get a blank page. Nan Koehane started posting this quarterly reports with the advent of the internet.

-- If you click on Contact Us, that's where you find buried a link to the President's office hours for students. Brodhead has often touted this at the opening Convocation (as if sitting down with him individually were a common experience), but the appointment list is for the fall (not spring) semester of the last academic year.

There's more. You get the idea.