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

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

Same barking dog, same bite. New address.

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

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



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time will tell.

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


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

More damning information about Tuesday's fiasco.

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


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

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

Search terms Anil Potti Duke University

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

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

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

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

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

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

The administrators are:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading and supporting FC.

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

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

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

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

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

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✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Developing. Post after 2 AM

Kunshan is now a four-letter word avoided by Administrators

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading FC.


Big lag in tornado alert. Administrators duck FC questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of these methods is an e-mail blast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading FC and loving Duke!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superb editorial in Chronicle takes aim at Brodhead Administration

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masked gunmen holds up three grad students just off West Campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds like a good project for student government.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess what, no one announced this either.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Communist Party stirring for new crackdown on internet in China.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmmm we used to be Blue and White

From WRAL TV's website

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

I am not sure what I think of this!!


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

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

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

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

The decisions involve student dining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

✔ ✔ There are many other examples too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tailgate resurrected.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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