With Concern, Patience, Duke Campus Responds to Arrests

The Chronicle Online
Duke University

After news of the arrests of two members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team spread through the media and across campus Tuesday morning, students reacted with a mixed sense of apprehension and anxiety.

Many students who were willing to comment said the arrests are a step in the entire judicial process, but they noted that the public still must wait for a concrete resolution.

“Things are moving forward, and it’s narrowed a bit, so it’s not the entire team under suspicion,” sophomore Reid Cater said. “I guess it’s progress in the case.”

But students also questioned the legal basis for the arrests, saying previous reports did not indicate there was sufficient evidence. “I was surprised when I heard it just because I hadn’t heard she had identified anyone,” junior Lindsey Tighe said.

Some of the information the woman provided seems to conflict with the legal proceedings, some students noted.

“It’s interesting that only two [players] were arrested when she identified three,” sophomore Jenn Tanaka said. “But the only thing we can do is wait and see-none of us have all the information.”

District Attorney Mike Nifong said Tuesday he is anticipating a third indictment in the case.

Students also said news outlets-which have given the rape scandal widespread attention-may be skewing the actual truth of the matter.

“The fact that it was a [sealed] indictment seems a bit odd, especially considering the publicity of the case up to this point,” said Curt Butera, a third-year graduate student in classical studies.

Some students said they were not surprised by the arrests because media attention has been increasingly focused on an expected resolution in recent days.

“I can’t say I’m surprised, from the active seeking to get this whole thing moving,” sophomore Jesse Starkey said.

In addition to criticizing the media, some students also decried the legal handling of the case.

“The accused and the victim are both being subjugated to this war between the lawyers and Mike Nifong,” senior Alex Wilson said. “Getting to the bottom of what really happened is getting lost. It’s like a slander war, almost.”

Many students refused to comment on the situation.

A group of female students, who declined to comment, wore shirts with the word “innocent” painted on them. Many students have also been purchasing and wearing Duke lacrosse apparel to show support for the team.

Most students who were questioned for comment did not consider the arrests synonymous with the players’ guilt.

In general, many expressed the importance of waiting for legal proceedings before passing judgment.

“We just need to await trial and hope people don’t jump to too many conclusions too quickly,” Butera said.