Ned Gardner: Duke hypocrites

March 6, 2014 

Robin Kirk’s Feb. 28 Point of View “A Duke student’s (possibly naive but not dishonorable) choice” concerning a porn star attending Duke University raises a question of potential hypocrisy.

Kirk, co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center, dances around many issues arising from this student’s personal choices and presence on campus. Ultimately, however, Kirk jumps on the stigmatization bandwagon, by noting that one of the student’s porn personae is “Belle Knox” – that’s “Belle Knox” in case anyone owning a personal computer missed it the first time.

While having done her part to more fully out this student to the general public (maybe bus tours of campus can be arranged in hopes of expanding the number of stigmatizing Belle spottings), Kirk enjoys employment with a university founded, supported and heavily endowed by the Duke family fortune amassed from the sale of an addictive and deadly product – cigarettes, lest we forget.

Duke students snickering (or worse) might gain some perspective in acknowledging this history of an institution that they or their parents (much more likely) are paying $60,000 per year. And someone on the Duke Divinity School faculty might assist with identifying a biblical reference about casting the first stone.

Ned Gardner


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