Robert David Johnson (born 1967), also known as KC Johnson, is an American history professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. He played a major role in disseminating the facts about the Duke University lacrosse rape case in 2006-7. In 2007 he co-authored a book, Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustice of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.
Robert David Johnson
November 27, 1967 (age 51)
|Alma mater||Harvard University, and University of Chicago|
|Employer||Brooklyn College and City University of New York|
|Known for||Writings on the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case |
Brooklyn College history department tenure case
Johnson was raised in Leominster, MA, the son of Massachusetts schoolteachers. His father, Robert Johnson, was a star basketball player at Fitchburg State College, leading the nation in scoring at 39.1 points per game in 1964. Johnson's sister Kathleen was the starting point guard for the Columbia University women's basketball team in the early 1990s. Johnson is also an athlete and has run numerous marathons. He currently resides in New York, New York. In 2007-08, he taught at Tel Aviv University in Israel on a Fulbright Scholarship.
Johnson attended Groton School, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. (1988) and Ph.D. (1993) from Harvard University, and his M.A. from the University of Chicago (1989). Johnson taught at Arizona State University and Williams College and served as visiting professor at Harvard (2005) and at Tel Aviv University (2007-8), as Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities. Before earning his master's degree, Johnson worked as a track announcer for several years at Scarborough Downs.
In 2002 and 2003, the denial of tenure to Johnson by the Brooklyn College history department became the subject of widespread media attention.
In an article about the tenure case entitled “The Battle of Brooklyn,” Wall Street Journal columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote that the root of the conflict lay partly in Johnson's “resistance to gender-driven hiring,” which “didn't endear him to the department's small but vociferous faction of political ideologues – a group that the chairman, Phillip Gallagher, had himself once described, in an e-mail to Mr. Johnson, as 'academic terrorists.'” Johnson had also protested a “teach-in” about 9/11, “which was freighted with panelists hostile to any U.S. military response and which offered, Mr. Johnson noted, no supporters of U.S. or Israeli policies.”
Colleagues began to criticize him, some of them arguing that his intense involvement in his work was, in Rabinowitz's words, “a sign of dubious mental health” and at least one of them complaining that “Johnson was asking too much of his students.”
An article in The Harvard Crimson described clashes between Johnson and Gallagher that apparently also precipitated the denial of tenure. When Johnson sat on a search committee that was charged with finding an expert in 20th-century central or eastern European studies, he decided that one of the two women on the short list was unqualified. Another professor indicated, however, according to the Crimson, that “the department had an 'unofficial agenda' to hire a woman for the position.” Later, Gallagher criticized Johnson for admitting students to his classes who had not taken the official prerequisites, even though Gallagher, according to Johnson, had not previously enforced such rules.
When Johnson went up for tenure, he was rejected on grounds of “lack of collegiality.” In response, a group of twenty historians, spearheaded by the chairman of Harvard's history department, Akira Iriye (who had been Johnson's mentor and dissertation adviser), wrote a letter in which they declared that the denial of tenure to Johnson “reflects a ‘culture of mediocrity’ hostile to high academic standards... Introducing a redundant category of collegiality rewards young professors who ‘go along to get along’ rather than expressing independent scholarly judgement.” Such thinking, the professors wrote, “poses a grave threat to academic freedom, since the robust and unfettered exchange of ideas is central to the pursuit of truth.”
“This is the first time in my experience that scholars have gotten together to protest a decision like this,” Iriye told the Harvard Crimson. “I am terribly upset and mystified by it. KC is a very visible scholar and a spectacular teacher.” The Brooklyn College student government, for its part, voted unanimously in support of Johnson, describing the refusal to grant tenure as a “violation of their academic rights”.
The student government also noted that "the college’s handling of the KC Johnson tenure case was described by retired Brooklyn professor and longtime PSC grievance counselor Jerome Sternstein as 'the most corrupted tenure review process I have ever come across'; University of Pennsylvania professor Erin O’Connor as 'an exemplary instance of the sort of petty, internecine corruption that runs rife in academe, where accountability is minimal and the power to destroy careers is correspondingly high'; and Swarthmore College professor Timothy Burke as 'one more arrow in the quiver of academia’s critics, one more revelation of the corruption of the profession as a whole, one more reason to question whether tenure ever serves the purpose for which it is allegedly designed'."
The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article about Johnson's tenure battle entitled “Tenure Madness”, where it is claimed that “more than 500 Brooklyn College students signed a petition supporting Mr. Johnson. They held rallies and marches.” At the History News Network website, Ronald Radosh wrote: “Mr. Johnson represents the best of what CUNY has to offer its students; educated at top universities, he left a college many aspire to teach at to come to CUNY. He found that while his students appreciated and applauded his work and his commitment, the left-wing professoriate now dominant in the academy could not tolerate his insistence on quality standards in hiring, his dismissal of politically correct criteria, and his non-ideological approach to his field.”
The New Republic editorialized that Brooklyn College's tenure criteria, as demonstrated by the Johnson case, “represented a grave threat to Brooklyn College's hope of ever being taken seriously as a scholarly institution.” And Herbert London of the Hudson Institute saw Johnson's tenure case as exemplifying the emergence in American universities of “an orthodoxy of decidedly left wing opinion that intolerantly rejects any other point of view....it is ironic that tenure conceived as a way to insure independent thought free from censure is now employed to force conformity. What else can the 'lack of collegiality' possibly mean?”
Johnson appealed the tenure decision to the chancellor of the City University of New York system, Matthew Goldstein. Goldstein, in turn, appointed a panel of distinguished scholars from other CUNY institutions to examine the case, namely Pamela Sheingorn, Professor of History at Baruch College and Executive Director of the Doctoral Program in Theatre at the Graduate Center; David Reynolds, University Distinguished Professor of English at Baruch College; and Louis Masur, Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at The City College. In accordance with their unanimous recommendation, Goldstein promoted Johnson to a full professorship with tenure. The CUNY board of trustees unanimously supported this decision.
In an editorial, the New York Daily News also applauded the decision, noting that Goldstein "has been striving to upgrade CUNY and its reputation. His actions in the Johnson case are testimony to that, sending the right message: Scholarship and teaching ability come first. And academic freedom is worth fighting for". Johnson later wrote his own account of the tenure battle for the History News Network website.
Johnson had a prominent role chronicling the Duke lacrosse case scandal, exposing the many violations to due process that characterized the case in a blog entitled “Durham in Wonderland”, which he created solely for the purpose. Johnson's Durham in Wonderland contains one of the largest archives of events related to the case. Johnson holds critical views of some of Duke's faculty and staff, known as (Group of 88) and referred to as a “rush-to-judgment mob” who had published an ad condemning players and encouraging protests against the falsely accused, much before investigations had concluded.
One of the accused, Reade Seligmann, thanked Johnson publicly, stating: “I am forever grateful for all of the care, concern, and encouragement I received from my remarkable girlfriend Brooke and her family, the Delbarton community, the town of Essex Fells, KC Johnson, and everyone else who chose to stand up, use their voice and challenge the actions of a rogue district attorney.” The prosecutor on the other hand, Mike Nifong, was disbarred, fined and sentenced to one day in jail.
Charles Piot, a Duke professor of cultural anthropology, criticized Johnson's role in the case, writing that Johnson "used the [case] to demonize faculty and further ideological agendas that are part of a broad-scale rightwing attack on progressive faculty across the nation." Johnson replied to Piot on his blog.
Johnson would go on to join Stuart Taylor, Jr. and cowrite the book Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustice of the Duke Lacrosse Case (ISBN 0-312-36912-3). It was published in September 2007. The New York Times book review referred to the book as a “riveting narrative” that has made a “gripping contribution to the literature of the wrongly accused.” James Earl Coleman, Jr. and Prasad Kasibhatla, Duke professors, criticized Taylor and Johnson for "biased and inaccurate rhetoric". Johnson and Taylor replied to Coleman and Kasibhatla.
Johnson is a registered Democrat. He supported Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and vehemently opposed the candidacy of John Edwards that year. Johnson has condemned the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education for promoting "social justice" as an essential element of teacher training, and for enacting policies which he argues are clearly intended "to screen out potential public school teachers who hold undesirable political beliefs."
Events from the year 1967 in the United States.1968 United States presidential election
The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon, defeated the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Analysts have argued the election of 1968 was a major realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal Coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years.
Incumbent Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson had been the early front-runner for his party's nomination, but he announced his withdrawal from the race after anti–Vietnam War candidate Eugene McCarthy finished second in the New Hampshire primary. McCarthy, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and Vice President Humphrey emerged as the three major candidates in the Democratic primaries until Kennedy was assassinated in June 1968. Humphrey won the presidential nomination at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which saw numerous anti-war protests. Nixon entered the 1968 Republican primaries as the front-runner, and he defeated Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and other candidates at the 1968 Republican National Convention to win his party's nomination. Governor George Wallace of Alabama ran on the American Independent Party ticket, campaigning in favor of racial segregation.
The election year was tumultuous; it was marked by the assassination of Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr., subsequent King assassination riots across the nation, the assassination of Kennedy, and widespread opposition to the Vietnam War across university campuses. Nixon ran on a campaign that promised to restore law and order to the nation's cities and provide new leadership in the Vietnam War. A year later, he would popularize the term "silent majority" to describe those he viewed as being his target voters. He also pursued a "Southern strategy" designed to win conservative Southern white voters who had traditionally supported the Democratic Party. Humphrey promised to continue Johnson's War on Poverty and to support the Civil Rights Movement. Humphrey trailed badly in polls taken in late August but narrowed Nixon's lead after Wallace's candidacy collapsed and Johnson suspended bombing in the Vietnam War.
Nixon won a plurality of the popular vote by a narrow margin, but won by a large margin in the Electoral College, carrying most states outside of the Northeast. Wallace won five states in the Deep South and ran well in some ethnic enclave industrial districts in the North; he is the most recent third party candidate to win a state. This was the first presidential election after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which had led to mass enfranchisement of racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. Nixon's victory marked the start of a period of Republican dominance in presidential elections, as Republicans won seven of the next ten elections.1980 United States Senate election in Alaska
The 1980 United States Senate election in Alaska was held on November 4, 1980. Incumbent Democratic United States Senator Mike Gravel ran for a third term in the United States Senate, but lost in the Democratic primary to Clark Gruening, a former state representative who was the grandson of Ernest Gruening, whom Gravel had defeated twelve years prior in an election for the same seat. Gruening later went on to lose the general election to Republican nominee Frank Murkowski, a banker.
After the loss of Gravel's seat, no Alaska Democrat would win a congressional race again until Mark Begich's narrow, protracted triumph in Alaska's 2008 Senate election.Academic Bill of Rights
The Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR) is a document created and distributed by Students for Academic Freedom (SAF), a public advocacy group spun off from the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, a think tank founded by the conservative writer David Horowitz. The document was created as a foundational part of SAF's mission, to "end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as a disinterested pursuit of knowledge."
The Bill focuses on eight broad-based principles that call for an academic environment where decisions are made irrespective of one's personal political or religious beliefs. The Bill (and its drafting organization) have come under sharp attack, however, for using broad-based egalitarian principles and a self-identified "bipartisan" framework to promote what critics identify as an ideological agenda.Anna Chennault
Anna Chennault, born Chan Sheng Mai later spelled Chen Xiangmei (陳香梅, actual birth year 1923 but reported as June 23, 1925 – March 30, 2018), also known as Anna Chan Chennault or Anna Chen Chennault, was a war correspondent and prominent Republican member of the US China Lobby. She was married to U.S. WWII aviator Claire Chennault.Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College is a college of the City University of New York, located in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City.
Brooklyn College originated in 1930 with the establishment of an extension division of the City College for Teachers. The school then began offering evening classes for first-year male college students in 1917. In 1930 by the New York City Board of Higher Education, the college authorized the combination of the Downtown Brooklyn branches of Hunter College – at that time a women's college – and the City College of New York – a men's college – both of which had been established in 1926. With the merger of these branches, Brooklyn College became the first public coeducational liberal arts college in New York City.
U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school tied for number 83 as a Regional college (North region). The school was ranked in the top ten for value, diversity, and location by Princeton Review in 2003 and in the top fifty for value in 2009.City University of New York
The City University of New York (CUNY ) is the public university system of New York City, and the largest urban university system in the United States. CUNY and the State University of New York (SUNY) are separate and independent university systems, despite the fact that both public institutions receive funding from New York State. CUNY, however, is located in only New York City, while SUNY is located in the entire state, including New York City.
CUNY was founded in 1847 and comprises 25 institutions: eleven senior colleges, seven community colleges, one undergraduate honors college, and seven post-graduate institutions. The University enrolls more than 275,000 students, and counts thirteen Nobel Prize winners and twenty-four MacArthur Fellows among its alumni.Duke lacrosse case
The Duke Lacrosse Case was a widely reported 2006 criminal case in which three members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team were falsely accused of rape. The case evoked varied responses from the media, faculty groups, students, the community, and others. The case's resolution sparked public discussion of racism, sexual violence, media bias, and due process on campuses, and ultimately led to the resignation and disbarment of the lead prosecutor, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.
In March 2006, Crystal Gail Mangum, a black student at North Carolina Central University who worked as a stripper, escort and dancer, accused three white Duke University students – all members of the Duke Blue Devils men's lacrosse team – of raping her. The rape was alleged to have occurred at a party hosted by the lacrosse team, held at the house of two of the team's captains in Durham on March 13, 2006. Durham District Attorney Nifong suggested that the alleged rape was a hate crime.In response to the investigation uncovering team players' emails referring to "killing strippers and skinning them", Duke University suspended the lacrosse team for two games on March 28, 2006. The following week, on April 5, Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler was forced to resign under threat by athletic director Joe Alleva, and Duke president Richard Brodhead canceled the remainder of the 2006 season.On April 11, 2007, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges, declaring the three lacrosse players "innocent" and victims of a "tragic rush to accuse".The initial prosecutor, Mike Nifong, was labeled a "rogue prosecutor" by Cooper, and withdrew from the case in January 2007 after the North Carolina State Bar filed ethics charges against him. In June 2007, Nifong was disbarred for "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation", making him the first prosecutor in North Carolina disbarred for trial conduct. Nifong served one day in jail for lying about sharing DNA tests (criminal contempt); the lab director said it was a misunderstanding and Nifong claimed it was due to weak memory. Mangum maintained her insistence that she was sexually assaulted that night. She faced no charges.Cooper noted several inconsistencies between Mangum's accounts of the evening and Seligmann and Finnerty's alibi evidence. The Durham Police Department also came under fire for violating their own policies by allowing Nifong to act as the de facto head of the investigation; using an unreliable suspect-only photo identification procedure with Mangum; pursuing the case despite vast discrepancies in notes taken by Investigator Benjamin Himan and Sgt. Mark Gottlieb; and distributing a poster presuming the suspects' guilt shortly after the allegations.In 2007, Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans sought unspecified damages and called for new criminal justice reform laws in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Durham.Leominster, Massachusetts
Leominster ( LEM-ən-stər) is a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the second-largest city in Worcester County, with a population of 40,759 at the 2010 census. Leominster is located north of Worcester and west of Boston. Both Route 2 and Route 12 pass through Leominster. Interstate 190, Route 13, and Route 117 all have starting/ending points in Leominster. Leominster is bounded by Fitchburg and Lunenburg to the north, Lancaster to the east, Sterling and Princeton to the south, and Westminster to the west.Paula D. McClain
Paula Denice McClain (born 1950), is a professor of political science, public policy, and African and African American Studies at Duke University and is a widely quoted expert on racism and race relations. Her research focuses primarily on racial minority-group politics and urban politics. She is Co-Director of Duke's Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences, and Director of the American Political Science Association's Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, which is hosted by Duke and funded by the National Science Foundation and Duke.
In 2007, McClain was elected chair of Duke's Academic Council. In 2012, she was appointed Dean of the Graduate School, becoming the first African-American dean of a school at Duke.Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education
The Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education is an annual prize given by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni to an individual who has “made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of liberal arts education, core curricula, and the teaching of Western civilization and American history.” The award is named for the late public servant, publisher, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Philip Merrill.
Merrill was a trustee of Cornell University, the University of Maryland Foundation, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and the Aspen Institute, as well as a member of the National Council of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.Presumption of guilt
Presumption of guilt, in Latin, ei incumbit probatio qui negat, non qui dicit (the burden of proof is on the one who denies, not on one who declares), is the principle that one is considered guilty unless proven innocent. Generally, this is an argument from ignorance, a philosophical concept in which a thing is assumed to be true because not proved false.Reactions to the Duke lacrosse case
The 2006 Duke University lacrosse case resulted in a great deal of coverage in the local and national media as well as a widespread community response at Duke and in the Durham, North Carolina area.Stephen Miller (political advisor)
Stephen Miller (born August 23, 1985) is an American far-right political activist who serves as a senior advisor for policy for President Donald Trump. He was previously the communications director for then-Senator Jeff Sessions. He was also a press secretary for Republican representatives Michele Bachmann and John Shadegg.
As a speechwriter for Trump, Miller helped write Trump's inaugural address. He has been a key adviser since the early days of Trump's presidency. An immigration hardliner, Miller was a chief architect of Trump's travel ban, the administration's reduction of refugees accepted to the United States, and Trump's policy of separating migrant children from their parents. On February 12, 2017, he appeared to question the power of the judiciary to limit the executive's role in setting immigration policy.As a White House spokesman, Miller has on multiple occasions made false and unsubstantiated claims regarding widespread electoral fraud.Stuart Taylor Jr.
Stuart Taylor Jr. is an American journalist and author. He also served as a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and practices law occasionally. He was a reporter for the Baltimore Sun from 1971-1974; The New York Times from 1980-1988, covering legal affairs and then the Supreme Court; wrote commentaries and long features for The American Lawyer, Legal Times and their affiliates from 1989-1997, and for National Journal and Newsweek from 1998 through 2010; and has written on a freelance basis for numerous publications both before and since 2010. He has also coauthored two books and he and a coauthor will soon publish a third.The New York Times
The New York Times (sometimes abbreviated as the NYT and NYTimes) is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.
The paper is owned by The New York Times Company, which is publicly traded and is controlled by the Sulzberger family through a dual-class share structure. It has been owned by the family since 1896; A.G. Sulzberger, the paper's publisher, and his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the company's chairman, are the fourth and fifth generation of the family to helm the paper.Nicknamed "The Gray Lady", the Times has long been regarded within the industry as a national "newspaper of record". The paper's motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print", appears in the upper left-hand corner of the front page.
Since the mid-1970s, The New York Times has greatly expanded its layout and organization, adding special weekly sections on various topics supplementing the regular news, editorials, sports, and features. Since 2008, the Times has been organized into the following sections: News, Editorials/Opinions-Columns/Op-Ed, New York (metropolitan), Business, Sports of The Times, Arts, Science, Styles, Home, Travel, and other features. On Sunday, the Times is supplemented by the Sunday Review (formerly the Week in Review), The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine and T: The New York Times Style Magazine. The Times stayed with the broadsheet full-page set-up and an eight-column format for several years after most papers switched to six, and was one of the last newspapers to adopt color photography, especially on the front page.