At Duke University the captains of the school's lacrosse team are saying rape allegations against them are a lie. They apologize for having a party two weeks ago where a woman hired to perform alleges she was raped, but they proclaim their innocence.
Nevertheless, the school announced, it is suspending all games for the rest of the season until the situation is resolved and the authorities have said that members of the team have not been cooperating. The woman working as an exotic dancer alleges that she was raped and beaten by three men at the March 13 party.
Seyward Darby, the editor of Duke University's school paper “The Chronicle” and Rony Camille, assistant editor for “The Campus Echo,” the school paper at North Carolina Central University where the alleged victim is a student joined ‘The Abrams Report’ to discuss how the students at both universities are handling these situations.
To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.
DAN ABRAMS, HOST, ‘THE ABRAMS REPORT’: Let me start with you Seyward. The response from the Duke University administration has been this party was unacceptable. If this happened, it's unacceptable. Are the Duke University students supporting the administration? Are they angry at the administration? How are people reacting?
SEYWARD DARBY, EDITOR OF DUKE UNIV. STUDENT PAPER (via phone): Well, I think that there isn't a hard fast line or united front of student opinion. You certainly have heard on the news and seen pictures of protests of students who are out there saying that the administration isn't doing enough, that they didn't do enough to begin with in informing the community about the alleged incident, but you also have people protesting the protesters and saying that people are innocent until proven guilty, and that at this point, we just have to wait for the legal proceedings to go through, so there's various opinions on this entire matter right now and there's just not a united front.
ABRAMS: Let me ask you, the student, these lacrosse players, I assume that they are going back to classes, et cetera. There were reports that some of them were being harassed, et cetera. True as far as you know?
DARBY: I haven't had any direct reports of any harassment. It's been confirmed that the three players who lived in the house where the alleged incident took place are not there anymore because of the protests. They were taking place in front of the house, but I haven't heard any direct reports about any harassment on campus or anything like that.
ABRAMS: Rony Camille, what is the reaction over at North Carolina Central?
RONY CAMILLE, ASST. EDITOR, “THE CAMPUS ECHO” (via phone): Now the word is getting on to the campus, the news media here in this area has been saying that it's just been an exotic dancer, and basically, as of now, now they're making the connection that the rape occurred and now that the student was an actual N.C. Central student.
ABRAMS: Yes and look, N.C. Central is primarily an African American school, correct?
CAMILLE: Yes, is a historically black college.
ABRAMS: Right. So is there, you know, is there a sense, is there talk on campus about the racial issues?
CAMILLE: I mean, again, the news is getting on the campus and people are actually starting to make the connection between the rape and the student itself. I know the Raleigh “News and Observer” was the only outlet that reported that the student was from Central. So as far as the racial, I don't think that has been brought up yet. Many students have been outraged, but it's you know very limited students.
DARBY: If I could jump if here I just wanted to point out that we have said that she was allegedly a North Carolina Central student and several sources have said to my reporters that this is really the convergence of several issues. Some people that protested today called it the perfect storm, saying that this is a convergence of issues related to race, to class, to Duke-Durham relations and I mean I suppose even to Duke-NCCU relations, so I think that the racial aspect is definitely a part of this.
Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.