Duke Provost Defines 'Condition of Our Era': Too Much Free Speech--Or, Uh, Too Much Bad Free Speech; Meanwhile, Another Lax Lawsuit!

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The lacrosse controversy that began last spring got very ugly--with "merciless, distorted," even racist attacks in E-mails and blogs--because of the "condition of our era," Duke Provost Peter Lange said yesterday in a speech. Blogs and E-mails have let faculty and untenured outsiders alike take liberties with their liberties, saying mean things rather than smart, thoughtful ones. The racist speech -- which he said continues through today, as the lacrosse case sputters into more strange territory -- is definitely not good. But preventing students and faculty from voicing their opinions is just as bad. The provost's answer: self-restraint. "Regulatory measures -- other than individual, self-regulatory ones -- are to be excluded."

Well, unless a judge forces you. ... Last week, a member of the 2006 lacrosse team accused his professor of discrimination, filing a lawsuit that asks for $60,000 in damages and a grade change on his transcript from D to P (for passing), the Duke Chronicle reports. The player, who has since graduated, said his political science professor lowered his grade after the team came under media and legal fire.