Karen Owen Powerpoint Presentation
October 8, 2010 by Post Team
Reporters from the major media descended on the campus yesterday after a detailed list of sexual encounters of a Duke student was viral. For some, has drawn attention to the list of questions about social norms revive Duke, and revived concerns about the public perception of the university.
“People have the impression that the Duke is the culture of these people hypersexual, and unfortunately, events like this do not help our case,” said Duke Student Government President Mike Lefevre, a senior.
He said he was disappointed to see the national media as The New York Times and the NBC show “Today” on campus that covers the situation. Lefevre said a New York Times reporter interviewed him Thursday on the list of sex.
“This is not the kind of story that should be getting national attention,” said Lefevre. “It does not reflect well on the university student body, and certainly not well reflected in the national media.”
The 42-slide PowerPoint that has attracted general attention was meant to be shared among friends. In it, Karen Owen, Trinity ’10, vividly describes the sexual performance of the 13 students of Duke in the past, all college athletes and many lacrosse players.
After the PowerPoint presentation Owen sent a few friends, eventually made his way through Duke listservs and on sites like Jezebel, The Huffington Post and CNN. At one point Thursday night, “Karen Powerpoint Owen” was the second most searched term on Google U.S.. “Powerpoint Duque” was tenth.
Clarin, a sports blog, and Jezebel, a blog that covers the major concerns of women, first published PowerPoint presentation last Thursday. The document has been viewed more than 2 million times on sites.
Clarin first published the entire presentation with the names of men, but later removed. Jezebel interviewed Owen, but initially not identified.
“I am heartily sorry,” said Owen Jezebel. “I would never intentionally hurt the people mentioned in it.”
Jezebel later sent emails suggesting that Owen would be offered to an agreement related to his book of PowerPoint.
Owen has not responded to an e-mailed request for comment Thursday night, and a message left on his home phone was not returned. The men mentioned in the PowerPoint could not be reached for comment or declined to speak with a Chronicle reporter.
Duke Sports Information Director Art Chase said, “Duke Athletics has no comment.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said his department has contacted the students mentioned in the PowerPoint presentation for support.
“Personally, I am saddened by the behavior,” he said. “Many of the circumstances referred to therein are still doing really concerned about some of the shortcomings and some of the rules that remain.”
But Moneta and several students said that Duke is far from being the only university where people have sex filled with alcohol.
“I do not find as big of a deal,” said freshman Grace Benson. “Many campuses are very promiscuous. I do not think that [Duke] should be noted.”
Moneta said the PowerPoint should not be linked to earlier representations of the social scene at Duke. However, a Today Show segment aired on Thursday drew parallels between Owen and sordid list items culture highlighted during the Duke lacrosse case.
The reporter, Jeff Rossen, said the Duke lacrosse case, in which several players were charged with rape before being cleared, and called the list a “new sex scandal.”
“In 2007, the charges were dropped, but the damage had been done,” he said on the program.
In the lacrosse case, Duke’s social scene was commonly interpreted as an atmosphere that embraced a cavalier attitude toward sex. Publications such as Rolling Stone described the Duke nightlife connections with images of drunken, foam parties and casual sex.
Michael Schoenfeld, vice president of public affairs and government relations, said he was concerned that coverage of the PowerPoint presentation could revive perceptions of Duke.
“What is concerning about is the possibility that something like this to reinforce stereotypes,” said Schoenfeld. “I do not think long term this will define Duke? The answer is no, of course not.”
Matthew Chase and Joanna Lichter contributed reporting.
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