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Prosecutors Drop Duke Rape Counts

The dismissal was welcomed by officials at Duke University, which has seen applications for early admission drop by nearly 20 percent this fall, the Raleigh News & Observer has reported. The university has launched an expensive campaign to restore its image.

A study conducted at Brodhead's direction raised questions about an overzealous party culture on campus. Others criticized the university for fostering a sense of privilege and racial insensitivity.

Meanwhile, a group of Duke alumni and supporters castigated university officials for not defending the lacrosse players more fervently. Evans has graduated from Duke, but Finnerty and Seligmann are still underclassmen, though they have been placed on "administrative leave" and are allowed to take courses at other schools.

Brodhead called on Nifong to clear up the remaining questions in the case.

"Given the certainty with which the district attorney made his many public statements regarding the rape allegation, his decision today to drop that charge must call into question the validity of the remaining charges," Brodhead said in a statement. "Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter."

The case is due back in court Feb. 5.

Whoriskey reported from Miami, Adcock from Raleigh, N.C. Staff writers Liz Clarke in Pendleton, N.C., and Lori Aratani and William Wan in Washington and staff researcher Meg Smith in Washington contributed to this report.

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