Skip to comments.Summers given a scolding, faculty say
Posted on 02/16/2005 5:49:38 PM PST by dervish
Harvard University professors confronted president Lawrence H. Summers at a tense meeting yesterday, with several questioning whether he could continue to effectively lead the university after his remarks on women in science brought into public view simmering discontent with his presidency, according to several faculty members who attended the session.
The dominant theme of the meeting was that Summers's comments on women were a last straw for those faculty members who contend that he has seized too much power, insulted professors and ignored their opinions, and embarrassed Harvard with repeated gaffes ranging from his public spat with prominent African-American studies professor Cornel West to the current furor over women.
The faculty unanimously agreed to schedule a special meeting next Tuesday to continue the discussion, an extremely rare move.
''There are voices among the faculty at Harvard and elsewhere in this nation that, drawing on conservative biases and without first-hand knowledge of what you actually said at the NBER meeting, argue that Harvard is engaged in yet another instance of political correctness placing limits on freedom of speech and inquiry in the university," said Barbara Grosz, chair of the task force on women in science and engineering.
Professor Theda Skocpol turned around Summers's 2002 statement on anti-Semitism that professors calling for divestment from Israel were taking actions that were ''anti-Semitic in their effect, if not their intent."
Ruth Wisse, professor of Yiddish literature, said she told the faculty yesterday that the reaction to Summers's remarks on women ''was the closest thing to a Soviet show trial that we are likely to see in our lifetimes." Economist Richard Freeman also spoke in defense of Summers's comments at the NBER conference, which Freeman organized.
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Derv, could you take me off your ping list? I'm just on way too many.
If I had to live in a place like Cambridge, I'd shoot myself.