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.
Bombardieri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
Academia is such that the defenders of Ward Churchill are vocal while Mr Summers appears to be under heavy attack and there has been little defense on his behalf.
Can we change that dynamic?
Harvard 1060 Holyoke Center 1350 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 tel (617) 495-1585 fax (617) 495-0754
some more links ---
by Ralph R. Reiland,
Professor of Free Enterprise
Years back, I could have told the Board of Overseers at Harvard that Lawrence Summers was a big mouth. I noticed it, and wrote about it, back in 1997 when Summers was Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration.
The issue at the time was the death tax, the 55 percent federal estate tax that represented a major obstacle to the survival of small businesses and family farms when they were being passed from one generation to the next. Its hard to keep the plows going when the government shows up at the funeral and wants half the farm.
Throwing his two cents into the debate, Summers, formerly a Harvard economics professor, declared, When it comes to cutting the estate tax, there is no case other than selfishness.
The response was immediate and furious. Its pure ignorance, said Dan Danner, vice president of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nations largest organization of small business owners. Its pretty horrible to imply that small business people who just want to pass their businesses to their children are greedy.
Asked Pat Buchanan: Who the devil is being greedy here? Who is being selfish? The couple that worked and saved a lifetime, or the politicians who did nothing to create the estate but seize half of it at death? The estate tax is the product of men with the mindset of grave robbers.
And from Rep. John Boehner, chairman of the House Republican Conference at the time: Summers comment captures perfectly the arrogance of the liberal elite who believe that government has some right to redistribute the fruits of a lifes work.
More than arrogant and elitist, Summers statement was dumb, economically, especially coming from someone who taught economics at Harvard. Small businesses create the bulk of the new jobs in the American economy. That was true in 1997 and its true today, and it shouldnt take a PhD in economics to understand that you dont help workers by cutting businesses in half just because someone dies.
This time around, Summers, now the president of Harvard, got in hot water at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference. Asked to speak about the under-representation of women in science, Summers tossed around several hypotheses, including one about the possibility of intrinsic differentials in aptitude between men and women in various fields and endeavors.
Now maybe I havent been sufficiently indoctrinated into political correctness, but in this instance I couldnt see much in Summers remarks that would cause someone to end up on a fainting couch. In a Steeler game, for example, Id say it looks like something intrinsic is going on with all those men on the field and no women, and an under-representation of Orientals. And on the other end, Id say theres something intrinsic about the fact that the overwhelming percentage of murderers and rapists on this planet are men.
Nonetheless, heres how Ruth R. Wisse, the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard, described the scene in a recent Wall Street Journal article: At this point in his (Summers) remarks, an MIT female professor of science quit the room, declaring to the press that she couldnt breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill.
Now I dont want to add to the breathlessness, but I was never in a meeting where a guy stopped breathing because he didnt like a hypothesis.
The MIT professor who quit the room was biologist Nancy Hopkins. She defended her exit in The Harvard Crimson. When he (Summers) came into this conference, we thought he was coming to tell us what Harvard was doing about this issue, she explained, referring to the under-representation issue. But he chose instead to give his personal views, and its not really his field. He wasnt presenting ideas that were up for discussion.
Whats not up for discussion, in short, is whats politically incorrect.
In The Shame of Americas One-Party Campuses, Karl Zinsmeister, the editor of The American Enterprise, reported on faculty political affiliations via voter registration records. At Harvard, only 4 percent of the professors were registered as Republicans or Libertarians. Thats under-representation, more off the mark than the number of women teaching biology --- and more likely based on bias than any innate differentials in aptitude. And thats something else thats not up for discussion.
On campuses, diversity is all an act
By WALTER WILLIAMS
Published Wednesday, September 4, 2002
Youve written a tuition check, carted your son or daughter off to college, given those last-minute admonitions and made those tearful goodbyes. For those thousands of dollars, the anguish of seeing your 17- or 18-year-old pack up and leave home for the first time and entrusting him to some strangers, what are some of the things you might expect? One thing for sure is that your youngster will encounter and be bombarded with diversity newspeak.
"Diversity" is a big buzzword on college and university campuses. Diversity has fogged and claimed the minds of campus administrators so much so that theyve created diversity fiefdoms. Harvard University Medical School has an Office for Diversity and Community Partnership. Brown University has a Diversity Institute. The University of California-Berkeley has a Diversity Committee and a diversity officer. At George Mason University, where I teach, theres a Diversity Advisory Board and an Office for Diversity Programs and Services. At most colleges and universities, theres a diversity or multiculturalism agenda to propagandize students.
According to Merriam Websters dictionary, "diversity" means: diverseness, multifariousness, multiformity, multiplicity and variousness. The opposite of diversity is uniformity or identity. For the bulk of universities and colleges, diversity means race quotas, sex quotas and programs to ensure that representative forms of sexual deviancy become an accepted norm. To ensure this politically correct vision of campus life, theres one form of diversity that cant be tolerated. Thats ideological and political diversity; there must be uniformity and identity.
According to Karl Zinsmeisters article "The Shame of Americas One-Party Campuses" in the September 2002 issue of The American Enterprise, campus political, and hence ideological, diversity is all but absent. Zinsmeister sampled faculty political affiliation obtained from local voter registration records at several universities. He classified faculty who registered as Democratic, Green or Working Families Party as members of the party of the left and those registered as Republicans or Libertarians as members of the party of the right.
The results were: Brown University, 5 percent of faculty were members of the party of the right; at Cornell it was 3 percent; Harvard, 4 percent; Penn State, 17 percent; Stanford University, 11 percent; the University of California-Los Angeles, 6 percent; and at the University of California-Santa Barbara, 1 percent. There are other universities in the survey; however, the pattern is the same - a faculty dominated by leftist ideology. In some departments, such as Womens Studies, African-American Studies, Political Science, Sociology, History and English, the entire faculty is leftist. When it came to the 2000 election, 84 percent of Ivy League faculty voted for Al Gore, 6 percent for Ralph Nader and 9 percent for George Bush. In the general electorate, the vote was split at 48 percent for Gore and Bush and 3 percent for Nader. Zinsmeister concludes that one would find much greater political diversity at a grocery store or on a city bus.
So what does all this mean? It means your son or daughter will be taught that the founders of the United States were racists and sexists, capitalism is a tool used to oppress women and minorities, literature and philosophy written by "dead white men" is a tool of exploitation, one persons vision of reality is just as valid as anothers, one set of cultural values - maybe the Talibans - is just as good as another, poverty is caused by rich people, and America is destroying the planet.
Americans as taxpayers and donors have been far too generous, and carelessly so, with colleges and universities. Its high time we began to demand accountability, not only in the area of ideological diversity, but in academic honesty and excellence as well. In my opinion, there is nothing that opens the closed minds of academic administrators better than sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut.
http://www.equip.org/free/DC630.htm Academia and Christianity
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/17/books/17bradley.html? Summers current
If you're a liberal, you're virtually REQUIRED to believe that women and blacks cannot compete without special assistance (and are thus believed to be inherently "different"); why is this such a scandal?
Maybe we can get both of these guys removed. Wouldn't bother me a bit since both of them are Democrats or worse.
Geez, worse than a Democrat? What's worse than a Democrat?
It is the thought police at work. They are agenda driven.
How can one have science in the absence of willingness to question?
Whatever Ward Churchill is ~ that's gotta' be worse than being a Democrat.
Thanks for that link.
The other problem is in defining sexism. Who is being sexist when you consider women's verbal ability to be of lesser value than men's mathematical ability?
>>a Democratic moderate who in the realm of academia is thus a radical.
A Democratic moderate in academia is branded a far-right-wing conservative. I have an acquaintance who's been there, done that.
Harvard sounds like a great place to entertain exhanges of differing views.
Harvard is engaged in yet another instance of political correctness placing limits on freedom of speech and inquiry in the university -- sounds like a very accurate description of what's happening.
Steps are being taken to assist female engineering students in mastering visualization, but they are being hampered by the application of political correctness with regard to this issue.
If female tech students are to overcome this problem, the admin of our nation's tech schools need to accept the truth and get on with implementing a solution.
Just another example of liberalism hurting people.....
As far as I see, it's the political correctness brigade that's creating all the fear and intimidation here, silencing freedom of thought and inquiry.
Well, of course, it IS an institute of higher learning. They value the free interchange of ideas, the more radical the better. ;-)
As I understand it, Summers said something like this: Women are underrepresented in the sciences and math. That may be because (1) they are side-tracked by childrearing, (2) there are innate differences between the sexes, (3) they are discriminated against, or (4) something else. Whatever it is, we should investigate the cause to address the issue.
The statement of possible causes uses the word OR and ends with ALL OTHER. It is, by definition, true. Moreover, there are respectable findings that male and female brains differ. Also, the standard deviation of male IQs is known to be higher than that of females, leading to more super-bright men and more super-stupid men. The super-bright ones might, conceivably, become professors of science or math.
So why crucify the guy over this innocuous statement?
I think the reason is that Summers is the one highly placed person in higher education who sees the risks that the post-structuralists pose to America's system of education -- our trump card in the post-industrial, knowledge-work economy. Now that they small blood in the water -- even over such a seemingly minor issue -- they'd like to try to take him down before he exposes and halts their treasonous efforts.
They cannot be permitted to succeed or it will be generations before anyone in higher education is willing to tackle them again (by which time the U.S. will have lost its economic advantage -- the implicit objective of the post-structuralists).
Maybe Harvard University can hire Ward Churchill to replace Lawrence Summers. That would make the Harvard faculty happy and allow CU to get rid of someone who is generating negative publicity for them.
According to what I read Summers did suggest this:
"Summers offended feminists last week when he suggested that "innate" differences in men and women may help explain why men dominate math, sciences and engineering."
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.