Tuesday, March 15, 2005

High Noon For Harvard's Lawrence Summers

Ever since January, Harvard's President Lawrence H. Summers has been attempting to fend-off criticism from a variety of sources that was caused by some controversial remarks that he made about women and science. A couple of weeks after the firestorm erupted, Summers published a letter of explanation addressed to Harvard's faculty. All of Summers' efforts have failed to dampen the criticism. In the latest wrinkle to this never-ending story of intrigue and academic freedom gone awry, President Summers has lost a faculty vote of "no confidence:"

Harvard University's largest faculty group approved a no-confidence motion against President Lawrence H. Summers following his comments that women may lack the aptitude to excel in science and engineering.

The vote by the 690-member Faculty of Arts and Sciences was 218 in favor and 185 against, with 18 abstentions, said J. Lorand Matory, a professor of anthropology and African American studies who wrote the proposal.

"There is no noble alternative to his resignation,'' Matory said in an interview following the faculty meeting today. "He should resign as president of Harvard University.''

The faculty also supported a second motion by Government and Sociology Professor Theda Skocpol that expressed regret for Summers' management missteps and praised his pledge to try to improve relations with the staff.

With faculty members now openly calling for Summers' resignation, we expect that pressure will grow for him to move on.
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