Wednesday, February 22, 2006

When Will People Learn?

I will say it again, appeasement (and rewarding negative behavior) doesn't work--it doesn't work in the case of paying off welfare recipients for violent behavior nor does it work for paying off blubbering feminists at Harvard. Sorry to see you go, Mr. Summers, but I would personally be thrilled to see a guy like this replace you:

Summers unfortunately gave in to the feminist multiculturalists. He apologized and gave them $50 million. Such a Neville Chamberlain-like approach doomed his presidency. Once the radicals knew he could be intimidated he could never again do anything they opposed. My hope is that you have fired Summers so as to put someone in place who can and will take on the radicals now in control of your Arts and Science Faculty. I am such a person.

If made president of Harvard I would spend the $50 million Summers pledged to the feminists to instead set up a center to study genetic differences in intelligence between men and women. The center would prove that Harvard, once again, is committed to free inquiry.

...If you allow the feminist multiculturalists to win this battle then intellectual diversity in higher education will be imperiled. Consider the fate of a graduate student or untenured professor who holds "politically incorrect" views. If the president of Harvard can be fired for expressing such views, surely lesser beings in the academic world will fell compelled to self-censor or leave academia. The best hope for academic freedom is that you don't let the radical feminists win, and choose someone they will despise even more than Larry Summers.

Wouldn't Summers have been better off standing up boldly to the dyspeptic "I'm going to be sick" feminists in his audience then hightailing it out of Harvard in shame? Afterall, women with such sick stomachs don't belong in the scientific world. What will they do if their research is rejected--throw up on the reviewers? I would rather have gone out with my dignity intact and knowing that my actions served as a proper role model to future generations than to lamely leave with my tail between my legs.


Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Regrettably I have seen this mode of reasoning before: Distort and oversimplify the news so that it can confirm your sense of outrage. Or let other people distort and oversimplify the news for you.

It would be one thing if it were really true that Summers was fired only because he made one politically incorrect remark about women. But it's not true. Summers will have to quit not because he appeased someone, but because he didn't act like he ever wanted to appease anyone. So it's not that appeasement doesn't work, it's that instinctive belligerence doesn't work. At least not for a university president. Belligerence papered over with reluctant appeasement also doesn't work.

The last straw for the Harvard faculty was that Summers fired William Kirby. He had just fired or antagonized one too many people. Kirby himself had fired Dean Harry Lewis, supposedly carrying out Summers' decision. And none of this was over feminism. The issue with Kirby was the reform of the Core Curriculum, which is the shared coursees for all majors at Harvard.

Being a university president is not like being a construction site foreman, where you can just dictate orders and fire people at will for insubordination.

3:48 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently you've never worked at a properly run construction site.

What makes you think it's so easy?

Regardless, there are undoubtedly more issues at play here, but it would be hard to deny that there hasn't been a virtually incessant pounding on this one gaff that he made. The only disagreement would be whether his apology was the gaff, or the original statement.

4:17 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

datarat: You have a good point. Maybe even if you are a construction foreman, then you still can't dictate and fire at will.

It is true that there has been a lot of discussion about Summers' opinion about the genetic aptitude of women to understand science. But Harvard there was a lot of discussion about other sides of it as well. In particular, that even as Summers floated his own controversial opinions, he didn't want controversy from anyone else.

There is a discussion of the Summers approach here.
I happen to know two of the people mentioned in this page, Harry Lewis and Jeff Wolcowitz. I worked for Harry Lewis on a student programming project. Jeff Wolcowitz advised undergraduates in various ways when I was a student there. I had a positive impression of both of them, not perfect but certainly positive. They didn't seem like the sort of people who would ever get fired.

4:36 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Loquitur Veritatem said...

It's true (since the advent of the EEOC) that almost no one can "dictate orders and fire people at will for insubordination." But there's absolutely nothing wrong with "dictating" orders when you're in charge, especially if you know what you're doing and you're dealing with a bunch of academic dunderheads. As for firing people "at will for insubordination," that's precisely what a good manager should do, unless he wants chaos. But the faculty of Harvard evidently doesn't seem to grasp the idea that the job of the president is to preside. And so, Summers -- being a brilliant, hard-nosed, and (probably) wealthy man -- has decided that he no longer needs the aggravation of dealing with the kind of whiners who seem to populate faculties these days. Harvard will find a pliant successor to Summers, undoubtedly someone whose absolute political correctness will ensure that Harvard becomes increasingly irrelevant to and isolated from the real world.

5:05 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger gs said...

"Sorry to see you go, Mr. Summers, but I would personally be thrilled to see a guy like this replace you..."

Tsk, Helen. Isn't it obvious that "it's time for" Harvard's first woman president?

After the foregoing snark, let me add that, to this nonHarvardian, the dean of their law school seems qualified for the job. And Meg Whitman would be a brilliant but risky choice--she hasn't worked in academe--if she could be lured from eBay.

5:26 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few quotes from the February fourteenth New York Times:

“Some of the president’s supporters said his critics were now emboldened precisely because he sought accommodation last spring.

‘I think they feel that he is more and more vulnerable, because when he was attacked, he did not defend himself,’ said Ruth R. Wisse, a professor of Yiddish and comparative literature.”

“Several supporters said the attacks on Mr. Summers had their roots in political differences.

‘These people are mostly the feminist left and its sympathizers,’ Harvey Mansfield, a professor of government, said of the president’s detractors. ‘They fear that affirmative action will be abolished or diminished. They want more diversity, which means, paradoxically, more people like themselves. They want to run the university, and I think that Larry Summers wants to take it in a different direction.’”

He was appeasing his political enemies, and it didn’t pay off.

7:31 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Thomas: If Summers decided that he didn't need the aggravation, so much the better for him. The fact is that he wasn't accomplishing much as president of Harvard. Running a university requires mutual trust, which Summers undermined in both big and small ways.

Is Harvard irrelevant to the real world? Not by a long shot. Bush is a Harvard MBA; Ben Bernanke is a Harvard graduate John Roberts is a Harvard graduate and a Harvard JD. Frankly I think that Harvard credentials can be overrated, but they seem to mean a lot in high places. I don't think that that will change any time soon.

7:42 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Jephonol: Just because Harvey Mansfield says it, that doesn't make it so. There is no question that Summers' opinion about women in science was provocative and didn't help him do his job. After all, he introduced his comment by saying that he wanted to be provocative. But it wasn't the only source of aggravation with Summers. Mansfield endorses the conventional conservative spin on this story, but it says as much that Harvard has faculty like Mansfield in the first place.

And Summers for that matter. After all, Summers hasn't resigned from the Harvard faculty, only as president. He can express his opinions all day and keep his tenure. And Mansfield hasn't resigned either. The arrangement that some people seem to want is a Harvard president who can tell the faculty what to do even though they hate him.

7:56 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose that a person who attended Harvard for a few years might know a few things about the background of the Summers case.

Still, I am reminded of the Condi Rice debate on this site a while back. In that case, folks who actually attended Stanford during the controversy were not thought to have the whole story.

Perhaps both arguments are true.

But I do tend to trust the opinion of someone who has spent over 40 years at Harvard, Alan Dershowitz. He certainly does not toe any "right wing" line...other than his defense of Israel.

Still, I think that folks might be interested in what Dershowitz has to say about this. Since he (a) has been at Harvard much longer than anyone posting to this blog (I'll bet, anyway) and (b) has been a faculty member all of that time, I suspect his point of view has merit.

Here is a pointer:

I think that there is merit in Dr. Helen's argument, and Dershowitz tends to back that up. Feel free to disagree, but remember that he is *there* and we are not.

Grist for the mill, folks.

8:25 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Summers's central mistake was that he didn't decide early to stand on principle, defend his sex remarks and dare Harvard to fire him if they couldn't tolerate open debate. In a position like his you are lost if you are seen to value your job over your principles. He had little to lose and much to gain by standing firm, yet for some inexplicable reason he just couldn't do it.

8:26 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that the link came through. Here it is, again:

Also found at:

Worth your time if you are interested in this subject.

8:27 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

It's not completely honest to say Summers fired Kirby although there was pressure from Summers to resign.

Such things are not uncommon in academia. The new University of Cincinnati president, Nancy Zimpher, told popular basketball coach, Bob Huggins, he could resign or be fired. (She had some justification.) She also removed 4 deans: "She appointed law school dean Louis Bilionis, whose ties to the American Civil Liberties Union were seen as conflicting with this area's conservative nature. She selected general counsel Monica Rimai, an out-of-towner who worked with Zimpher at UWM. Much, too, has been made about the removal of four deans, in the colleges of engineering, law, business and medicine."

Harvard students think Summers should stay. Summers also had other support. It appears the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) was the only group with which Summers had difficulty.

Advice I once read: Never apoligize, it's a sign of weakness. I still make apologies where appropriate and I believe the other person will accept it properly but otherwise, I apologize a lot less often than I used to.

9:07 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The links to The Crimson were great. Thanks.


I love the conclusion to the WaPo piece you referenced:

“The Summers storm might have been easy to forecast. But it says less, in the end, about the Harvard president than it does about the unwillingness of the modern academy to tolerate the kind of freewheeling inquiry that academics and intellectuals above all ought to prize rather than revile.”

It dovetails nicely with the NY Times quote from Mansfield:

“‘These people are mostly the feminist left and its sympathizers,’ Harvey Mansfield, a professor of government, said of the president’s detractors. ‘They fear that affirmative action will be abolished or diminished. They want more diversity, which means, paradoxically, more people like themselves. They want to run the university, and I think that Larry Summers wants to take it in a different direction.’”

As well as with what Alan Dershowitz had to say in The Crimsom:

“‘I think this is an academic coup d’etat engineered by the hard left and stimulated by Summers’ politically-incorrect statements, but then joined by an assortment of others—including some who had been dismissed and disempowered by Summers, some who didn’t like his style, and a few well-intentioned people who didn’t understand the damage they were doing to the University,’ Dershowitz said yesterday.”

The pressure brought to bear on Summers was, as Mansfield suggested, an attempt to stifle academic freedom and push a political agenda. His apologies fell on deaf ears, as did his unwarranted gesture of largess, because those efforts didn’t suit the political interests of his opponents. Lawrence Summers could have saved face, money, and possibly his presidency if he had stood his ground and stayed true to the ideal of academic freedom.

11:16 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

I have to credit dadvocate for linking to a Harvard Crimson poll, because that poll and others rather shed light on the matter.

The Crimson also polled the FAS faculty, the faculty group that supposedly convinced Summers to resign, in February 2005. At the time, they didn't think that he should resign either; they were 55% against to 32% in favor. On the other hand, his approval was 40% yes to 52% no. But then, that's no worse than Bush's approval ratings right now. Is Bush considering resigning over 40% approval ratings?

Note that a big fraction of the faculty that thought that Summers was doing a bad job nonetheless didn't want him to resign. They were mature enough to give him another chance. These faculty are hardly wild wolves, nor did they seem that way when I was there.

So who did make Summers resign? Even though both Dershowitz and Mansfield say that it was the feminists, they haven't explained which feminists, nor how they pulled it off. It certainly wasn't Nancy Hopkins, because she is a professor at MIT, not Harvard.

Did anyone make Summers resign? Maybe the real act of appeasement and cowardice was the resignation itself, and not any of his tokens of apology. Or maybe it was because he sacked his own people, like William Kirby. It's one thing to come in and clean house; it's another to fire people that you brought in yourself. That really starts to look like scapegoating.

Certainly no one should think that Harvard students are conservative or even centrist. That was not my experience at all when I was there. Most of the students were disgusted with President Reagan and they also wanted Harvard to divest from South Africa. I didn't support divestiture; I was far to the right of the student average on that question. My recollection is consistent with another Crimson poll, this one showing 73% support for John Kerry, to 19% for Bush, the week before the election. The students may have been against resignation by 3 to 1, but they were for Kerry over Bush by an even greater margin.

The faculty were more reserved about politics than the students. I took at least two courses from openly conservative faculty, Richard Pipes and David Landes. Not many more than that were openly leftist or liberal. I simply didn't know the political views of most of them.

11:44 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

I can also say this about Dershowitz's comments about the "dismissed and disempowered". Harry Lewis and Jeff Wolcowitz were and surely still are humble bureaucrats. They genuinely want ordinary and not-so-ordinary things to work well at Harvard. I never met Alan Dershowitz, but he seems like a fractious celebrity professor who chases money and cameras. Does Dershowitz do administrative work for Harvard? His criticism here seems to say more about him than its targets (who he also doesn't name).

12:07 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dershowitz does name his targets in his interview with Hugh Hewitt (

I find the idea that Summers shouldn't have fired his own people interesting. George W. Bush appears to agree with that philosophy, to his and our detriment.

9:36 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all comes down to personal prejudices, friends.

Dr. Kuperberg describes people he likes as "humble bureaucrats" (an oxymoron in my experiences with academia, incidentally)...and people he doesn't like (or with whom he disagrees, at least) as "fractious" or attacks them for not having experience with administration (as if he himself does). And to have those prejudices is just fine. But they are prejudices.

None of us were there. We know what the student polls stated---and since they pay tuition, their opinions ought to be very important. We know what the faculty outside that one area thought.

It seems clear to me that PC had a whole lot to do with this issue.

I'm sure Summers will do just fine. Harvard on the other hand, will likely be learning that appeasement of extremism does not reduce such extremism.

Time will tell whether that is a good or a bad thing for the students.

10:36 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I read the transcript with Dershowitz. Other folks can read it, if they like, at:

There was a lot of awful stuff taking place there regarding Summers. Of course, folks can claim that Dershowitz is a lying celebrity seeking non-administrator.

But I don't think so.

10:47 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Thankfully radioblogger had a transcript of the Dershowitz podcast. Saves time.

The only opponent of Larry Summers that Alan Dershowitz names in the interview is Randy Matory. No examples of the "dismissed and disgruntled" who opportunistically turned against Summers. No examples of faculty in computer science who are stepping beyond their expertise. Dershowitz only named one convenient campus radical in a very political field of study, as political as what Dershowitz studies. It does not explain why Summers had to resign. I am skeptical that Dershowitz has a real explanation. I am not even sure that Summers really did have to resign.

Dershowitz did name Noam Chomsky, but he is a professor at MIT and not Harvard, just like Nancy Hopkins.

I suppose that I overstated the point about the executive firing his own people. It all depends on who you fire and with what explanation. Bush is perfectly happy to fire people for disloyalty. For example he fired Paul O'Neill for predicting that the war in Iraq would cost $200 billion. (As it turns out, O'Neill low-balled it.) He doesn't seem very eager to fire incompetent loyalists. Michael Brown is the only example that comes to mind.

11:07 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a trollish post, actually. Note the bait and switch and move away from the Summers controversy.

The point is, again, that we KNOW what the students and the faculty from other divisions thought.

It would be nice to stay on point.

11:16 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FAS voted to pass a resolution of no confidence last March, but they were 55% against his resignation to 32% in favor? In spite of the warm sentiments the FAS represented in the poll, they were also the fiercest critics of Summers. The Crimson describes his interactions with FAS as “fever-pitched, and professor of Business Administration Stephen Bradley makes the observation: “The FAS acted unilaterally and the nine professional schools were eliminated from any active discussion...” Summers acknowledged a “clear sense of hostility from the FAS.

Of course they didn’t want him to resign; they had his back against the wall with the overblown media attention given to the gender issues topic from the 2005 academic conference. He was apologetic and he was making concessions — he had become a cash-cow for his opponents. If he had remained and FAS had won the no confidence vote they would given faculty powers diminishing the authority of the presidency.

11:17 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is something we all learned (or most of us, anyway) in grade school: paying bullies your lunch money does not make them go away.

The become contemptuous of you, and increase their demands. It's true on the schoolyard. It's true on a college campus. And it is true on the world stage.

11:34 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...


First, that's right, a vote of no confidence may or may not come with a request to resign. It depends on the text of the ballot. The vote can mean, "we have no confidence in you, but you will still have time to prove us wrong."

Second, the vote of no confidence was self-selected. It was an at-meeting vote of 421 faculty. They were a little surprised that it passed. The Crimson poll was also self-selected to some extent, but it polled a larger base of faculty. If the Crimson could have reached all of the FAS faculty, then the poll might have been even less anti-Summers.

Third, yes, if 32% of the FAS wants you to resign, that is a lot of hostility. The question is whether it is enough that you have to resign. Summers said openly that he wanted to be provocative. He succeeded. One way or another, he couldn't stand the heat of his own cooking.

One moral is that there is more to being a university president than academic freedom. Summers still has tenure at Harvard, and from that position he can say whatever he wants to about women in science. It doesn't meet Dershowitz's standard of staying within one's expertise, but Dershowitz's standard is not my standard. Leadership positions are a little different. It's just like the Trent Lott case really. Trent Lott can say whatever he wants to about Strom Thurmond, because it's a free country. But he may or may not deserve to be Senate Majority Leader.

I also have to wonder at Hugh Hewitt's questions as well as Alan Dershowitz's answers in that interview. Hewitt said, "I've laughed for years as I've cast my ballots, because everyone is cookie cutter left and hard-left on the corporation." Gee, is it really everyone? The members of Harvard Corporation are listed here. Who knew that the president of Capital Research and Management Company is "cookie-cutter left"? The chairman of the board of Corning too. And a director of Citigroup; although since he worked for Clinton, that may be a clear case of hard leftism. It looks like Wall Street should do some background checks, if Commies have infiltrated the rolodexes.

The other theory is that the Corporation wanted someone as provocative as Summers — after all, they approved him — but their experiment with stirring the pot failed.

11:59 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I am starting to think that, with all due respect (and I mean that) Dr. Kuperberg is sufficiently upset by all this not to be reading carefully. Let's look at the Dershowitz transcript:

"You see, there I disagree with you, because I think most of the radical hard-left faculty are white. Many of them are Jewish people like Noam Chomsky and others. Many of them, you know, quite brilliant. What they do is they're brilliant in one area, say, linguistics or computer sciences or whatever, and then they think they are know-it-alls in every other area. But you know, and let me give you another...the black faculty at Harvard was very divided. Skip Gates, who is the chairman of the Afro-American studies department, was a strong supporter of Larry Summers. So I don't think this is an issue of race or affirmative action. I think it's an issue of ideology."

Clearly Dershowitz was using Chomsky's name as an example of an extremist far Left point of view---specifically of academics in one area who somehow think that their original expertise bleeds over into public policy or politics in general.

As for "naming names," Dershowitz *is* naming supporters of Summers who were never consulted. And so far as Matory being "one voice" in fact he was the fellow who was spokesperson for the various resolutions against Summers. Far from one person.

Dershowitz considers himself to be "moderate left" in his leanings, but most of us find him to be a "hard left" kind of guy. But he feels (and I am betting he is correct) that among Harvard's FAS, he would be considered to be a "hard right" person.

I mean, look at the crazy stuff that Matory is on record saying, according to Dershowitz (I am looking for things in print now)! If that wasn't a litmus test, I don't know what is.

In the final analysis, there were things that were bad about Summers, like the whole Shleifer business (in Time this week, apparently). But to deny that there was a PC and quite personal element to all of this is...ah....intellectually not honest.

Again, how do we best serve students? Do faculty know best? Administrators? Trustees? All of these things CAN be true, if the bodies in question do not allow their personal or political prejudices to intrude.

And that ain't bloody likely.

Academia is under greater scrutiny now, in part because of the weird political nonsense going on, Folks like Dr. Kuperberg state that politics is not involved in academic decisions, but then he has tenure and in addition isn't openly and publicly taking non-PC positions on campus.

It reminds me of what my father always told me: clean your own room, or he would do it for me (and not in a way I would like). We academics have to "clean our rooms" to keep government or special interest groups out. The first step is to admit the problem.

Larry Summers was attacked for making a politically unpopular statement. As I say, you can bring up other issues, but this is at the core of it.

Dershowitz has it right. What happens next is important.

12:03 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

I never said that the Summers fiasco wasn't political. It's all too political. It's just dripping with politics. All that I said was that it is not as simple as feminists bringing down Summers in response to appeasement.

Even Randy Matory is not primarily a feminist, although undoubtedly he is feminist also. He is a campus radical, but his career interest is race relations. If even the chair of Randy Matory's department supports Summers, then Randy Matory by himself can't bring down Larry Summers. There have to be many more than that, but Alan Dershowitz doesn't explain who they are.

I can see for myself that Dershowitz named people who agree with him. The part that would take courage would be for Dershowitz to badmouth people by name. He says that Summers was brought down by the "dismissed", among others, but if he actually named the people who Summers dismissed, he might well be insulting good people.

How do "we" best serve students? I do not know what is meant by "we". A university president serves students through the faculty. At Harvard, the faculty who teach the undergraduates are the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. If Summers can't keep their confidence, then he isn't serving undergraduate students at all.

The students don't see the chain of authority that connects the university president to them. When I was there, I had no idea what Derek Bok (then the president) said to Henry Rosovsky (then the dean of FAS), or what Rosovsky said to the departments. All I knew of Bok was his public speeches. I am sure that Summmers gave fine public speeches and that the students found him charismatic. But after that, he also has to run the university.

12:35 PM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg writes:
"The arrangement that some people seem to want is a Harvard president who can tell the faculty what to do even though they hate him."

Consider the source. Greg is a faculty member of a university. He has a vested interest in the balance of power between faculty and administration. Greg, while I certainly don't fault you for coming down on the side of your self interest, it's interesting to note that in the private sector, where results count, corporations are anything but employee democracies. Do you ever wonder why college professors are often seen as preening pampered prima donnas? Very few of the people you are addressing would ever imagine having a vote of confidence regarding their employer's CEO.

While there is something to be said for faculty participation in university governance, it can also be characterized, in the words of Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, one of the best known university presidents, as "letting the inmates run the asylum."

12:38 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Anonymous as 12:03: Excellent post. And my gut tells me Harvard isn't going to clean its room.

12:42 PM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I think that going after Matory---read up on the fellow, friends---takes plenty of guts. Remember, when you attack an "ethnocrat" for any reason, you are labeled a racist. This occurs whether or not your attack had anything at all to do with race.

Dr. Kuperberg simply baits and switches as usual---when Dershowitz attacks one person, why, that isn't enough to suit him. Sigh.

Again, Matory was the ringleader of the anti-Summers movement for the past couple of years. What Dershowiz said took guts. Watch what happens next: Dershowitz will be labeled a Zionist toadie or something similar. After all, he let *Hugh Hewitt* interview him!

1:08 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Denis said...

Why is it that so many American men are pussies?

"Summers will have to quit not because he appeased someone, but because he didn't act like he ever wanted to appease anyone."

Now that is the most pussified reasoning on this board.

Men in American are more sensitive than girls. They are a joke to the world.

4:46 PM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another report from the Front of the PC War in Cambridge, from another professor at Harvard. Well worth reading, folks.

Oh, I am sure that Dr. Kuperberg will sneer at this report, and its publication in the uber-evil Wall Street Journal. He'll respond that it is only a smattering of professors that respond in this fashion, and so on.

But I would remind readers that Dr. Wisse was there, and none of us---including Dr. Kuperberg---were present at Harvard during the crucial times. The student polls are clear. The non-FAS polls are clear, as well.

At some point, we must all admit the role of PC in all this, and ask what academics must do to improve the situation.

"Freedom of expression," indeed!

8:30 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Bill Dalasio said...

Actually, I'm going to take a little bit of a contrarian position here. I think Summers shortcoming was insufficient appeasment. One of the biggest complaints of the FAS was Summers' moves to centralize various aspects of the university administration. When the FAS first started raising a stink about this, Summers should have given them the appeasement they so richly deserve. Specifically:
"I understand and respect your demands for independence on the part of the individual colleges. So, as a show of good faith, I'm going to grant independence to each of the colleges on perhaps the most important matter imaginable - budget. From here on out, each of the schools will be self-financing. Of course, the loss of subsidy from the Schools of Law, Business, and Medicine are going to hurt the College of Arts & Sciences, but that's a small price for institutional independence.

11:28 AM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger politikalpressure said...

I assume that he will be replaced by the most politically-correct, liberal despot they can find.
Is there any word on who might replace him?

10:56 PM, February 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear dr. helen,

why are you endorsing for the presidency of harvard sumwun hoo kannot even spell the name of mohamMed properly.

if you is been to a reel skool, i's to apologizate for effer douting yoo.

yoor fan ann frenn


2:44 AM, February 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that anonymous poster at 2:44 was refreshing.

I just wanted folks to read a great essay by Harvey Silverglate. It is what he feels Summers ought to have said to his detractors. It's worth your time, I think...

6:30 PM, February 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You’ll all have to pardon me. In my 11:17 AM post, I made the statement, “If he had remained and FAS had won the no confidence vote they would have given faculty powers diminishing the authority of the presidency.”

That of course was a brain fart. My beloved pet dog has lymphoma and I’m trying to hold things together while we look at treatment options—so I’m a bit off my game.

Of course we know the no confidence vote passed. What I was intending to address was the intention of faculty to assume a greater role in the replacement of William C. Kirby and the desire of some of those professors to eliminate Summers’ role in that process altogether. That of course would have given the faculty greater powers and diminished the authority of the presidency.

7:43 PM, February 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jephnol:

From time to time, folks out here in the "commentsonblogs"-o-sphere can get personal and nasty. But I am betting that most people posting here are kind and decent people who not only understand mistakes other posters might make....but who understand that the sickness or loss of any family member (even a canine family member) is very, very difficult. A mis-post is no big deal to anyone, I'm certain.

I know you have a difficult road ahead, since I have dealt with this kind of thing twice with dogs of mine. My heart and hope goes with you.

I would recommend that you pick up a book---maybe out of print now, but libraries and used bookstores have it: "Animal Happiness," by Vicki Hearne.

It will help, no matter what happens in your family. I know from my own experiences how helpful it will be.

Hearne was a tough and almost poetic writer, and well worth your time.

Best of luck....from an old silenced poster here

"Eric Blair"

7:52 PM, February 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric Blair,

Thanks for the book recommendation—I’ll have a look around and see if I can find it.

And thanks for words of understanding...


9:03 PM, February 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! »

12:15 PM, March 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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