Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The latest from Cambridge, Mass.

I was tipped off earlier this evening about this episode, and its coverage in the Harvard Crimson:

University President Lawrence H. Summers faced the biggest challenge to his leadership of his three-and-a-half year tenure this afternoon, as faculty members assailed him for intimidating professors and tarnishing the Harvard name.

The criticism came at the first full meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences since Summers' controversial Jan. 14 remarks suggesting that 'innate differences' may help explain the scarcity of female scientists at top universities.

Today's meeting, which lasted nearly 90 minutes, ended with a unanimous vote to hold an emergency meeting of the Faculty next Tuesday so that professors can further discuss their discontent with and lack of confidence in Summers' leadership.

While many of Summers' most outspoken critics led today's charge, they were cheered on by large sections of the approximately 250 professors in attendance. Monthly faculty meetings typically draw less than half that number, but at this meeting, professors found themselves sitting on the floor, standing in doorways, and spilling out into the halls to watch the anticipated showdown with Summers.

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