In yesterday's 'Furtive Glances' I touched upon the sad tale of Harvard President Lawrence Summers, and the likelihood that he would be replaced.
Harvard is ungovernable, but it is ungovernable because in an institution of higher learning, dedicated to exploring the vast breadth of human knowledge without prejudice, political correctness has made some of that exploration suicidal. Harvard is Harvard, and if Mr. Summers is forced out they will not lack for candidates to replace him. But it will be clear to outside observers that the new leader will have to toe a politically correct line. To get along, you go along.
Well, it's happened, or rather will happen at the conclusion of the current academic year.
Summers, a former treasury secretary under President Clinton, took charge of the university in July 2001, and almost immediately alienated some faculty with his blunt and brusque management style. In January 2005, he sparked an uproar when he speculated about women’s aptitude in science, which led to a vote of no-confidence by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The same faculty had scheduled a second, unprecedented vote a week from today, after their dean, William C. Kirby, stepped down. Some professors said Summers had forced Kirby out of the position. The episode, the latest in a stormy tenure, was said to have led Harvard’s governing board to consider Summers’ ouster.
See, it doesn't pay to be "blunt and brusque" with the faculty. Dr. Sanity has some additional thoughts on bullies and appeasement.
Summers abjectly apologized and fell all over himself backpedaling after making some perfectly harmless remarks which happend to mightily offend (to the point of causing a near-swooning episode) some of his female faculty. And for his herculean efforts to appease the eternal victims of academic feminism, Summers reaped only further scorn and rage, expressed in an angry offensive against his administration--not entirely dissimilar to the escalation of the more recent cartoon jihad.
In the history of academia, I don't think anyone has ever come closer to voluntary castration for the cause of radical feminism. And look where it got him.
2/22/06 0630: An interesting post from Scott Johnson at Power Line, referencing Heather Mac Donald's work on the "diversity uber alles" mindset at the institution.