[DEBATE] : Re: (Fwd) Summers: no confidence
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Feb 22 04:05:38 GMT 2006
He just resigned!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Bond" <pbond at mail.ngo.za>
To: "debate: SA discussion list " <debate at lists.kabissa.org>
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 4:43 AM
Subject: [DEBATE] : (Fwd) Summers: no confidence
Wall Street Journal - February 18, 2006
Harvard Board Weighs
By DANIEL GOLDEN
Members of Harvard University's governing board are mulling whether
President Lawrence Summers should step down before a scheduled Feb.
28 faculty vote on a motion of no-confidence in his leadership, say
people familiar with the matter.
These people say members of the board, known as the Harvard
Corporation, have become increasingly concerned that continued
faculty discontent with Mr. Summers, a former U.S. treasury
secretary, is hurting the university. Mr. Summers, who took over as
president in 2001, has alienated some faculty members with a brusque
management style and sometimes-outspoken views.
The corporation names the president and is the only authority that
can remove him.
A year ago, Harvard's arts and sciences faculty voted no-confidence
in Mr. Summers, and the board is worried about the effects of a
second bout of public wrangling. On the other hand, members are
concerned that if Mr. Summers is driven out by the faculty, his
successor may not be able to govern effectively.
"Everyone is weighing the risk to Harvard of having someone leave
under such adverse circumstances, versus the risk of having someone
stay lacking broad support," said a person who has been in frequent
contact with the board. "Everybody recognizes that it would be good
to have clarity before a vote on the motion of no confidence."
As Harvard president, Mr. Summers has sought to boost the quality of
undergraduate education and of science research, including
establishing an institute on stem-cell research. While donations to
the university have remained high, the percentage of alumni giving to
the university has declined, which some critics see as a sign of
discontent with his leadership. The university has delayed plans for
a major fund-raising campaign.
"You can't have this kind of thing come up regularly," said one donor
familiar with the corporation's thinking about the no-confidence
motion. "If you can't lead, you can't lead. Fair or unfair, that's
Several members of the board, including former Duke University
president Nannerl Keohane and Robert Reischauer, president of the
Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., have been interviewing faculty,
deans and key alumni about Mr. Summers, according to people familiar
with their inquiries. "The corporation is in very active listening
mode," one person said.
Mr. Summers declined requests for comment. Harvard officials said he
is on a ski vacation with his family over the long weekend.
Mr. Summers's troubles last year were catalyzed by a talk he gave
suggesting that innate gender differences might account for the
relative scarcity of women with high-level academic careers in
science and math. This time, faculty critics have assailed Mr.
Summers on matters ranging from the resignation of a key dean to the
lack of any university discipline meted out to economics professor
Andrei Shleifer, a close friend of the president. Last year, Harvard
and Mr. Shleifer settled a civil suit brought by the federal
government, stemming from allegations that he had violated
conflict-of-interest rules by investing in financial markets in
Russia while heading a foreign-aid program there.
Calls for Mr. Summers's departure from faculty critics have escalated
in recent days, while his supporters complain that he hasn't
responded with his customary vigor.
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