Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Another of Larry Summers’s Sins


I looked at the article George Leef links below, from a site called Diverse Online (billed as “Your Portal to Diversity”). Summers nixed a Latino Studies department and also a department devoted to immigration studies, which was offered as an alternative. I know from what I’ve read that Summers had an appreciation for real scholarship. At one point he specifically referred to the kinds of discoveries about the ancient world that modern technology is making possible, where you can learn reams about a civilization from a fingernail. We see some of this scholarship at work in various PBS documentaries. No doubt he could sense the direction in which the Latino Studies and immigration studies departments would go–the same direction that all the other area studies of recent decades have gone: one-sided, tendentious, propagandistic, and not devoted to serious balanced research aimed at the truth. The two proposals were even presented as efforts “to boost multicultural research,” something which no doubt raised the red flag for Summers. Too bad Harvey Mansfield and Samuel Huntington and the handful of other sensible people at Harvard couldn’t have done more for Summers. Clearly he was on the side of the angels in many things. He did support the University of Michigan in the affirmative-action cases, but evidently any deviation from the diversity agenda is totted up as grounds for dismissal.


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