The Corner

Publicity Opportunity = Protest Opportunity

From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg,

As a recent graduate of Harvard, I am somewhat amused

by the recent furor surrounding our president but I

can’t say that I am all that surprised. I think that

your assessment is spot-on: Summers is in trouble

because he said something that offends the

sensibilities of the Harvard community and therefore

must be castigated, regardless of the merits of his

argument. There’s nothing like a “Top University” to

stifle debate.

Although I don’t think that this has made the news

year, the release of the transcript has also brought up

a second complaint about Summers’ remarks in addition

to the “innate differences” hypothesis: many of my

friends and classmates have told me how upset they are

about his question regarding which gender is more

pre-disposed to putting in longer, more stressful hours

for a job [“So I think in terms of positive

understanding, the first very important reality is just

what I would call the, who wants to do high-powered

intense work?”] While I feel that this is a completely

valid question, these women complain that Summers was

implying that women “aren’t willing to work hard”–in

my opinion, a distortion of what he was trying to say.

But as I said before, none of this–the aversion to

open debate on campus, the exaggerated reaction,

etc–really surprises me. The weather has been getting

warmer in Cambridge over the last few weeks, so the

time has arrived for the Harvard community to engage in

its yearly spring semester ritual of staging some

completely misguided protest. A few years ago it was a

Living Wage campaign, more recently it was against the

Iraq War, and now this:


EMERGENCY PLANNING MEETING to Protest Summers & Sexism

TODAY (Friday) 2:30 pm – Loker Commons

Larry Summers’ remarks on women in science at the NBER

Conference are now publicly released. National media attention is

focused on Harvard — in this climate a student protest has the potential

to capture major news coverage and impact national public




* The dining hall workers union is organizing against the hostile environment created by his comments.

* Yale students demonstrated on Thursday in solidarity.

* Senior faculty are challenging him and suggesting his resignation.



Students and alumnae are planning a demonstration before the faculty meeting next Tuesday afternoon — when professors convene to discuss a vote of “no confidence” in Summers.

What issues will we raise? From resignation, to childcare for Harvard workers, to a women’s center, to finals clubs, let’s get planning and put together an agenda!

Join us if you’re concerned about improving the climate

of this campus for women and about a feminist agenda at Harvard.