From a reader:
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
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
WE MUST SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST
* 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.
IT’S TIME FOR HARVARD STUDENTS TO JOIN IN RAISING OUR
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.