Phi Beta Cons

Keohane Rebuffs Harvard

Harvard’s search for a president presses on, and one clearly qualified woman has publicly given the old Sherman, according to the Boston Globe:

As a former president at both Duke University and Wellesley College, she is one of the most highly regarded leaders in American higher education. As a member of Harvard’s governing board, she knows as well as anyone the unique and momentous task of repairing the university after the troubling fall of Lawrence H. Summers. […]
In a telephone interview yesterday, Keohane said she does not want the job. Her effort to end the speculation over a candidacy is a sign that politicking and posturing over the most exalted position in academia have begun, even though the search has not.
”I’m not available,” she said. ”I want to tell people to please stop putting me on the lists of potential candidates.”

First, any school would be blessed to have a president who goes by the name of Mozart’s much-beloved sister. But unlike Nannerl Mozart, Keohane has here not swooned for the lovelorn suitor. Indeed, it would seem that, post-Summers, Harvard could have a difficult time attracting any president with an honest interest in reform, and is liable to find itself in a thicket of yesmen will hearts bloated at the very mention of the crimson name. A feckless faculty-corporation liaison, in the vaunted style of the U.N. Sec-Gen is, after all, what Harvard’s liberal arts faculty has essentially demanded.

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