Phi Beta Cons

Summers Over at Harvard

Proportional group representation, or quotas and bean-counting, return as major preoccupations at Harvard now that Summers is out and new president Drew Gilpin Faust is in. She wants greatly to increase the number of black faculty. Also, Cornel West may be returning. And an African American studies professor claims that criticism of Israel has been forbidden on the Cambridge campus.  Henry Louis Gates shows an inability to be just and fair when he says:

The past five years reflect a period when Harvard’s black community felt particularly unwelcome and disenfranchised, mainly because the University’s leadership at the time was disinterested [sic] in, and even hostile toward matters of race and inclusion,” Gates wrote in an e-mail yesterday. “Rather than engage in a protracted battle for recognition, people simply sat that administration out.

So Summers’s efforts to get Cornel West to do some real scholarship and his hope of focusing attention on the life of the mind that should unite everyone at a place like Harvard, instead of constantly plying racial grievances and indulging racial pique, is interpreted by the eminently privileged Gates as blacks being “disenfranchised.” Perhaps the worst part of affirmative action is that it can never end. The special treatment has to contiinue or the recipients will claim that they are “unwelcome and disenfranchised.”


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