Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Crimson tragedy

The forces of darkness won a battle today.

Larry Summers, President of Harvard, has announced his resignation at the end of the academic year. Summers, who precipitated a tempest in a teacup with comments at an academic conference on gender differences the better part of a year ago, apologized profusely but his relationship with the Faculty of Arts & Sciences deteriorated. The recent resignation of the Dean of the FAS, allegedly engineered by Summers, made his position untenable. Even though the Board of Harvard Corporation, which has the sole power to dismiss him, continued to support Summers the feud passed beyond repair.

This whole matter has been a disgrace. The worst of it is that large elements of the Harvard faculty still viciously went after Summers despite his numerous and nearly abject apologies and creation of a various committees. He should NEVER, EVER have apologized in the first place. Appeasement of dictators, real or academic, never works. Dollars to doughnuts that the new President will be a 'unifying figure'; i.e., a spineless wimp.

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