The 27th president of Harvard University is stepping down from his post amid growing controversy.
The Ivy League school announced today that Lawrence H. Summers will resign from his position at the end of this academic year.
Derek Bok, who served as Harvard’s 25th president, will serve as interim president starting in July until a new president can be found.
Summers, who was appointed to the president’s office five years ago, said in his letter of resignation that “rifts” between he and some Arts and Sciences faculty members make it “infeasible” for him to continue the work he believes is “crucial to Harvard’s future.”
Earlier this week HUMAN EVENTS U reported in a piece, “Inmates May Takeover Asylum,” the latest campus conflict involving Summers.
Members of Harvard’s faculty believe pressure was put on William C. Kirby, dean of the faculty of Arts and Science, to step down, although Kirby claims the decision was reached jointly with Summers. Some faculty members were then demanding to play a part in the selection of a new dean — a responsibility normally held by Harvard’s president and governing board.
Less than a year ago, Summers was once again at odds with his faculty after he made what many within the school felt were sexists remarks, which resulted in a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
The New York Times reports that some who support Summers believe the attacks on him are rooted in political differences.
"These people are mostly the feminist left and its sympathizers," Harvey Mansfield, a professor of government, said of the president’s detractors. "They fear that affirmative action will be abolished or diminished. They want more diversity, which means, paradoxically, more people like themselves. They want to run the university, and I think that Larry Summers wants to take it in a different direction."
However, the Fellows of Harvard College said today, “Whatever our differences in perspective, and wherever we study or work within the University, all of us share a commitment to the progress of an institution whose aims are noble, whose traditions are strong, whose spirit is always restless, and whose promise — as embodied in the thousands of men and women who form the Harvard community — knows no bounds."
Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D.-Mass.) said in a statement, “Even in the midst of continuing controversy, his deep commitment to Harvard as a world class university was never in doubt.”
Actually, with respect to the Fellows of Harvard and Kennedy, Summers felt the restraints and his commitment to Harvard were in doubt by members of his faculty — that’s why he resigned! Summers said so himself within his letter of resignation.
According to the school, enough can’t be said about Summers’s achievements while in office. So, the reason he’s leaving — or being forced out — is because ultra-liberal factions within the school continue to throw hissy-fits every time he expresses his less than radical views.
For those us who did not attend Harvard but always wanted to matriculate behind its walls, a great lesson on diversity can be learned regarding Summers’ resignation from this prestigious educational institution: “Diversity, shmersity. This is how it’s going to be — you can take it, or leave it!”
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