Friday, February 24, 2006

Summers' Time and the Living's Easy


This past Monday, the President of Harvard University, Dr. Larry Summers, after receiving a vote of no confidence by the Harvard faculty, finally resigned. For most individuals concerned with minority rights, Monday was a fine day. During his presidency, Summers succeeded in losing the once famous African American department by insulting Cornel West and a few others, most of whom defected to Princeton. Then, he made the outrageous comment that women are naturally less skilled in sciences and that is why there are fewer women in those departments. The fact that he lasted so long was at once a surprise and a testament to the kind of sexism this society tolerates.

Today there's another testament, from our fave columnist Matthew Gillum. While Gillum's outright racism with regard to Cornel West and his interest in hip hop as a form of political resistance seemed enough to stir up a crowd, the sexism in his Summers-worship put even Summers (who has since apologized for the comment) to shame.

Choice excerpt:
But the defining moment of his tenure was during a conference on the gender imbalance in science last year. In a moment that would go down in infamy, he suggested that innate sex differences might partially explain the preponderance of men at the highest levels of math and science. His basic argument that the variance in mental ability among males is greater (that is, that males are more likely to be at the extremes of intelligence, both high and low) is well-established and particularly obvious on the low end -- how many females get Darwin awards? . . . The fact of the matter is that most people don't have what it takes -- which includes drive -- to be a professor at Harvard, and those that do are drawn from the extreme hinterlands of the bell curve, where males tend to be more abundant. This is one possibility that deserves to be considered, and Summers displayed courage and remarkable leadership for highlighting it.
Frankly, I don't have words.

6 comments:

Elena said...

yikes the only word that comes to my mind is "WHY!!?!!" i still can't believe this guy is writing columns for the YDN of such incredible caliber.

btw, great work you guys! i really enjoy reading your posts.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate what you guys are doing, but be careful about your fact-checking. Summers stepped down before the scheduled faculty meeting that would have had a vote of no confidence on the agenda. And you're misspelling people's names. I appreciate that you guys are doing this, but fact-checking will help your credibility.

Anonymous said...

summers received his first vote of no confidence on Mar. 15, 2005.

Alyssa said...

His resignation did not come as a result of that no-confidence vote. It's a mistake to imply that they were casually linked.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I don't have words?
Frankly, you can't write.

grow up said...

Frankly, at least they can grow the balls to type their own names...