The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Thursday, February 17, 2005


From Harvard President Larry Summers, it is now clear, no apology will be sufficiently lowly to quell the criticisms. This is not unexpected. From a New York Times account of a faculty meeting:

Professor [of "Comparative Religion and Indian Studies"] Eck recounted part of what she had said: "My question, Mr. President, is one I ask only with reluctance and respect: how will you now respond to what is clearly a widening crisis of confidence in your fitness to lead our university?"

"It's as if the business of the university has ground to a halt until this matter is resolved," said Prof. Henry Louis Gates, the chairman of the African American and African studies department, adding, "It is clear that much of President Summers's legacy will be determined by how he deals with this crisis."

Do you suppose that the Mathematics department has ground to a halt? Or Chemistry? I imagine not. The scientists are carrying on with their work, while the pseudo-scientists whose real concern is with their institutional power fret about politics.