Summers at Harvard on Men and Women


3 comments posted
Re:Summers-Nancy Hopkins Replies To Me

For a new update on this evolving story, you should check out my blog- I just posted a letter that Nancy Hopkins emailed to me.

It was Prof. Hopkins quotes in the press that really propelled the story.

Gotham Image's picture
Posted by Gotham Image (not verified) on 19 February 2005 - 10:51am

The letter you post predates the release of the transcript. However, she makes a very strong point -- this is not about academic freedom. Summers speaks not as a professor but as the institution's president. You may think that he's justified in his cheauvenism, but others can and do disagree, and I consider their criticisms and even calls for apology or resignation especially germane when they work for the institution that he leads and represents.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 19 February 2005 - 11:36am
Time for a Female President of Harvard

Nancy Hopkins passes information along. She is not the issue.

President Summers states

I am speaking unofficially and not using this as an occasion to lay out the many things we're doing at Harvard to promote the crucial objective of diversity

In my view it is not that anyone is trying to keep Summers from speaking his mind. He has done so. My impression so far (I am currently in a reread of his remarks) is he is totally disconnected from women's lives and institutionalized sexism.

In the films "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and in "The Joy Luck Club," we see that some progressives think it's enough to offer a few seats at the table, but they never really confront their own racism, except when the token guest might become part of the family.

The hackneyed phrase, "quotas don't work" is true, but more accurately it should be said, "quotas, in and of themselves without institutional changes, don't work."

The Women's Movement suggested "sexism is a form of racism." Racism is acting in favor, or against, someone solely because of a naturally occurring physical variation over which the individual has no control.

Shockley, a few years back, used statistics to prove blacks were not intellectually equal to whites. He completely missed the institutionalized racism that came out of Jim Crow and "separate, but equal."

Harvard is the old boys network all the way and the old boys like the fair haired boys and promote them for they see themselves in the younger man. Harvard is very old money and the classes that came before that endow the University are best approached by other senior men. Harvard, until World War Two, was a men's club and the University has yet to break out of that old money mode.

Women? The old boys don't relate and they don't mentor. The Business School even took to setting up informal dinners of executive MBA alumna women to mentor graduating MBA females. Why would males not be offered a similar dinner? Because all dinners are male dinners. The female MBA of the kindred Summer speaks to have taken to self-mentoring and co-mentoring. This is where the whole process of female career development and grooming has fallen apart.

Some 25 years ago, someone I know coined the phrase, "the glass ceiling." There is an invisible ceiling that keeps women from rising. Invisibly, women bump against it, yet no one seems to see it.

It is piercing this glass ceiling, that is important. Summers may be speaking freely, but his remarks show he has no grasp.

It may well be a time for Harvard to choose its first female President .

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 19 February 2005 - 2:36pm