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Harvard leader loses no-confidence vote
(Agencies)
Updated: 2005-03-16 08:54

Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a no-confidence vote against President Lawrence Summers on Tuesday, the latest setback for the embattled university leader who has come under fire for his managerial style and comments on women in science.

The vote, 218-185, was largely symbolic. The faculty group is one of 10 that comprise the university, and Summers reports to the Harvard Corporation, the university's governing board, which has expressed its support for him.

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, center, escorted by a Harvard police officer, left, departs a faculty meeting at Harvard, in Cambridge, Mass., Tuesday, March 15, 2005. Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a no-confidence vote against Summers on Tuesday, the latest setback for the embattled university leader who has come under fire for his managerial style and comments on women in science. [AP]
Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, center, escorted by a Harvard police officer, left, departs a faculty meeting at Harvard, in Cambridge, Mass., Tuesday, March 15, 2005. Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a no-confidence vote against Summers on Tuesday, the latest setback for the embattled university leader who has come under fire for his managerial style and comments on women in science. [AP]
The unexpected passage of the vote was nonetheless a significant setback to Summers' efforts to rebuild his standing with Harvard's faculty in the wake of the uproar over his comments about women in science at an academic conference in January.

The measure stated simply: "The Faculty lacks confidence in the leadership of Lawrence H. Summers."

The faculty group also passed a milder rebuke of Summers' comments and "managerial approach" expressing support for the president in addressing the issues. That measure passed 253-187.

"As I said to the faculty, I have tried these last couple months to listen to all that has been said, to learn from it, and to move forward, and that's what I am going to do," Summers said afterward.

Summers has now met three times with the faculty group since his controversial remarks that intrinsic differences in ability partly explain why there are fewer women in the pool of applicants for top science jobs.

He has also reportedly met extensively with smaller groups of faculty, and established two faculty task forces to recommend steps for addressing issues concerning women faculty at Harvard, and women in science generally.

Summers' January remarks off-the-record, he believed prompted angry criticism from many faculty, students and alumni; others, however, defended him, saying Summers was simply engaging in a legitimate academic debate.

The criticism quickly expanded into a broader attacks on the president's allegedly blunt management style and his vision for the university, including major projects to expand Harvard's campus across the Charles River in Boston, and his ideas about what direction scientific research should take.

J. Lorand Matory, the anthropology professor who introduced the measure, called on Summers to resign.

"There is no noble alternative to resignation," he said.



 
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