Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Harvard Summers

The departure of Larry Summers from Harvard has been attributed, in all of the press that I've read, to his assertion that women didn't show up more in the sciences because of an innate disposition to prefer bearing children. The Fox News types found it fodder for their 'liberal/islamist/socialist/wiccan people are running the universities these days' bullshit, and so, they opine, an eminent academic gets canned for running afoul of the PC tyranny.
It seems there were other fish in the fryer:

A capsule description: as a young assistant professor in 1979, Summers befriended Andrei Shleifer while the teen-age Soviet émigré was a Harvard undergraduate. A vivid intellectual collaboration ensued. A decade later, Summers arranged for Shleifer, by then a professor at the University of Chicago, to return to Harvard; then, as Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, Summers helped arrange for him to direct an advice-giving mission to Russia on behalf of the US government, after the Soviet Union collapsed.

After the US Agency for International Development fired Shleifer in 1997 for investing in Russia while dispensing supposedly disinterested advice, Summers stood by, first as Treasury Secretary, then as president of the university, while Harvard, expensively and ultimately unsuccessfully, defended his friend against a government suit for fraud. At one point, the newly-installed president urged Faculty of Arts and Sciences dean Jeremy Knowles to take pains to keep Shleifer at Harvard.

What do you know? Could it be that whole PC story was just a smokescreen?
(h/t maxspeak)


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