From Rumsfeld to Summers
However, perhaps the most lasting damage to Harvard will come from the forced resignation of President Summers after a vote of no confidence from the Liberal Arts faculty. I firmly believe Summers was right:
-To fight rampant grade inflation at Harvard (as a Teaching Assistant, I once had a freshman come to my office hours to protest an A-);
-To argue that even tenured professors should concentrate more on academics than producing rap albums;
-To fight against the "Divest from Israel" movement in academia;
-To suggest that men and women may have innate differences in cognitive processes (or at least is right to suggest this as a legitimate line of theoretical inquiry); and finally,
-For supporting the return of ROTC to Harvard's campus after being chased off by radicals during the Vietnam War.
Relating to this final point, The Weekly Standard has posted a letter of appreciation recently sent to President Summers by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
It is not often that a sitting Republican SecDef goes out of his way to pay tribute to a member of a Democratic administration's cabinet (or vice-versa, for that matter). Whatever else he has done with which one might disagree -- and big surprise, I tend to agree with him more often than not -- this was a very classy gesture by Secretary Rumsfeld.
For all his faults and admittedly brusque style, Harvard Yard will be a poorer place for Summers' departure. The faculty's actions in driving him out will do more to diminish the institution rather than the individual.