- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a no-confidence vote against President Lawrence H. Summers yesterday, the latest setback for the 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 Mr. Summers reports to the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing board, which has expressed its support for him.

The unexpected passage of the vote was, nonetheless, a significant setback to Mr. Summers’ efforts to rebuild his standing with Harvard’s faculty in the wake of feminists’ complaints about 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 Mr. Summers’ comments and “managerial approach” — expressing support for the president in addressing the issues. That measure passed by a 253-187 vote.

“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,” Mr. Summers said afterward.

Mr. Summers now has met three times with the faculty group since his remarks that intrinsic differences in ability might be a factor in why there are fewer women in the pool of applicants for top science jobs.

He also reportedly has 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.

Mr. Summers’ January remarks prompted criticism from many faculty, students and alumni. Others, however, defended him, saying Mr. Summers merely was engaging in a legitimate academic debate.

The criticism quickly expanded into broader attacks on what some faculty call the president’s 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 the direction that scientific research should take.

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

“There is no noble alternative to resignation,” he said.

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