DAILY NEWS OF
Daily' Notes on News
As of Nov. 8th
Bigotry, Racism, and Chauvinism still
rewarded in 'Merika.
Raise for Harvard's
President Led Board Member to Quit
By ALAN FINDER
Published: August 2, 2005
The decision by Harvard to grant a 3 percent raise to its controversial
president, Lawrence H. Summers, was the final straw that led to the
resignation of the only African-American member of the university's
governing board, according to a resignation letter released yesterday by
Board Member's Letter of Resignation (August 2,
Following are excerpts
from a letter on July 14 to Lawrence H. Summers, president of Harvard,
from Conrad K. Harper, a member of the Harvard Corporation, the
seven-member governing board of the university:
My five years on the corporation have been a highlight of my working life.
... For the reasons that follow, however, I hereby resign, with a heavy
heart, as a member of the corporation, effective immediately. ...
Your presidency has been marked by a number of considerable successes.
Yet, as I said during our meeting last month, my dissatisfaction with your
performance as president has increased. I appreciate the fact that you and
I had an hour and a half of frank talk. I had hoped that the unfortunate
incident with Professor Cornel West was an aberration. Last fall, your
comments at a Native American conference insulted the attendees. Last
January, your insinuation at a N.B.E.R. conference that women might be
inferior as to intrinsic aptitude for science and engineering was an
insult heard worldwide. I saw a pattern. Your statements demeaned those
who are underrepresented at the top levels of major research universities.
Added to this pattern were faculty grievances that led to the March 15,
2005, F.A.S. stunning vote of ... no confidence in your leadership. On
March 17, I told you and the other members of the corporation that I
thought you should resign, effective June 30.
While I thought it was important to join in the corporation's repeated
statements of full confidence and support in your working constructively
with faculty members and others, the situation has now changed
significantly. Matters came to a head for me over whether the corporation
should raise your salary for 2005-06. In my judgment, your 2004-05
conduct, implicating, as it does, profound issues of temperament and
judgment, merits no increase whatever. Despite your apologies and your
creation of important task forces chaired by Professors Groz and Hammonds
(whose work I applaud), I could not and cannot support a raise in your
salary. I believe that Harvard's best interests require your resignation.
The board member, Conrad K. Harper, also said in the letter that he had
argued months ago that Dr. Summers should resign, and that he still felt
"I believe that Harvard's best interests require your resignation," Mr.
Harper wrote in the letter to Dr. Summers, dated July 14. He noted in the
letter that Dr. Summers had insulted people attending a Native American
conference, alienated black professors and suggested that women might not
have an "intrinsic" aptitude for science and engineering.
"I saw a pattern," Mr. Conrad wrote. "Your statements demeaned those who
are underrepresented at the top levels of major research universities."
Of the board's decision to grant Dr. Summers a raise for the academic year
that began July 1, Mr. Harper wrote, "In my judgment, your 2004-5 conduct,
implicating, as it does, profound issues of temperament and judgment,
merits no increase whatever."
Dr. Summers had a base salary of $563,000 in the 2004-5 academic year, a
university spokesman said. The 3 percent raise, which was granted last
month, was the smallest of his four-year tenure, a university official
Mr. Harper's resignation was the first outward sign that Harvard's
seven-member board was not united in its support of Dr. Summers, after a
vote of no confidence by the Faculty of Arts and Science last March. It
remains unclear whether he was the only critic on the board, which
includes Dr. Summers. When Mr. Harper's resignation was announced last
Thursday by the university, he said only that he could no longer support
Dr. Summers. Mr. Harper declined to release his resignation letter, though
he said he was not opposed to its release. He said the decision was up to
Harvard, which declined at first, saying that the letter was private.
Over the weekend, however, several Harvard faculty members began
organizing to lobby for the letter's release. Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a
law professor, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the department of
African and African-American studies, said they had written a letter
calling on the university to make Mr. Harper's letter public. They said
that about a dozen faculty members, both black and white, had signed on
and that they had intended to release the letter yesterday or today.
"Obviously, someone caught wind of what we were doing," Professor Ogletree
But James R. Houghton, the senior fellow of the board, which is known as
the Harvard Corporation, said in a statement that the board had decided to
make the letter public because Mr. Harper had made clear in interviews
that it contained his reasons for stepping down from the board and because
he did not object to its release. Mr. Houghton also said Dr. Summers now
thought the letter should be made public.
Mr. Harper, a graduate of Harvard Law School who practices law in
Manhattan, said in his resignation letter that he had become increasingly
dissatisfied with Dr. Summers's leadership. He said, too, that he was
unhappy with the way that the board decided to award a raise to the
While it is not clear whether any of the other board members shared his
view, Mr. Harper said he had wanted the board to discuss Dr. Summers's
salary and ways to measure his performance in the coming academic year
during a board retreat in the third week of July. Instead, Mr. Harper
wrote, Mr. Houghton and two other board members decided to award the 3
percent raise before the retreat.
"I cannot in good conscience remain a member of the corporation when the
procedures that should guide our deliberations are not followed," Mr.
Mr. Houghton, the board's senior member, said in his statement that the
members had decided to grant the raise after discussing it at an executive
session last spring and in the weeks that followed.
Mr. Harper also referred in his letter to a series of controversial
episodes in Dr. Summers's tenure. He cited a public dispute with Cornel
West, a star professor in the black studies department, that led to
Professor West's departure to Princeton in 2002.
He also cited remarks by Dr. Summers at a Native American conference in
September that were viewed as insulting by some participants. And he
referred to comments by Dr. Summers about female scientists at a
conference in January.
Mr. Harper called the remarks "an insult heard worldwide."
Here I am, JAR II
Slaughter Continues in Iraq 51/
Black Day for Britain
Atrocity (When are the cowards going
to stop killing innocent people? The perps must all be taken out with
7 - Bomb explosions tore through three subway trains and a red-painted
double-decker bus in a coordinated terror attack during London's morning
rush hour on Thursday, killing at least 37 people, wounding about 700 and
leaving the city stunned and bloodied but oddly stoic
In a recorded
message later from his office at 10 Downing Street, a somber Mr. Blair
"The purpose of
terrorism is just that - to terrorize people and we will not be
describing itself as being affiliated with Al Qaeda took responsibility
for the attacks on a Web site, but the police said they were unable to
confirm the authenticity of the claim. The group, the Secret Orgnization
of Al Qaeda in Europe, said the attacks had been undertaken to avenge
British involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Atrocity (Move along, nothing to see