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Harvard Faculty Discuss Embattled President

Ruth Wisse, a professor of comparative literature, says she believes Summers adds to Harvard's intellectual life.
Frank Langfitt, NPR
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Ruth Wisse, a professor of comparative literature, says she believes Summers adds to Harvard's intellectual life.
Business professor Jay Lorsch says university presidents cannot dictate to their faculties.
Frank Langfitt, NPR /
/
Business professor Jay Lorsch says university presidents cannot dictate to their faculties.

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers is fighting to keep his job. Since taking over in 2001, Summers has struggled with controversy, such as last month, when he said innate ability may help explain low numbers of female scientists and engineers.

Summers, who served as President Clinton's Treasury Secretary after the departure of Robert Rubin, is now often viewed on campus as being alternatively acerbic, challenging or ill-suited for the school's presidency.

While Summers' comments infuriated some students and scholars, his tenure at Harvard is also a lesson on leadership and style. A faculty meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, and some professors may call for a vote of no confidence in Summers. Ultimately, his fate lies with the university's seven-member corporation.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe.