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Author Topic: Watching his mouth  (Read 72351 times)
Anonymous thankewverymuch
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« Reply #60 on: February 05, 2005, 4:08:14 PM »

This has been interesting, especially the long digressions from social studies types and the bitter faculty spouse. In the end, though, I'd like to come back to what really torqued me in the Summers who-hah:

Should an academic, talking off the cuff after having been asked to be provocative "watch his mouth"? Are there issues that academics can't raise? If these issues are important to the issue at hand, where will they be raised instead?

Can academe, perhaps via some consortium mechanism, develop an appropriate sanitorium for dealing with faculty at risk of vomiting and fainting during discussions? Who will fund them, and will they offer fingerpainting?

And, finally, one for the organizer of the meeting that started the kerfuffle: do we really need to be increasing the flow of youngsters into the Ponzi scheme of academic science anyway? If so, doesn't it maximize utility if we recruit the innumerate to serve as the filler bodies, given that you can skim dollars off the top of their stipend checks?
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Wendy Jones-Hendricks
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« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2005, 4:35:02 PM »

This has nothing to do with ability. It has to do with the fact the primary purpose for women is to bear children and then raise them.

This explains why women don't succede in science. If you take off 6 or 7 years to raise a child, the field of science, engineering and math will not stop for you. These fields advance and 6 years off puts you too far behind to catch up.  That's why women go into teaching. Let's be perfectly honest. If you were teaching the third grade, and took off for 10 years to raise a child, you can jump right back in running. After all, third grade material doesn't change from year to year. Once you know how to teach the third grade once, you have all the skills needed for the rest of your career.
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A man
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« Reply #62 on: February 08, 2005, 5:31:59 AM »

Wendy Jones-hendricks is wrong. Grade 3 does change much like the world does. And the students change. And so does the teacher!

Your post sounds like the justification a kindergarten teacher gave me for laminating her lesson plans and using them year after year for 15 years!

My sister said she would never teach a younger grade if she had young kids. School too much like the home!
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Dude
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« Reply #63 on: February 10, 2005, 2:33:00 PM »

A few points:

The President of a University is usually also a professor and protected by academic freedom rules. It may be dumb for him/her (the President of my University is a black woman who is a physicist :)) to say something... but people posting that he isn't a professor are off the mark.

In my field (env. studies/env. econ) there may be more women than men getting PhDs. A lot more women I know though say that they won't even try for an academic job. Part of this may be perceived discrimination further down the road etc. but often I am told "it is too competitive I don't like that". I figure more men are obsessed with the "glory" of getting to the top in their field. Far more women seem to go into government jobs where they claim they will have more effect on the real world.
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anon
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« Reply #64 on: February 19, 2005, 5:16:18 AM »

The way Summers has been acting lately (e.g., apologizing endlessly, kowtowing to activists, etc.) I hope Harvard *does* sack him.  That kind of intellectual cowardice has no place in academia.

Despite what feminists and other PC totalitarians say, there is plenty of evidence supporting the theory that there may be inherent, physiological differences in men's and women's brains that may lead to differences in behavior, learning, etc.  Among others, Judith Kleinfeld has examined the topic of male/female differences in intelligence and learning, and in one of her articles perceptively stated "Males are more apt to fall at the extremes, whether at the very top or at the very bottom.....but women are more apt to look upward with anger than downward with relief."  And it seems that not only do those women look upward with anger, they don't want anyone who disagree with their worldview looking at the issue at all.  

Summers had every right to say what he did.  And he probably was right, even if he was commiting professional suicide by going against the PC dogma of the totalitarians that currently control the academy.   So for me, the main lesson I've learned from all of this is that allegations of extensive bias, suppression of unpopular ideas, and lack of intellectual freedom and diversity in academia are very like true, and perhpas even understated.

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Harris Sussman, Ph.Dconsultant
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« Reply #65 on: February 19, 2005, 7:03:33 AM »

For more than a month, the President of Harvard has been engaged in clarifications, spin control, apologies and confrontations about what he said.  Parsing a president's remarks is nothing new, of course, but I think we're missing another dimension of this affair.

In his Jan. 19 letter, President Summers says, "The many compelling e-mails and calls that I have received have made vivid the very real barriers faced by women in pursuing scientific and other academic careers."

Well, welcome to the Twenty-First Century.  This has just come to his attention?  By email?

Beyond what this episode tells us about how and what President Summers thinks about the topic of the advancement of women in science and academia, I think there's another dimension to this cautionary tale.  It's about how he operates.

--Did he ask for assistance in preparing his remarks from any of the scholars, researchers, and policy analysts in his own institution whose work addresses the subject he was to speak about?

--Did he try out his remarks on an internal focus group before speaking at the conference?

--Did he bring any women with him to co-present or to help answer questions?

"I made a serious mistake in speaking in the way I did, especially given my role as President," he now says.  It looks like he still hasn’t learned.  The spin control is out of control.  It is disheartening that the Office of the President of Harvard does not have access to some people who could help out here.
 
Harris Sussman, Ph.D.

Columnist, College Services journal, 2002-present
Columnist, Managing Diversity, 1991-2004
Consultant on diversity in higher education
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anon
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« Reply #66 on: February 22, 2005, 5:07:56 AM »

Harris Sussman, Ph.Dconsultant wrote:

> Beyond what this episode tells us about how and what
> President Summers thinks about the topic of the advancement of
> women in science and academia, I think there's another
> dimension to this cautionary tale.  It's about how he
> operates.
>
> --Did he ask for assistance in preparing his remarks from any
> of the scholars, researchers, and policy analysts in his own
> institution whose work addresses the subject he was to speak
> about?
>
> --Did he try out his remarks on an internal focus group
> before speaking at the conference?
>
> --Did he bring any women with him to co-present or to help
> answer questions?

These statements (in the form of rhetorical questions) would be laughable if they weren't so blatantly Orwellian.  

Ok, let's see if I have this straight: When a university president (or presumably any other high-profile academic) is to give a talk - whether it's a formal presentation or an informal, 'off the record' affair - they should be compelled to ask their colleagues:  1)What they should and should not say; 2) "Try out his remarks on internal focus groups" (with membership in these focus groups no doubt being thoroughly vetted by the local PC diversity police); and 3) Bring women to the event to co-present or otherwise "help to answer questions."

These is the most anti-intellectual suggestions I've heard of so far.  Were this to come to pass, we can all say goodbye to free thought and intellectual vitality and welcome a brave new world of conformity with political correctness.  

Plus, it stretches the imagination to the breaking point to envision a world where these suggestions would apply to all.  Let's try to envision, say,  a prominent feminist like Catherine MacKinnon, 1) consulting with conservative, non-feminist men regarding the content of her presentation, 2) trying out her remarks on focus groups containing at least a token number of conservative, non-feminist men (surely they would have to look outside academia for those members), and 3) bring conservative, non-feminist men with her to the presentation to offer balance and perspective.  I don't know about you, but it seems to me that it would be cold day down below before any self-respecting academic would agree to such restrictions, so I think that frank coercion would be the only way to accomplish what you suggest.  Further, I have little doubt that not all members of the academy would be compelled to do these things; only the potentially un-PC, 'non-compliant' types like Summers and others who don't faithfully tow the party line at all time vis-a-vis diversity and other politically correct dogma and fads.

However, on the bright side, it would make lots of new work for "diversity consultants," so perhaps I'll switch careers if this ever comes to pass.

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anon
Guest
« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2005, 6:17:55 PM »

I notice that Sussman, like many of the other posters who'd like more mouth-watching on campus, isn't a scientist.

I wonder if they're self-selecting away from science and toward fields where the prelim exam involves passing down the rabbit hole? Maybe some genetic factors involved in that?
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Gaylord A Sprauve
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« Reply #68 on: March 13, 2005, 12:31:01 PM »

I just completed and submitted an essay to Northcentral University, an online distance learning institution, that I titled, “The Lawrence Summers Debacle at Harvard.….” My focus was less on Dr. Summers’ recent troubles in the academy regarding his gender difference and “innate ability” comments, and everything to do with serious questions about his leadership style in higher education.  

I believed that academic freedom was on his side in terms of his provocative statement before the National Bureau of Economic Research conference on women in science.  Though his comments at the conference were intended to be provocative, at Harvard, they appear to have served as the proverbial, “straw" to break the camel’s back.  

President Summers continues to be the subject of intense criticism based upon a leadership style that is devoid of critical elements that are required if he is to succeed as Harvard’s president, notwithstanding, his other impeccable and enviable credentials.

Gaylord A Sprauve

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N/A
Guest
« Reply #69 on: June 01, 2005, 8:45:26 PM »

I just surfed upon this site in error and just wanted to point out that I happen to know a few disabled Black lesbians, all of whom are college educated.  And each have solidly sad stories to tell (AS MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS DO) about having been passed over for promotions and/or hiring opportunities and then found that terribly unqualifed White men were hired  or promoted instead.  With that, I submit to you that being of African descent, lesbian or disabled is very overrated at this site.  Nowhere outside of this site..I mean in the rest of America, does your quip fly...

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John
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« Reply #70 on: November 10, 2005, 12:11:53 PM »

You have left out (perhaps intentionally?) the most important rhetorical question:  

Did President Summers get clearance from the Party Secretary?

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