Monday, February 12, 2007

Harvard Gets With It

You may already know that Harvard smartened up and followed Larry Summer's controversial tenure with a female selection for President of the storied institution. Faust (ironic name aside) may be a good choice. Of course, leading such academic institutions is a lot like herding cats with giant egos. Thus, the jury is out.

The selection of the first female president at Harvard is merely interesting only in that there hasn't been one. Women have been leading institutions of higher education for a great long while. That it can be done is not the question. As to why it took so long for an institution that suggests it's on the cutting edge of scientific and social knowledge generation to come around may be a better question. After all, Harvard was founded in 1634. That's a long wait.

Even so, if you can't successfully lead an institution with the largest endowment on the planet, with a stable of overly pedigreed faculty, what does that say about a person? Larry Summers really screwed the pooch, but without him, there may not have been room at the top for Faust. I think she is going to do a fine job.

A more reasonable question might be to ask her, not if she will be up to the task, but why it is that a Harvard education is only offered to a small slice of the privileged few? With many billions in the foundation coffers, they could afford to broaden the delivery to reach a bigger audience. Might we not all benefit from better access to a Harvard degree?


Anonymous said...

Undergrad, presumably

''Might we not all benefit from better access to a Harvard degree?''

Did you have a particular Yalie in mind?

isabelita said...

The little article about her at least gave me some hope she's not a neocon crone like Laura Bush, Lynne Cheney or Condi Rice, or any of the many nasty hags in the current administration. Just having a woman doesn't ensure improvement, if they're of the Margaret Thatcher ilk.
Oh, screw Harvard. It's still largely for rich spoiled brats.

Realist said...

So is Yale. There's a good reason the C.I.A. has consistently used Yale as a fertile recruiting ground. Its alumni are right up their alley, spoiled rich kids all too willing to join the world's foremost terrorist organization that is the handmaiden of American big business interests worldwide, to "make the (third) world safe for capitalist exploitation". They sicken me. The C.I.A. needs to be abolished NOW and replaced with a genuine intelligence-gathering and -analyzing organ. Over the years in that role they've failed miserably, being caught flat-footed by basically every major international surprise, however as a terrorist organization they have been a smashing success. John Kennedy wanted to do just that, "break the C.I.A. into a million pieces" and take foreign covert operations away from them when he was reelected in 1964. "Coincidentally" he never got the chance to do that because he got assassinated before he ever got the chance to run in '64. So the C.I.A. remained intact, the Vietnam war that Kennedy wanted to end got escalated, meaning the C.I.A. got to continue its outlandishly profitable heroin exporting business it was running out of Vietnam, and the big fat profit margins of "defense" contractors like Hughes Helicopters and Bell Helicopters were also insured. A coincidence it was not. Neither was it a coincidence that all the other political assassinations of the 1960s ALSO served the interests of the right wing. Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., even the attempted assassination of George Wallace that ended up with him being crippled, as it removed Wallace from the '68 presidential race, removing the possibility he could pull a Nader and suck votes away from Nixon. But that's a different story.