Summers digs in his heels as gender row spreads to Yale

March 25, 2005

Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard University, has vowed to stay on, backed by the university's trustees, in spite of a vote of no confidence by the professors who work for him.

The furore has spread to rival Yale University. But other leading US universities are scrambling to distance themselves from the controversy over remarks in which Mr Summers suggested that innate differences between men and women account for the fact that there are fewer women in science disciplines.

The faculty at Yale, in conjunction with women's, labour and civil-rights organisations, seized on the comments to complain about the proportion of positions at Ivy League universities held by women, black and Hispanic staff.

The report, The (Un)changing Face of the Ivy League , shows that 20 per cent of tenure-track professors in the Ivy League are women and 22 of 433 new professors hired into tenure-track jobs in the league are black or Hispanic.

The heads of other prestigious US universities were jockeying to see who could position themselves farthest from Mr Summers. The presidents of Princeton and Stanford universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College condemned his remarks.

After the vote, Mr Summers said: "I have done my best these past two months to hear all that has been said, to think hard and to adjust."

 

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