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Harvard Considers Two Women for Next President

Harvard University is considering two women in its “short list” of fewer than 10 candidates for its next president, the Boston Globe reports. Both Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard’s law school, and Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, are reportedly among the selection committee’s final choices for the elite position. Unlike other Ivy League schools, Harvard has never had a woman president in its 371-year history.

The appointment of a new president for the University comes after the former president, Larry Summers, resigned in February 2006. Summers was heavily criticized for remarks he made in January 2005, when he suggested at an academic conference that women have less innate ability to perform in science and mathematics than men. Top women faculty members at Harvard also voiced concerns about the lack of women receiving tenure under Summers’ reign, and Harvard has since recommitted itself to developing women academics. In May 2005, Harvard pledged to spend $50 million over the next 10 years to implement recommendations made by task forces on women at Harvard that were formed after Summers’ controversial remarks.

According to Reuters, at least three other women ‘ all leaders at other Ivy League institutions – had also been considered for the Harvard post: Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman, Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons, and University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann.
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Sources:

The Boston Globe 1/10/07; Reuters 1/10/07; Feminist Daily News Wire 2/22/06, 1/18/05

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