Professors' Statement on President Summers

The following is the statement of a group of professors, as included in an e-mail circulated by Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures Christie McDonald and obtained by The Crimson. Music Department Chair Ingrid Monson, one of the signatories, verified the text of the e-mail.

We are appalled that sources described as "a professor close to the central administration and an individual in regular contact with members of the Corporation" (the Harvard Crimson article "Summers Planned to Fire Kirby, Sources Say" (10/11/05)) have spread rumors about President Summer's intention to fire the Dean of FAS, William Kirby, in December 2004, and about his subsequent inability to do so during the crisis around his presidency. We think it is highly improper if, as reported, the President of Harvard has been expressing to members of the faculty his “deep dissatisfaction” with the Dean of Arts and Sciences. This kind of backbiting is more than unprofessional. It undercuts the work and the morale of colleagues within FAS and damages the institution as a whole. We reject such tactics and the deplorable example they set for our students. We remain deeply concerned that the work of our departments and university cannot be sustained under such conditions, but we for our part renew our pledge to try to keep that work on track.


Tomas O Cathasaigh, Tom Cummins, Cynthia Friend, Andrew Gordon, Jay Jasanoff, James Kloppenberg, James McCarthy, Christie McDonald, Ingrid Monson, Richard Moran, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Steve Owen, Judith Ryan, Kay Shelemay, Richard Thomas, Mary Waters, Jan Ziolkowski