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Faculty To Take on Summers Today

By Evan H. Jacobs, Crimson Staff Writer

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) will have its first full meeting of the semester today, as administrators attempt to keep professors’ attention on the curricular review in the wake of Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby’s resignation and continuing unhappiness with University President Lawrence H. Summers’ leadership.

The review has made noticeable progress in recent months. All the committee reports have been completed and compiled. A number of Faculty meetings this fall were spent discussing the reports. And draft legislation for changes to concentrations has been considered by the Faculty Council, the governing body of FAS.

But with tension still lingering between some on the Faculty and Summers, the result of today’s meeting and the six subsequent sessions this semester is difficult to predict.

“The Faculty and the Faculty Council have been working through the fall to move us forward in various ways,” said Classics Department Chair Richard F. Thomas, a member of the council. But, he added, “obviously when the dean of the Faculty resigns in the middle of that, the situation changes...My sense is that it’s not certain how we will proceed.”

The situation facing the Faculty today is in many ways strikingly similar to the one it faced last February.

Just one year ago, Kirby announced in his annual letter to the Faculty that the Harvard College Curricular Review was the Faculty’s “highest priority,” and many of the review committees’ reports were nearing completion. The agenda of last spring semester’s first Faculty meeting called for discussion of the review’s schedule. Votes seemed on the not-so-distant horizon.

All of this was before the fateful Faculty meeting of Feb. 15, when professors assailed Summers for his comments on women in science. Discussion of the review fell by the wayside, and the full Faculty did not return its attention to the review until May.

Just as last spring’s meetings floundered in the wake of the women-in-science uproar, this spring’s sessions occur against the backdrop of Kirby’s abrupt resignation. Four individuals close to the central administration have told The Crimson that Summers forced Kirby to step down, and professors who believe that Kirby’s departure was orchestrated by the president may use today’s meeting—and the six that follow—to criticize Summers in a full Faculty forum.

“I think a lot of people have sort of crossed the Rubicon on this chapter,” said one senior faculty member, referring to unhappiness with Summers stemming from Kirby’s departure.

But FAS administrators and some senior Faculty members are hopeful that the review will progress in the coming weeks.

“I think the review will continue this spring,” said Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71, who led a number of review committees.

Saltonstall Professor of History Charles S. Maier ’60, a member of one committee, agreed.

“The curricular review has its own momentum,” Maier, a former Crimson executive editor, said last night. “It’s a Faculty project, and I hope the Faculty will approve it.”

— Anton S. Troianovski contributed to the reporting of this article —Staff writer Evan H. Jacobs can be reached at

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