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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 12:48 GMT
Harvard boss loses confidence vote
Larry Summers
Dr Summers has apologised for his remarks
The president of Harvard University has lost a vote of confidence following his suggestion that women have less innate ability than men at science.

Lawrence Summers' predicament is unique in the institution's near-400-year history, US reports say.

Academics at Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted by 218 to 185 to express a "lack of confidence", but the body has no power to punish Dr Summers.

He has repeatedly apologised for his remarks, made at a seminar in January.

Calls for resignation

Dr Summers, a former Treasury Secretary, has given no indication that he is planning to resign.

He officially answers only to the Harvard Corporation, the university's governing body, which has expressed its support.

At the seminar in January, Dr Summers suggested that one reason men outperformed women in maths and science might be genetics, not just experience.

Several guests walked out of a conference after hearing the comments. Dr Summers said later that the shortage of senior female academics was partly caused by child-minding duties, which restricted working hours.

Professor J Lorand Matory, who submitted the lack-of-confidence motion, called the result "a resounding statement the faculty lacks confidence in President Lawrence Summers and he should resign".

He added: "There is no noble alternative to resignation."

Dr Summers said he had "tried these last couple months to listen to all that has been said, to learn from it, and to move forward".


SEE ALSO:
Harvard bars admissions hackers
10 Mar 05 |  Education
Harvard row over sex and science
18 Jan 05 |  Education


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