The feminist takeover of Harvard is imminent. The Harvard Crimson reported yesterday that the university is about to name as its new president Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard’s Corporation, which is likely to recommend Faust to the university’s Board of Overseers for confirmation, could not have more clearly repudiated Lawrence Summers’s all-too-brief reign of meritocracy and academic honesty, or more openly signaled that Harvard will now be the leader in politically correct victimology.
Faust runs one of the most powerful incubators of feminist complaint and nonsensical academic theory in the country. You can count on the Radcliffe Institute’s fellows and invited lecturers to proclaim the “constructed” nature of knowledge, gender, and race, and to decry endemic American sexism and racism. Typical guest speakers include left-wing journalists Susan Faludi and Barbara Ehrenreich. At Radcliffe, Faludi argued that 9/11 had triggered yet another “backlash against feminism,” while Ehrenreich lectured on “Weird Science: Challenging Sexist Ideology Since the 1970s.” It is received truth among Radcliffe Institute lecturers that obstacles throughout American society block women’s progress. Radcliffe speaker Rebecca Walker, for example, has created the “I Spy Sexism” initiative, which asks young women between the ages of 15 and 30 to keep logs of the “sexism, racism, and homophobia” that they see as they walk down the street or go to a movie.
With typical feminist hypocrisy, Faust has managed to wield massive power even as she rues female powerlessness. She headed the Task Force on Women Faculty, created after the firestorm over Summers’s recklessly honest speculations about women in science, that strengthened the feminist hold on faculty hiring and promotions. The Task Force won a $50 million commitment to increase faculty “diversity efforts” at Harvard, notwithstanding that for decades the university has tied itself in knots trying to increase female and black faculty representation. Faust’s Task Force also muscled into existence a remarkable new bureaucratic sinecure: the Senior Vice Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development. This new official sits with the president, the provost, and the deans of faculties, in order to push “diversity” quotas in every corner of the university’s academic operations. Naturally, Harvard gave the new position to one of Faust’s two co-chairs on the Task Force: Evelyn Hammonds, a professor of the history of science, and of African and African-American studies, who specializes in discerning bias against minority women in science and medicine. (Please do not question how Hammonds’s unobstructed rise through the most elite American universities comports with her thesis of pervasive discrimination against black women.)
Should the Board of Overseers confirm Faust, the Senior Vice Provost for Diversity that she created will be even more redundant than before. Expect a constant push for ever greater female and minority representation throughout the university, backed up by academic “research” showing widespread discrimination against those favored beneficiaries—research unclouded by the fact that women now run many of the nation’s most prestigious universities. Asked whether her appointment showed that gender inequities were ending at Harvard, Faust responded: “Of course not. There is a lot of work still to be done, especially in the sciences,” reports the New York Times. Unbiased inquiry into why certain groups may not enjoy proportional representation in scientific and technical fields, of the sort that Summers engaged in to his demise, will be even more proscribed. This triumph of feminist ideology is a tragedy not just for Harvard, but for the American academic world, which will undoubtedly follow Harvard’s lead in elevating feminist politics to premier intellectual standing.