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Professorship Undone

A $2.5-million gift to Harvard Divinity School by United Arab Emirates president Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, made in 2000 in support of a professorship of Islamic religious studies, has been returned. Students and others had raised questions about anti-Semitic activity by the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-up, which the sheik supported, causing the University to review the gift. In 2003, the UAE announced plans to close the center because of activities that “starkly contradicted the principles of interfaith tolerance.” As Harvard deliberations continued, the divinity school announced that the donor had withdrawn the gift. The divinity school is independently seeking to make two faculty appointments in Islamic studies.

Footlights for the Footbridge

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Music and pageantry marked the September 22 relighting of the Weeks Memorial Footbridge, which links Harvard’s Cambridge and Allston campuses. A collaboration among the Charles River Conservancy (a citizens’ advocacy group), Harvard, and the state made the relighting possible.

 

Routed to Radcliffe

Recently tenured scholars in the humanities and social sciences who are awarded Burkhardt Residential Fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies may now spend their year of residence pursuing their research at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. It joins the roster of only 10 other qualifying research centers around the world, including the American Academy in Rome, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (near Stanford), the Institute for Advanced Study (at Princeton), and Harvard’s Villa I Tatti (outside Florence). By selecting Radcliffe, the fellows, who receive $75,000 stipends, will gain access both to Harvard’s resources and to the intellectual companionship of the institute’s own fellows, who number about 45.

 

Business Barrels Ahead

Fifteen months before it concludes in December 2005, the Harvard Business School capital campaign had raised more than $475 million toward its half-billion-dollar goal (see "Capitalism Campaign," November-December 2002, page 55). Chief development officer Richard Boardman reported that campaign gifts had enabled renewal of Baker Library and classrooms in Aldrich Hall; staffing of a training center to enhance faculty members’ case-method instruction; and international initiatives such as global research and case writing. Meetings between alumni and HBS dean Kim B. Clark in cities worldwide helped spur a marked increase in annual unrestricted giving, Boardman said, a key long-term goal. The fundraisers are focusing now on their unfulfilled goal for student fellowships. M.B.A. candidates have traditionally financed their HBS schooling through loans — a significant deterrent to many international applicants and to graduates who wish to pursue work in nonprofit organizations, because the two-year course of study (including living expenses) now costs more than $100,000.

 

Charles J. Ogletree Jr.
Justin Ide / Harvard News Office
Laurence H. Tribe
Kris Snibbe / Harvard News Office

Where Credit Is Due

In a statement posted September 3 on Harvard Law School’s website, Climenko professor of law Charles J. Ogletree Jr. expressed “my profound apologies for serious errors I made during the final days of the research and production process for my recent book,” All Deliberate Speed. Those errors resulted in the unattributed inclusion of six paragraphs about Brown v. Board of Education from a book by Jack M. Balkin ’78, J.D. ’81, Yale’s Knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment. Ogletree’s statement said that in reviewing the passage, two assistants inadvertently deleted quotation marks and suitable attribution, and sent it to the publisher; upon subsequently reviewing the draft, “I did not realize that this material was authored by Professor Balkin.” At the request of law school dean Elena Kagan, her predecessor Robert Clark and former Harvard president Derek C. Bok reviewed the circumstances, reported to Kagan, and, Ogletree noted, reviewed his statement “for accuracy.” Although the school, as is its custom, did not comment further on any possible disciplinary actions, a Crimson editorial noted sharply that even inadvertent plagiarism by a student is expected to result in severe punishment, including the requirement to withdraw from the College. As for the reliance on research assistants, the editorialists noted, “When the author himself does not recognize that a text of two pages is not his own, something is amiss.” At the end of the month, following publication of an article in the Weekly Standard concerning his 1985 book God Save This Honorable Court, Loeb University Professor Laurence H. Tribe, also of the law school, issued a statement apologizing to Henry J. Abraham for “failure to attribute some of the material” therein to the latter’s Justice and Presidents, released 11 years earlier.

 

Nota Bene

Ratings reprised. U.S. News & World Report, in its wisdom, again ranked Harvard and Princeton as the best university-based private colleges in the land, followed closely by Yale. The rankings were unchanged from a year ago.

 

Brain barrier. Further documenting concern that post-9/11 visa restrictions have choked off the supply of foreign students studying at American universities, the Council of Graduate Schools reported that the number of such students granted admission declined 18 percent from 2003 to 2004. The decrease was particularly great for students from Asia and those studying engineering and the sciences. Harvard and other universities are working with the federal government to ease procedures and extend visas for foreign students enrolled in U.S. institutions (see "Vanishing Visas," July-August, page 67).

 

Student space. A committee studying how to use some 50,000 square feet of Hilles Library — available in the fall of 2005 when the library is downsized to a single floor — has recommended creating flexible multipurpose space for student organizations. Among the uses and amenities envisioned are offices, meeting rooms, performing-arts practice spaces, publication equipment, and conference facilities. The recommendations, if adopted, would respond to repeated undergraduate requests for extracurricular facilities — and might even cause students from the residential Houses along the Charles River to rethink their horror at the perceived isolation of the Radcliffe Quad residences.

 

Scholarship and politics. Opening the fall term with a Morning Prayers address on September 20, President Lawrence H. Summers dipped a toe into the moat between academia and public life, asking, "When is it good to be consistent, grounded on steady principle, and unwavering? Or bad to be stubborn, dogmatic, and unyielding?" Noting explicitly that such issues "are not without relevance to the current presidential election," even working in a reference to "flip-flops," he made the case for the principle of inquiry and willingness to learn from new evidence. A text is available at www.president.harvard.edu.

 

Lawrence D. Bobo
Jon Chase / Harvard News Office

Headed west. Tishman and Diker professor of sociology and of African and African American studies Lawrence D. Bobo (see “Harvard Portrait,” March-April 1998, page 65) and (untenured) associate professor of African and African American studies Marcyliena Morgan, who are married, announced at the beginning of the term that they had accepted a pair of tenured positions at Stanford and will relocate at the end of the semester. Bobo will direct the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

 

Miscellany. For the second consecutive year, Working Mother magazine named Harvard as one of the nation’s 100 best employers — one of three in Massachusetts, and the only university cited (although Yale-New Haven Hospital also made the list)….The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Harvard University Library $2.1 million to fund a comprehensive preservation program for Harvard’s collection of more than 7.5 million photographs.

   

Seventeenth-century Nature

Photograph by Jim Harrison

A pelican and alligator, from the Museum of Comparative Zoology, are here being installed in the Science Center, joining an elderly magnifying lens and a microscope, for the exhibition Bringing Nature Inside, through January, in newly constructed space housing the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. Centerpiece of the exhibition is a fascinating re-creation by artist Rosamond Purcell of the one-room natural-history museum of seventeenth-century Danish physician Ole Worm.