Harvard's Crimson Face

The university's blunt president sparks a furor about women. Is he hurting the Ivy's brand?

Undergraduates call it "dropping the H-bomb" when they reveal to a new acquaintance that they go to Harvard. That's because the Ivy League university's name invariably elicits a response to what administrators there call "the best brand in higher education." This month, however, the Harvard brand is taking heavy fire, thanks to the man who is supposed to be its most vigilant guardian, university president Larry Summers.

When Summers suggested at a Jan. 14 conference that innate differences between the genders might help explain why fewer women succeed in math and science, he intended to provoke an intellectual debate among a...

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