Speaker choices show university prejudices

If you had the choice of letting the president of Iran or the former president of Harvard University speak at your school, whom would you choose?Maybe before you make a decision, you should know that the former president of Harvard is Lawrence Summers. Summers resigned from his post at Harvard last year after a lengthy spat with faculty that began when he suggested women may not have the same natural abilities as men in some fields.

That spilled over to the University of California at Davis when faculty members petitioned the university to withdraw its invitation for him to speak at a dinner the school was hosting Sept. 15.

The administration caved, and rescinded the invitation just days before the dinner. Funny thing is, Summers wasn’t going to talk about gender differences. He was going to discuss academic excellence with university chancellors and the UC system’s board of regents. Furthermore, he wasn’t even speaking to the faculty or students for that matter.

Is the faculty at UC Davis so insecure that it is afraid to hear controversial views?

Summers served as chief economist of the World Bank as well as secretary of the treasury before being named president of Harvard. He has also won several awards for his contributions in a number of fields in economics.

Wouldn’t you be interested in what a scholar with his credentials might have to say about academic excellence?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected president of Iran in 2005, could be considered one of the most dangerous men in the world, yet Columbia University allowed him to speak on campus amid complaints from critics.

If the president of a country the U.S. could potentially go to war with can speak at one major university, why can’t the former president of Harvard speak at another?

Maybe ideas really are scary things.

Nathan Bass is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Tomball.