Headline, February 22 2024/ ''' TREATING WOMEN TREATISE* '''



BESIEGED ACADEMICS : WOULD A MAN BE TREATED THAT WAY? : In the first weeks of the war between Israel and Hamas, Nancy Andrews read about the American college presidents under fire and something nagged at her.

Why, she wondered, did it seem that so many of these presidents were women?

Dr. Andrews, who was the first female dean of Duke University School of Medicine and until last year, head of the board of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, looked up the list of federal discrimination complaints filed against colleges and universities since the start of 2022.

The vast majority - 80 percent - were against universities led by women, even though just 30 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. have female presidents. Of the seven complaints filed in the weeks after the war began, all were seeking investigations of schools led by women.

Then four presidents were summoned by Congress, under threat of subpoena, to answer for what Republicans called the rampant antisemitism engulfing their campuses. All were women :

Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, Claudine Gay of Harvard, Sally Kornbluth of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Minouche of Shafik of Columbia, who escaped to a prior commitment outside the country.

'' Four women presidents, all new in their roles, far too new to have shaped the future on their campuses, called before Congress?

Of course there's a pattern,'' Dr. Andrews said. The question is, what's the agenda? Is it to take down women leaders? To attack elite universities through a perceived vulnerability? To further a political purpose? ''

Other women in the academy described a similar reaction to the spectacle around the hearing on  Dec 5 and the fallout since. Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay resigned, their critics made it clear they were coming for Dr. Kornbluth, and later in the week,  prominent male donors demanded the ouster of Cornell's president, Martha Pollock, too.

Almost invariably, the women will run through a list of qualifiers and questions. Yes, there might have been plagiarism, in the case of Dr. Gay, and the issue of race to consider. Yes, the presidents sounded so lawyerly, so coached, at the hearing :

Why couldn't they have more passionately declared their opposition to slogans encouraging genocide?

But then there are the suspicions in the other direction : If the question was safety, why didn't Congress summon the [male] presidents of Yale University and the University of Chicago, where pro-Palestinian groups occupied quads and administrative offices?

Underlying all the conversations was the most maddening, familiar and ultimately unanswerable questions of all : Would a man have been treated the same way?

Nancy Gertner, a law professor at Harvard and a retired federal judge who filed some of the earliest lawsuits on behalf of women denied tenure in the 1980s and 90s, said the measure of discrimination in those cases was whether women were subject to stricter scrutiny or held to a different standard.

To her mind, both were true for the female presidents. '' Had there been three men at that table,'' Ms. Gertner said, '' it would not have gone from ' bad performance ' to  'you're not qualified.' ''

To some women in the academy, merely having to ask the question was especially frustrating, as the school year had started with more female leaders than ever in higher education - a third of all presidents, six out of eight in the Ivy League.

'' This is a momentous change in and of itself,'' said Daphna Shohamy, a neuroscientist and director of the  Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia. '' Of course, we would expect that women, like all leaders, be held to the highest standards.''

Still, she said, '' It's striking that the only leaders that were condemned to this degree were women. How do we know how much of this simple accountability and how much is the effect of the same biases that held women back from leadership positions for so long?

At the moment, I think it is difficult to disentangle these issues.''

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on World and Women Leaders, present and future, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Kate Zernike.

With most loving and respectful dedication to Rabo, Dee, Haleema, Zilli, Juniper, Lakshami, Sahar [Canada], Emaan [LUMS],  Hanyia [Europe] - the esteemed Global Founders of !WOW!, and then Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See Ya all prepare for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter X !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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