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Summers to quit as Harvard president report

Written by: Staff

BOSTON, Feb 22 (Reuters) Harvard University President Lawrence Summers was expected to resign this week after a turbulent five years of leading the prestigious school, The Wall Street Journal reported. Two people familiar with the situation told the newspaper that the former U.S. Treasury secretary was expected to announce his resignation in advance of a second faculty vote on a motion of no confidence in his leadership on February 28.

Summers, whose abrupt style has won praise and contempt since he became president in 2001, sparked controversy last year when he said innate differences between men and women may help explain why so few women work in the academic sciences.

He has since apologized repeatedly for his remarks.

But the abrupt resignation of the arts and sciences dean William Kirby, on January 27 deepened opposition against Summers. Several faculty have accused Summers of pushing Kirby out and called for his resignation at a faculty meeting this month.

The Journal said it was unclear what plan Harvard may have for naming a successor or when the resignation will take effect.

The confidence vote will be symbolic because only the seven-member governing board, the Harvard Corporation, has the power to appoint or remove the university's president. The faculty body first approved a no-confidence measure in March 2005 after Summers' remarks on women.

Quoting people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said backing for Summers the corporation, has eroded in recent weeks in the face of renewed criticism from many arts and sciences faculty members.

Summers's resignation would end the shortest stint of any Harvard president since Cornelius Felton died in 1862 after two years in office, the Journal reported.

A spokesman for Summers was not immediately available to comment.

Reuters YA DB0854

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