Female scientists call on Levin to speak out on Summers’ statements

In an attempt to pull Yale President Richard Levin into the national debate about women in science, more than 100 female scientists at the University have signed a petition asking Levin to respond publicly to Harvard President Lawrence Summers’ recent controversial statements.

The petition, organized by the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, calls for Levin to reject Summers’ statement that the small number of female scientists compared to male scientists in academia may be a result of natural differences in aptitude, organizer Rachael Jackman GRD ’07 said.

Levin continued to decline to comment on Summers’ remarks Monday night.

Organized over the weekend, the petition also asks Levin to reduce “institutional barriers” to careers in academia for women, Jackman said, through more affordable day care, dependent health care and changes to tenure policies.

“We’ve asked for movement to make tenure policies more flexible for women and for men who want to have families,” Jackman said.

Levin said the petition will not change the University’s position on tenure policy.

“We take the tenure process very seriously and we have been working to increase the representation of women [and] minority faculty,” he said. “We have policies in place to do that.”

Jackman said the publication of an open letter from the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Princeton University increases the pressure on Levin to respond to Summers’ statements. Last Thursday, GESO members protested at Betts House calling on Levin to speak out on Summers’ statements.


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