Sunday, September 8, 2013

Radical Feminist Takeover at Harvard Business School

You've heard it a thousand times: radical leftist ideology strives fundamentally for the total reengineering of society, the complete makeover of social relations, by any means necessary, including coercion and force.

But we don't often have perfect case studies of this at the highest levels of institutional power and prestige, especially at Harvard University, a private university where the normal decelerating processes inhibiting disruptive social change would be least in play.

So read this piece at the New York Times as a window to the programmatic world of the leftist institutional subversion. Importantly, mentioned at the top of the piece is Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, a gender-drenched radical historian pushing an extreme-left program, including booting the university's ROTC program from campus.

See, "Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity":
The country’s premier business training ground was trying to solve a seemingly intractable problem. Year after year, women who had arrived with the same test scores and grades as men fell behind. Attracting and retaining female professors was a losing battle; from 2006 to 2007, a third of the female junior faculty left.

Some students, like Sheryl Sandberg, class of ’95, the Facebook executive and author of “Lean In,” sailed through. Yet many Wall Street-hardened women confided that Harvard was worse than any trading floor, with first-year students divided into sections that took all their classes together and often developed the overheated dynamics of reality shows. Some male students, many with finance backgrounds, commandeered classroom discussions and hazed female students and younger faculty members, and openly ruminated on whom they would “kill, sleep with or marry” (in cruder terms). Alcohol-soaked social events could be worse.

“You weren’t supposed to talk about it in open company,” said Kathleen L. McGinn, a professor who supervised a student study that revealed the grade gap. “It was a dirty secret that wasn’t discussed.”

But in 2010, Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s first female president, appointed a new dean who pledged to do far more than his predecessors to remake gender relations at the business school. He and his team tried to change how students spoke, studied and socialized. The administrators installed stenographers in the classroom to guard against biased grading, provided private coaching — for some, after every class — for untenured female professors, and even departed from the hallowed case-study method.

The dean’s ambitions extended far beyond campus, to what Dr. Faust called in an interview an “obligation to articulate values.” The school saw itself as the standard-bearer for American business. Turning around its record on women, the new administrators assured themselves, could have an untold impact at other business schools, at companies populated by Harvard alumni and in the Fortune 500, where only 21 chief executives are women. The institution would become a laboratory for studying how women speak in group settings, the links between romantic relationships and professional status, and the use of everyday measurement tools to reduce bias.

“We have to lead the way, and then lead the world in doing it,” said Frances Frei, her words suggesting the school’s sense of mission but also its self-regard. Ms. Frei, a popular professor turned administrator who had become a target of student ire, was known for the word “unapologetic,” as in: we are unapologetic about the changes we are making.

By graduation, the school had become a markedly better place for female students, according to interviews with more than 70 professors, administrators and students, who cited more women participating in class, record numbers of women winning academic awards and a much-improved environment, down to the male students drifting through the cafeteria wearing T-shirts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the admission of women. Women at the school finally felt like, “ ‘Hey, people like me are an equal part of this institution,’ ” said Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a longtime professor.

And yet even the deans pointed out that the experiment had brought unintended consequences and brand new issues. The grade gap had vaporized so fast that no one could quite say how it had happened. The interventions had prompted some students to revolt, wearing “Unapologetic” T-shirts to lacerate Ms. Frei for what they called intrusive social engineering. Twenty-seven-year-olds felt like they were “back in kindergarten or first grade,” said Sri Batchu, one of the graduating men.

Students were demanding more women on the faculty, a request the deans were struggling to fulfill. And they did not know what to do about developments like female students dressing as Playboy bunnies for parties and taking up the same sexual rating games as men. “At each turn, questions come up that we’ve never thought about before,” Nitin Nohria, the new dean, said in an interview.

The administrators had no sense of whether their lessons would last once their charges left campus. As faculty members pointed out, the more exquisitely gender-sensitive the school environment became, the less resemblance it bore to the real business world. “Are we trying to change the world 900 students at a time, or are we preparing students for the world in which they are about to go?” a female professor asked.
Well, naturally. These Harvard hacks are Stalinist bureaucrats implementing five-year plans. They're infantilizing fully-grown adults and attempting to crush their individuality and creativity in order to squeeze them into their self-described Utopian one-size-fits-all laboratory boxes. It's obscene.

Now, it's a long piece and folks need to read it all.

Part of the program's reengineering is the focus on women faculty members, who are considered badly disadvantaged relative to men, who've often had long careers in real world business, compared to most of the women who were academics. Administrators have bored down on improving the teaching ability of these women, recall with those private coaches and by jettisoning the famed HBS case-study method in favor of scripted "Field" groupings that assign students into problem-solving teams to avoid the kind of cold-calling case teaching made famous by John Houseman's character, Professor Kingsfield, in "The Paper Chase." Inexplicably (really, administrators can't say why), faculty evaluations improved dramatically for the female members of the school. (Perhaps teaching evaluations went up along with student grades, you know, with those "stenographers" installed in every classroom like Communist Party apparatchiks to equalize student performance in the classic mode of egalitarian leveling.)

But of note more than anything is that so much of the problems at HBS are the things that can't be easily controlled by administrative fiat. There's a huge hierarchy of wealth and prestige among students attending. Surely if administrators could destroy these inequalities they would, but the sources of such difference originate outside the confines of the campus laboratory. Women students realized that much of their success would be climbing these social ladders and making connections beyond the classroom.

The article implies that this isn't such a great thing but in the real world, outside of such rarified laboratories, it's called "networking." Moreover, women are judged on their physical attractiveness, which proves that even the most determined gender feminist administrators will always contend with that most sublime human lottery known as the gene pool. And one of the most successful women of the class, Brooke Boyarsky, was something of an ugly duckling who figured out that to succeed she had to both blow off hopes of winning the hotness factor sweepstakes while simultaneously losing 100 pounds as she made her way through the program, eventually turning herself the woman who everyone wanted to emulate. In other words, she grew personally and adapted, just like anyone does in any challenging environment. The article doesn't credit the administration's gender equality enforcement as the basis for Ms. Boyasky's success. It was her own willingness to break out personally and open up about painful issues of social acceptance. She gave a speech at the concluding Baker Scholars Luncheon, where only the top 5 percent of the class are invited. Her theme was to discuss how she developed the courage to overcome painful obstacles to change.

But again, Ms. Boyarsky's successes aren't credited to the gender equality experiment. It looks more like she simply bucked herself up and stood tall against the competition. That's what happens in a place you'd expect to be predicated on excellence, like Harvard.

In any case, one more thing really sticks out about story, and that's the situation with Professor Frances Frei, who is described at the beginning of the piece as sparking "student ire" for her militant stand as "unapologetic about the changes we are making." There's more on Professor Frei deeper into the article, at the beginning of the section titled, "A Lopsided Situation":
Even on the coldest nights of early 2013, Ms. Frei walked home from campus, clutching her iPhone and listening to a set of recordings made earlier in the day. Once her two small sons were in bed, she settled at her dining table, wearing pajamas and nursing a glass of wine, and fired up the digital files on her laptop. “Really? Again?” her wife, Anne Morriss, would ask.

Ms. Frei been promoted to dean of faculty recruiting, and she was on a quest to bolster the number of female professors, who made up a fifth of the tenured faculty. Female teachers, especially untenured ones, had faced various troubles over the years: uncertainty over maternity leave, a lack of opportunities to write papers with senior professors, and students who destroyed their confidence by pelting them with math questions they could not answer on the spot or commenting on what they wore.

“As a female faculty member, you are in an incredibly hostile teaching environment, and they do nothing to protect you,” said one woman who left without tenure. A current teacher said she was so afraid of a “wardrobe malfunction” that she wore only custom suits in class, her tops invisibly secured to her skin with double-sided tape.

Now Ms. Frei, the guardian of the female junior faculty, was watching virtually every minute of every class some of them taught, delivering tips on how to do better in the next class. She barred other professors from giving them advice, lest they get confused. But even some of Ms. Frei’s allies were dubious.
That passage does a lot of explanatory work. Notice that without any fanfare the piece slips in the bit about Professor Frei's wife, Anne Morris, with which she has "two small sons." It's all so casual to be unexceptional, that is, if you're a New York Times correspondent or a faculty member at Harvard University.

Professor Frei's pictured second from right at the photo below (from the article), although I'm sure readers would figure out so much on the basis of (an obvious) stereotypical assessment as to which of these four best fits the model of the crusading queer feminist smashing the hetero-normative gender hegemonies of America's hetero-patriarchical social order. Seriously, a chunky butch lesbian dressed like a man? No wonder the woman's generating all that "student ire." She ramming the "radicalism of the women’s movement" right down the throat of every business student in the program.

 photo hbs-web-3_zps2dbcd181.jpg

Professor Frei's administrative style might be called "jackboot helicopter mentoring." She uses loaded feminist terminology such as the purported "incredibly hostile environment" to justify an authority profile in which she literally controls faculty outcomes herself, from "watching virtually every minute of every class" to barring "other professors" from giving advice to female faculty members, lest they be "confused" by their mansplaining troglodyte colleagues. (And I love how she considers herself a "guardian," an image of control that could be ripped perfectly from the totalitarian system of Plato's "Republic.")

And it bears noting that HBS is considered the premiere business school in the nation, but here you have top administrators who are essentially cultural Marxists whose main goal is smashing the capitalist-embedded systems of male domination, gender apartheid, and alleged epidemic cultures of sexual harassment. It all boggles the mind. Reading the stories of female students who arrived at HBS after very successful undergraduate careers and business experience, it makes sense that they asked themselves if they "had made a bad choice." One is Neda Navab, the "daughter of Iranian immigrants" who'd "been the president of her class at Columbia, advised chief executives as a McKinsey & Company consultant and trained women as entrepreneurs in Rwanda." She was shocked to find, in 2011, that a women's seminar on learning how to raise one's hand to be recognized was considered conducting "an assault on the school’s most urgent gender-related challenge."

No kidding. Behold regressive leftism at its most infantilizing manifestation.

I personally would be very hesitant to recommend any student for Harvard Business School, to say nothing of any major radically-submerged institution of higher education. But at least with the Harvard case study we have hard proof that fish indeed rot from the head down.