Tomorrow's New York Times carries a story on women candidates for the presidency of Harvard, including Amy Gutmann, the president of the University of Pennsylvania.
Penn president Amy Gutmann with a student at her annual Halloween party, October 31, 2006.
In early November, I broke the story on this blog that President Gutmann posed at her annual Halloween party with a student dressed as a suicide bomber. The story made the news around the world, and immediately some speculated that her chances for replacing ousted Harvard president Lawrence Summers would be hurt by the photos.
Here's how the Times sums up the photo's influence on her chances:
If Dr. Gutmann, who graduated from Harvard and was once provost at Princeton, did have an interest in the position, her chances were probably not enhanced by a photograph that preoccupied bloggers for a few days in early November that showed her posing with a student dressed as a suicide bomber at an annual Halloween party. Dr. Gutmann herself dressed up as Glinda the Good Witch.
She said afterward that she had been taking pictures with many students and that the moment she realized the nature of the student's costume, she declined to be in any more photos with him.
It also notes that Gutmann, along with others, denied any interest in moving to Cambridge:
Many candidates whose names became public were quick to assure their current employers of their lack of interest in the post and their zeal for their current job.
"President Tilghman has consistently said she believes she has the best job in academia," said Cass Cliatt, a Princeton spokeswoman.
Dr. Gutmann told the Board of Trustees at the University of Pennsylvania, "I will say it for the last time: I am absolutely committed to being Penn's president, and I am not interested in any other presidency," according to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the student newspaper.
Lori N. Doyle, a spokeswoman for Dr. Gutmann, confirmed the president's remarks. "Just because someone's name is on the list doesn't mean they are interested in the position," Ms. Doyle said.
Will Harvard tap someone whose judgment is so lacking, and whose adherence to politically correct mores so firm, that she unhesitatingly smiled for the camera with someone dressed as a wanton killer? The point I made then is one I would reiterate today: Would Gutmann have posed with a guest--or even allowed him into her house--if he'd dressed as Adolf Hitler or a Nazi SS officer? A KKK member? To ask the question is, one hopes, to answer it.