[Larry] Summers' job is partly to enhance, but mostly to protect, one of the world's most valuable brand names. "Harvard" stands for "intelligence," extreme far right edge of the IQ Bell Curve smarts. America is increasingly stratified by IQ, and the resulting class war that the clever are waging upon the clueless means that having Harvard's endorsement of your brainpower is ever more desirable. Thus, applications and SAT scores have skyrocketed over the last half century.
Yet, Harvard's IQ elitism sharply contradicts its professed egalitarianism. The typical Harvard professor or student considers himself superior to ordinary folks for two conflicting reasons: first, he constantly proclaims his belief in human equality, but they don't; and second, he has a high IQ, but they don't.
Further, he believes his brains weren't the luck of his genes. No, he earned them. Which in turn means he feels that dumb people deserve to be dumb.
Ivy League presidents aren't much worried that the left half of the Bell Curve will get themselves well enough organized to challenge the hegemony of the IQ overclass. No, what they fear is opposition to their use of IQ sorting mechanisms, such as the politically incorrect but crucial SAT, from those identity politics pressure groups who perform below average in a pure meritocracy, such as women, blacks, and Hispanics. But, they each boast enough high IQ activists, like Nancy Hopkins, to make trouble for prestige universities.
So, Harvard, like virtually all famous universities, buys off females and minorities with "a commitment to diversity" — in other words, quotas. By boosting less competent women, blacks and Hispanics at the expense of the more marginal men, whites, and Asians, Harvard preserves most of its freedom to continue to discriminate ruthlessly on IQ.
What is obviously in the best interest of Harvard, and of the IQ aristocracy in general, is for everybody just to shut up about group differences in intelligence. Stifling arguments allows the IQ upper class to quietly push its interests at the expense of everyone else. So, Summers bought peace fast.
Of course, the $50 million Larry handed to Drew Gilpin Faust as reparations didn't save his job, but it did help Dr. Faust acquire the presidency of Harvard. (By the way, you've got to hand it to Ms. Gilpin Faust: she can play the feminist resentment card or she can play the feminine wiles card. Her early career at Penn was, let's just say, not hurt when, as a young woman, she divorced her first husband and married the chairman of her department.)
What terrifies elite universities is the kind of anti-discrimination solution imposed on many fire departments, such as in Chicago where the hiring test has been made so easy that about 96% of white applicants pass, after which fire cadets are chosen at random.