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In his newly released resignation letter, a member of Harvard’s top governing board said he was angered both by the university president’s comments about women and by his being given a 3 percent salary raise. Harvard Corporation member Conrad K. Harper said in the letter released Monday that his concerns “came to a head” when the Harvard Corporation decided last month to boost President Lawrence H. Summers’ salary to about $580,000. “I could not and cannot support a raise in your salary,” Harper wrote to Summers, announcing that he was stepping down. “I believe that Harvard’s best interests require your resignation.” At a conference in January, Summers said that differences in men’s and women’s abilities may partly explain why fewer women are in line for top science jobs. He later apologized and committed Harvard to spend $50 million on gender equity programs recommended by two task forces he appointed. “I saw a pattern,” Harper told Summers in his resignation letter, dated July 14. “Your statements demeaned those who are underrepresented at the top levels of major research universities.” Harper’s departure became public last week, but he declined to disclose the reason or provide a copy of his resignation letter. However, he said Harvard was free to release the letter if it chose. Harper, who is black, was the only minority on the board. He was elected to the board five years ago and was on the search committee that selected Summers in 2001. A 1965 graduate of Harvard Law School, Harper is a partner at the New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. In response to Harper’s letter, Summers thanked him for his service on the board and stressed his commitment to diversity at Harvard. “Expanding opportunities for outstanding individuals from groups that are traditionally underrepresented is of fundamental importance to the University,” Summers wrote in a letter dated Monday. “You have contributed significantly to the work of the University,” Summers wrote, “and your advice and counsel will be missed.” Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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