Thursday, June 20, 2013

Waving Bye-Bye to Berlowitz

"Academy’s council added its chief to honoree list; 2004 selection, executive’s role in annual process draw criticism" by Todd Wallack |  Globe Staff, June 18, 2013

Every year, members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge spend months sifting through nominations to find some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, artists, and leaders to join their institution.

And 2004 was no exception. The class of more than 200, elected by members and announced in the spring, included a US senator, the president of Duke University, and the future head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

But shortly before the formal induction ceremony in October, the academy’s governing council decided to add just one more name of its own: the nonprofit’s chief executive, Leslie Cohen Berlowitz.

The academy then quietly inserted Berlowitz’s name into the original six-month-old announcement, a spokesman acknowledged, making it look as though Berlowitz had been voted in along with everyone else in the spring.

“It was a terrible thing to do,” Stanford University history professor emeritus Peter Stansky, a former council member, said of the decision to alter the April press release. “It’s a lie.”

For more than two centuries, the academy has honored excellence by promoting scholarship and selecting the best of the best to join its ranks. But members say they are worried about the integrity of the institution’s most important traditions, following allegations that Berlowitz inflated her resume, was overpaid, belittled staff, and micromanaged every aspect of the organization, including the elections.

The controversy threatens to overshadow one of the academy’s highest-profile projects, a blue-ribbon commission report to be released Wednesday that will push for more funding for the liberal arts....

Berlowitz, who has run the institution for 17 years, began a paid leave a week ago after The Boston Globe reported that she falsely claimed to have a doctorate and that her work history was misstated in at least three grant applications to the National Endowment of the Humanities. The academy board hired a Boston law firm to investigate, and the endowment referred the matter to its inspector general.

Since then, officials at two other organizations that provided the academy with financial support — the US Department of Energy and the Carnegie Corp. of New York — confirmed they are also looking into whether the academy provided false information on grant applications.

In her first comments since the Globe reported problems with her resume, Berlowitz, 69, said she was deeply troubled that “the current debate has become a distraction for the academy.”

“I never intentionally misrepresented my accomplishments to obtain an improper benefit for the academy or for myself,” Berlowitz said in a prepared statement. “I accept responsibility for any materials that may have left an incorrect impression of my record.”

An academy spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on the concerns about her resume, her treatment of employees, or her 2012 pay of $598,000 while an investigation is underway.

There is plenty of money out there, folks; it's just all at the top. 

Speaking of....

The controversy over Berlowitz is a striking departure from the academy’s proud history. It was founded by John Adams and other prominent citizens in 1780, a date that is prominently displayed on the institution’s logo and front doors....

Since Berlowitz took over, the number of business executives and philanthropists admitted each year has risen from roughly seven to 11, including philanthropist Teresa Heinz Kerry, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and former Liberty Mutual chief Edmund F. Kelly.

I different kind of KKK. 

Also see: 

The Land of Liberty

Liberty Mutual, MassMutual CEOs won big pay boosts

The Kerry Confirmation

Did you know he has a brother?

The Kraft Curse
We will have to see what this season brings, 'eh?

“Honoring the mere accumulation of wealth taints the honor of authentic achievements in the arts and sciences,” said James Miller, a former editor of the academy’s scholarly journal, Daedalus. “It’s supposed to be an academy, not a highfalutin club for the leisure class.”

That's why my agenda-pushing corporate and elite paper loves nonprofits and the arts and all the other things that are the provincial playgrounds of the privileged class. 

Speaking of....

An academy spokesman, however, noted that the institution has always included business leaders. The honorary society has also elected many others outside academia, including former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, rock star Bruce Springsteen, actress Sally Field, and former Globe editor Martin Baron. 

God, I'm so sick of the corporate culture of celebrity and its pimping pre$$ as they rob us all blind.

Still, the expanded corporate membership has brought undeniable financial benefits....

Certainly has for Berlowitz.

For example, Boston Scientific Corp. cofounder Peter Nicholas, who became a fellow in 1999, gave $2.4 million during the period.

And they are cutting jobs?

John Cogan, a Boston investment executive who joined the academy in 2005, gave $1.9 million. And Gershon Kekst, who founded a prominent Wall Street communications firm and was elected in 2006, gave $1 million through his family’s foundation.

Ray Howell, the academy spokesman, the academy spokesman, noted that philanthropists and business leaders are typically among the most generous donors for nonprofits, but he declined to say who picked the executives to appear on the academy’s ballot or what criteria they used. Several members said they did not know either.


"the nonprofit provides new ways for corporations and individuals to influence"

What, they aren't li$tened to enough already?

Critics say the lack of information about the academy is part of a larger pattern under Berlowitz of increasing secrecy and retreating from a historic mission of serving the public.

It's ENDEMIC ACROSS ALL ELITE INSTITUTIONS while YOU must $ubmit to TOTAL $URVEILLANCE, average American, because THIS GOVERNMENT and its string-masters CONSIDERS YOU a possible "terrorist."

Three years ago, the academy started limiting neighbors’ access to the grounds — 5.1 acres of wooded land leased from Harvard University near the school’s campus — until the city of Cambridge intervened. The main building and gardens are still ringed today with signs noting it is a “private area,” and many academy events are closed to the public....

In addition, the academy has continued to lock away most of its historic archives, including letters from George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. That is despite the fact that the academy raised at least $500,000 for a new facility, finished in 2007, to make the collection available to “scholars and others.”

I suppose $camming is a $cience, too.


Howell, the academy spokesman, said the archives are gradually being put online, but the physical collection is not open to the public. 

Now they are acting like the keepers of holohoax records. 

He said the organization referred Jenny Andersson — a researcher at Sciences Po, a leading social sciences research center in Paris — said she has been trying for four years to get access to papers in the collection related to Harvard sociologist Daniel Bell, to other sources instead.

Related: Daniel Bell, noted Harvard sociologist, dies

An elite Jew who worked with neo-con godfather Irving Kristol? 

But much of the criticism of the academy centers around Berlowitz, a native New Yorker who took over as chief executive in 1996....

And also told a fib about her Holocaust experience!


RelatedBerlowitz the Bully

Also see:

Academy of Arts and Sciences needs a new, untainted leader
It’s time for Leslie Berlowitz to step down 

It might be time for me, too. I'm so far behind and so tired and unenthusiastic about the daily dose of Boston Globe bung dung.