Wednesday, June 5, 2013

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Chief under Scrutiny

The Boston Globe reports that Leslie Berlowitz, President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, misrepresented that she held a doctoral degree from NYU on at least two grant applications filed with the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The story also asserts that she misstated her work history at the school.  Purported copies of the grant applications were made available here.  The Globe further notes that “[i]ncluding false information in federal grant applications … could potentially violate two separate statutes.” 

In addition, the Globe reports that Berlowitz’s total compensation was almost $598,000 for the fiscal year ending March 2012, and that she “also frequently travels first class, dines on meals prepared by the academy’s caterer, and requires staff to chauffeur her between the office and her apartment building along the Charles River in Cambridge, according to former board members and employees.” Will disclosure of this information prompt a governmental inquiry?  It is too early to tell. The Globe continues:

[Massachusetts] Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is charged with overseeing charities in Massachusetts, declined to say Tuesday whether she planned to examine Berlowitz’s pay, which the Globe found to be higher than the salary of most college presidents.

For a presentation of the facts that is more favorable to Berlowitz’s actions, see this coverage in the New York Times.  The Times reports that Louis W. Cabot, chairman of the Academy’s executive board, describes Berlowitz as having the board’s “unqualified support.”  Further, according to both newspaper accounts, the Academy blames the misstatements on a staff error and states that Berlowitz’s résumé on file with her employer does not contain the inaccurate information. 


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