Shapiro shapes new role after presidency

Nov. 10, 2003 10:41 a.m.

It was an hour into a seminar on bioethics and public policy, and the professor was stoking the debate. How do democracies protect the rights of those with minority views, he asked. What about students who promote their perspective by staging a sit-in in the office of a university president?

"It's a fundamentally violent act," said one young man, asserting there was no clear line between breaking rules and causing physical harm.

"I think it's selfish; I don't necessarily see it as violent," countered another.

The students traded ideas, showing no unease that the professor at the center of the table was Harold T. Shapiro, who in his 13 years as president of Princeton University and eight as president of the University of Michigan faced more than one student sit-in and accumulated a wealth of experience in managing opposing views.

In the two years since he stepped down from the presidency, Shapiro has been drawing on his background in small ways and large. He has immersed himself in teaching, research and public service and is quickly building a new set of accomplishments in each of those areas.

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Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601