Although the timing was a coincidence, the simultaneity of the activities symbolized Kennedy's inability to quell, through personal response, the indirect costs controversy that has plagued the U.S. academic world for the past several months--a controversy that Kennedy and his institution principally precipitated.

His peers in academe note that failure even as they give expression to their sympathy. "The events of the past year are a sorry climax to a brilliant career," says Richard Atkinson, chancellor of the University of California, San Diego. In the opinion of Donald Langenberg, chancellor of the University of Maryland, "it's terribly unfortunate that a concatenation of events, including indirect costs, led him to conclude that it would be best to step down." And Derek Bok, who recently retired after 20 years as president of Harvard University, issued a statement saying that "the difficult events of the last year should not obscure the great contributions...

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