University President Bows Out of Race for Bay State Governor


BOSTON University President John Silber announced last week that he will not enter the Massachusetts governor's race this fall.

Ending weeks of speculation, Mr. Silber told a packed room of supporters that his work at the university is not yet finished. Silber also said the glare of publicity during a gubernatorial campaign could ultimately hurt the university.

``If I run for office while maintaining my position at Boston University, those who oppose me may also attack the university in an effort to discredit me,'' Silber said. ``It has happened in the past, and I fear it would happen again. Consequently, I cannot enter a race for public office until my administration of Boston University has been completed, and the leadership has passed to someone else.''

While the university president said he would not enter the Bay State's gubernatorial contest, he said he does plan to run for public office sometime in the future, though he did not specify when that might be or for what office.

Silber did say, however, that the next time he gathers all of his supporters together, it will be for a fund-raiser.

Silber's decision not to enter the race may well stem from a controversy regarding the sale of a Boston University-controlled medical-diagnostics company.

The matter prompted an investigation by Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger amid suspicion that Silber may have benefited personally from the sale. The attorney general concluded that there had been no violation of the law.

During his 1990 run for governor, Silber gained widespread name recognition in Massachusetts. That year, Silber ran a lively campaign as the winner of the Democratic primary. Yet he alienated many groups by his candid and sometimes biting comments, that came to be known as ``Silber Shockers.'' Silber lost the race to current Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R).

So far, only two Democrats - state Sens. Michael Barrett and Mark Roosevelt - have said they intend to enter the gubernatorial race. Former mayor Raymond Flynn has returned to Boston to meet with supporters this week, and a former aide says he is considering a run for governor. Governor Weld, who will be running for a second term, continues to enjoy strong popular appeal.

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