I realize that three percent of a half-a-mill is not insignificant, but in the scheme of things, it may cost Harvard president Larry Summers his job. Yesterday’s resignation of Conrad Harper, a prominent African-American member of the Harvard Corporation, may be the tipping point that ends Mr. Summers’ troubled tenure at the helm of America’s most famous university. In his resignation letter, Mr. Harper cited Mr. Summers’ three percent pay raise as one of the reasons for his continued dissatisfaction with Harvard’s leader.
Clearly, Mr. Summers is sufficiently savvy to realize the impact a salary increase would have on his public posture after the scandalous events of the last year. Or is he? At the risk of playing Monday morning quarterback, he should have publicly rejected any salary increase to fortify his standing with the university. Let’s see what his fate holds now.