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Harvard Boards Meet on Campus to Discuss Corporation Vacancies, Presidential Search

Harvard's governing boards are meeting over the weekend for their first in-person deliberations since former President Claudine Gay's resignation.
Harvard's governing boards are meeting over the weekend for their first in-person deliberations since former President Claudine Gay's resignation. By Truong L. Nguyen
By Emma H. Haidar and Cam E. Kettles, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard’s governing boards are on campus over the weekend for their first in-person deliberations since former President Claudine Gay’s resignation last month, according to a person with knowledge of the meetings.

The meetings will likely be consequential for Harvard, which is still reeling from Gay’s sudden decision to step down and searching for a way out of its ongoing leadership crisis. On Saturday, the boards gathered at the Harvard Faculty Club.

The boards are expected to discuss the presidential search for Gay’s permanent successor and vacancies on the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body.

There is currently an empty seat around the table where the Corporation meets in Loeb House. Another chair will soon be vacated when Paul J. Finnegan, the University’s longtime former treasurer, is required to step down the board at the end of June due to term limits.

The Corporation is likely waiting to officially announce a presidential search committee until it fills the two vacancies as those new appointments will be expected to participate in the search.

In the weeks since Gay’s resignation, the role of Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker ’81 has come under intense scrutiny. Despite calls to resign, Pritzker has appeared determined to help steer the University through its second presidential search in as many years.

In January, she released a statement pledging to remain in her role as senior fellow, rebuffing some prominent donors and alumni who wanted her to step down. There is no formal mechanism for the Board of Overseers — the second highest governing body — or the Corporation to remove Pritzker for her post.

Both boards will also meet with interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 for the first time since his appointment. They are expected to discuss Harvard’s “number of crises,” as Garber described it in a Wednesday interview with The Crimson.

The Corporation last convened in person on Dec. 12, as former President Claudine Gay faced mounting pressure to resign following her widely criticized congressional testimony. After the meeting, the board issued a statement in unanimous support of Gay.

The Corporation’s image of unity showed signs of weakness over winter break, with media outlets publishing accounts of waning support for Gay among certain members of the board. Gay later resigned on a Jan. 27 phone call with Pritzker, after Gay concluded she had lost the governing board’s support.

—Staff writer Emma H. Haidar can be reached at emma.haidar@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @HaidarEmma.

—Staff writer Cam E. Kettles can be reached at cam.kettles@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @cam_kettles or on Threads @camkettles.

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Central AdministrationHarvard CorporationUniversityUniversity NewsAlan GarberBoard of OverseersPresidential SearchLeadership Crisis