What Could the Presidential Search Committee Be Doing for 7 Hours in Suburbia?

The committee flees the gritty streets of Cambridge to  bucolic Belmont, Mass in some suburban Chevy Suburbans.
The committee flees the gritty streets of Cambridge to bucolic Belmont, Mass in some suburban Chevy Suburbans. By Derek G. Xiao

In case you missed it, The Crimson reported this weekend on a clandestine meeting held by some members of the committee tasked with selecting Harvard’s next president. The search committee escaped the gritty streets of Cambridge to the safe haven of Belmont, Mass. on Saturday, and left us with a few (albeit very suburban) clues: a Chevy Suburban, a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” balloon, and a Vineyard Vines t-shirt. But what were they doing in Belmont for the day? Well, probably some business related to the presidential search, but with them being so hush-hush and tightly secured, one can only speculate. Here are Flyby’s guesses as to what fifteen Harvard overseers could have been up to for seven hours in suburbia.

Holding a Final Club Victory Celebration

It took Harvard’s administration nearly two years to shut the book on a debate about campus social groups. In the fall, the Harvard Corporation—whose members sit on the search committee—voted decisively to penalize members of social groups starting with the Class of 2021 (for more on that, read this explainer). It’s only right that after such a long, involved saga, some of Harvard’s top honchos would get together for a ~boozy~ day of commemoration for what will go down in history as one of President Faust’s main accomplishments. But notably missing from the meeting Saturday (as far as we can tell) were Faust and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana…

Throwing Shade

Everyone knows that Harvardians love to throw shade. Could the committee members have eschewed the work of picking the next president for a day to lament the fact that the social group saga took up almost two years of Harvard’s time? And if they went all the way to the suburbs for a day-long gossip sesh, we can bet, in true wine mom fashion, that they spilled as much tea as they drank in rosé.

Comparing Golf Strokes

While previous weeks’ bomb cyclone doesn’t make for great golfing weather, simulators go for about $5,000, and readily fit in a $2.5 million Belmont home, at least more readily than in the committee’s usual meeting place, Loeb House. They would have had time for at least one round of golf, with breaks for lemonade.

Having a Legally Blonde Movie Marathon

The entire franchise—Legally Blonde (96 minutes), Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde (95 minutes), Legally Blondes (82 minutes—if they were really ambitious)—can be binged in about four and a half hours. While we can’t really imagine billionaire and private equity tycoon David M. Rubenstein ‘bend-and-snap’ping, he could plausibly rock a pink blazer for this not-so-elitist movie marathon.

Actually Celebrating a Birthday

We’re big fans of political intrigue, so we’ve wondered in the past few days if the “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” balloon outside of Harvard overseer Tracy P. Palandjian’s ‘93 house was a red herring, designed to throw off The Crimson’s “nosy reporters.” After all, Faust has mused in the past about pulling out all the stops to evade us in the last presidential search. But it’s more likely the committee members—who we imagine are buds, if not besties IRL—were celebrating a birthday, with cake, candles and all. They probably didn’t want the quinquagenarian birthday boy or girl’s age getting out, hence the ridiculously tight security measures, and paparazzi-proof face coverage as they left.

Well, so long as the committee remains hidden behind black-tinted SUV windows, all we can do is see their suburban activities through rose-colored glasses.

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