You may have heard that Larry Summers, Barack Obama's chief economic advisor, has a controversial past. In 2006, protesters at Harvard University demanded he resign as president after he made remarks suggesting women were congenitally dumb. So what did Summers do?
Oh, sure, he resigned. But he then proceeded to not leave. This despite being on sabbatical, which is how colleges pay professors who have become annoying to go away and work on something else until they stop being annoying. A New York Times profile recounts how Summers hung out on Harvard's campus like a fifth-year student who refuses to graduate:
After his five-year Harvard presidency, Mr. Summers at first seemed to have trouble letting go, colleagues and staff members say. He was on sabbatical but still roamed campus, especially the residential houses and pizza parties of undergraduates, who adored him so much they gave him a standing ovation at the next year’s graduation. He tried to fashion himself into an authority on reform of higher education, starting a book and giving blistering talks that amounted to a defense of his leadership.
Mr. Summers had recently married Elisa New, an English professor, and he bought a 6,500-square foot house and took up golf. “I had been in positions for 15 years when I had a full schedule for every day and a briefing book,” he said, “and I wanted for some interval to have a flexible and freer life.”
Yes, college was great. We remember the flexible and freer life like it was yesterday! And Summers is a fun guy, which is fun. But there's a reason why alumni associations have these formal, staged events where graduates are allowed back on campus: to avoid the undignified scene of a 52-year-old dude chowing down on pizza with coeds.
Barack, warn the Secret Service: Even if the economic-advisor gig doesn't work out, this guy is going to try to camp out at the White House for years.
(Photo by Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)