BREAKING: Harvard Rescinds Visiting Fellowship for Chelsea Manning

Harvard University has rescinded its invitation to have Bradley Chelsea Manning serve as a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School for Government. The move comes after former CIA deputy director Michael Morell resigned his post at the school over the invitation of convicted spy Manning.

Morell’s statement read, in part:

“Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk. Upon her conviction, then Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Dutch Puppersberger, the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee at the time, praised the verdict, saying ‘justice has been served today’. They added, ‘PFC.Manning harmed our national security, violated the public’s trust and now stands convicted of multiple serious crimes’”

In a statement, Douglas Elemendorf, Dean of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, explained both the reasons for inviting and disinviting Manning:

We invited Chelsea Manning because the Kennedy School’s longstanding approach to visiting speakers is to invite some people who have significantly influenced events in the world even if they do not share our values and even if their actions or words are abhorrent to some members of our community. We do this not to endorse those actions or legitimize those words, but because engaging with people with fundamentally different worldviews can help us to become better public leaders.

[…]

We invited Chelsea Manning to spend a day at the Kennedy School. Specifically, we invited her to meet with students and others who are interested in talking with her, and then to give remarks in the Forum where the audience would have ample opportunity—as with all of our speakers—to ask hard questions and challenge what she has said and done. On that basis, we also named Chelsea Manning a Visiting Fellow. We did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honor or endorse any Fellow.

However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility. I still think that having her speak in the Forum and talk with students is consistent with our longstanding approach, which puts great emphasis on the value of hearing from a diverse collection of people. But I see more clearly now that many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations.

Manning’s reaction of course reflects no understanding of the controversy surrounding her conviction but instead blames the “military/police/intel state”:

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Chris Queen

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