Harvard Folds on Chelsea Manning

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/09/15/harvard-folds-on-chelsea-manning/

Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has withdrawn Chelsea Manning’s appointment as a visiting fellow, after enduring heavy criticism.

The dean, Douglas W. Elmendorf, posted a statement on the school’s web site just after midnight Friday calling the appointment “a mistake.”

In the letter, Elmendorf said that “in general” the school does not consider the title “fellow” as an honor, but rather as a description of people invited to spend more than just a few hours at the school. Manning was invited to spend the day.

But the dean acknowledged that many observers assume the title is an honor.

“Therefore, we are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow — and the perceived honor that it implies to some people — while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum. I apologize to her and to the many concerned people from whom I have heard today for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation,” Ebensdorf wrote.

The letter doesn’t say what Manning did that merited having the title “fellow” taken away.

Manning, a former U.S. Army specialist, leaked several hundred thousand classified military documents and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Barack Obama commuted the sentence, and Manning was subsequently released.

Born a biological male, the former Bradley Manning announced while in prison that Manning is transgender, and began therapy to transition to life as a woman.

Harvard announced the appointment of Manning as a visiting fellow on Wednesday. On Thursday, Michael Morell, a senior fellow at the Kennedy School and former CIA deputy director, resigned from the school in protest. The current CIA director, Mike Pompeo, withdrew from a planned appearance at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.

Manning tweeted early Friday about being “honored to be [the] 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow” and that “they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure.”