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Harvard rescinds visiting fellow invitation to Chelsea Manning

Harvard rescinds visiting fellow invitation to Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning lost her Harvard fellow title after controversy

Following pressure and criticism, Harvard University rescinded its invitation for Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow in the upcoming year.

While Manning will still be able to visit the school for a day, she will no longer receive the title of visiting fellow. This title is given to those ‘who spend more than a few hours at the School,’ Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of Harvard Kennedy School, wrote in a blog post.

‘However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,’ he continued.

She will still be invited to speak at the Forum with students, but Elmendorf stresses ‘the perceived honor’ the title implies and why it’s being retracted.

‘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.’

Outside pressure

Other visiting fellows this academic year include Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager. However, it was Manning who received the most controversy.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo decided to withdraw from the Forum after Manning’s invitation. He called Manning an ‘American traitor’ in a letter written to Harvard and posted to Twitter.

The letter further states his ‘conscience and duty to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency will not permit me to betray their trust by appearing to support Harvard’s decision’.

He also makes a point to state it has nothing to do with Manning being transgender. Instead, it is about ‘her identity as a traitor’.

Manning served seven years in prison after releasing classified government information with WikiLeaks. Former President Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence and she was released in May.

Pompeo was not the only one, either.

Former CIA Chief Michael Morell also resigned as a Harvard senior fellow over the invitation.

To her credit, Manning handled the whole situation with aplomb. Last night, she tweeted she was ‘honored’ to be the first ‘disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard’.

She also warned ‘this is what a military/police/intel state looks like … the @cia determines what is and is not taught at @harvard’, not giving up her voice.

ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio chimed in, calling the decision to rescind the title ‘disgraceful’.