Harvard rescinds Chelsea Manning’s visiting fellow title
by Leigh Jones
Posted 9/15/17, 10:42 am
Harvard University on Friday revoked the visiting fellow designation it bestowed the day before on Chelsea Manning, the transgender former soldier convicted of leaking classified documents. The decision came after CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled a planned appearance at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Mike Morell, a former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, resigned his senior fellow post at the school. Douglas Elmendorf, the school’s dean, apologized and admitted school administrators did not recognize “the full implications of our original invitation.” Harvard did not intend to honor or endorse Manning, Elmendorf said. But Manning’s invitation to spend a day on campus still stands. The former U.S. Army soldier served seven years of a 35-year sentence for giving classified documents to WikiLeaks. President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in his last days in office. While in prison, Manning began using the name Chelsea and announced a plan to transition from male to female. In a response posted on Twitter, Manning suggested disdain for transgender people pushed Harvard to rescind its visiting fellow designation. But in his letter to school officials canceling his Thursday speech, Pompeo insisted Manning’s transgender identity had nothing to do with it. “It has everything to do with her identity as a traitor to the United States of America and my loyalty to the officers of the CIA,” Pompeo said. Morell expressed similar dismay, saying he could not be part of an organization that “honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.