Chelsea Mourning: Harvard Students in a Snit over Her Cancellation as a Fellow

Well, maybe “fellow” isn’t such a good title, either.

In any case, Harvard students know oppression, imperialism, capitalism, and heteronormativity when they see it, and they are shouting back.

Here’s the headline in the student newspaper:

Outcry After Chelsea Manning Dropped from IOP Fellowship (The Crimson, Harvard)

Controversy enveloped the Kennedy School of Government this weekend as critics on campus and around the country castigated the school for rescinding Chelsea Manning’s appointment as a visiting fellow this fall.

Facing criticism on-campus and nationwide, Dean of the Kennedy School Douglas W. Elmendorf rescinded Manning’s invitation in a statement issued in the early hours of Friday, calling her selection a “mistake.”

Now the school faces a fresh wave of controversy as commentators lambast Harvard’s decision to disinvite Manning, a transgender activist whose prison sentence former President Barack Obama commuted in 2017. –The Crimson


The Aggrieved Left Pushes Back

They and Chelsea Manning are “Victims”

The pushback from the campus left, which now sees itself in its preferred position of “blameless victim,” includes a letter condemning the university for dropping the Manning offer:

In light of her selfless sacrifices as a whistleblower, her dedication to the truth, and her commitment to human rights, we call upon the Harvard Kennedy School to reinstate Chelsea Manning’s designation as a fellow at the Institute of Politics,” read the letter, signed by the Trans Task Force, the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and the Anti-Islamophobia Network, among several other groups. –Letter from student organizations supporting Chelsea Manning appointment at Harvard, quoted in The Crimson


The Crimson’s Reporting: Fair and Competent

The Crimson article, it should be noted, is fair-minded and includes on-the-record quotes from university members on both sides of the controversy.

Its reporting on a disputed left-right issue is actually superior to that of the NYT, Washington Post, and other media.


Framing This Issue is Contentious

Comment: This dispute is framed in quite different ways by the opposing sides–and that framing matters.

The left sees it as primarily a snub to Manning because of her gender reassignment.

The right sees it as a reasonable decision about someone who leaked classified information.

The left sees the leaking as a valuable public service.

The right sees it as a crime that was properly punished by a court-martial.

Both sides see the designation as a “Fellow” of the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics as an honor. One sees it as well deserved, the other as an endorsement of espionage.


FYI: The headline of this post, “Chelsea Mourning,” is a nod to Joni Mitchell:


Thanks to the wonderful Belladonna Rogers for this story

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