Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Mess at Harvard

 

First, the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government invites a former intelligence officer for the US army who was convicted of espionage and sentenced to prison for thirty-five years to become a Fellow of the Institute. The man’s qualification? He thinks that he is a she, demands that we accommodate his delusion, and treats our unwillingness to do so as a justification for his misconduct.

Then, after an outbreak of criticism, the resignation from the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of a former acting director of the CIA, and a scathing letter from the current director, Douglas W. Elmendorf, the hapless dean of the Kennedy School, rescinds the invitation and issues a statement denying what everyone knows — that the school honors someone when it invites that someone to become a Visiting Fellow of its Institute of Politics.

I agree with Elmendorf that inviting someone to speak is not an endorsement of everything that the someone says. But it is a statement that the person is well worth hearing and is likely to have something to teach us. When a student club invites a traitor like Chelsea Manning to speak, it is a disgrace. But the disgrace belongs to the club, and there is a powerful case to be made for the university letting its members disgrace themselves in such a way. But when a university or one of its branches does the like, the disgrace belongs to the institution. It is supposed to have high standards.

Apart from committing treason, having a sex-change operation, and dining out on the combination, Chelsea Manning has no qualifications justifying his receiving such an honor. What happened at Harvard was virtue-signaling. Think what that tells you about what the current leadership of the Institute of Politics thinks is virtuous. Elmendorf should resign his post, and the same can be said for the leadership of the Institute of Politics.

According to Twitter, this is the way Manning sees it:

Note that Manning understood the role originally intended for him. Visiting Fellows do not just lecture. They have the schools’ imprimatur. As Fellows, they teach — even if only briefly — and that is what he hoped to do at Harvard.

There are 10 comments.

  1. Guruforhire Member

    He wasn’t an officer. He was lower enlisted. PFC.

    He was basically barely above entry level.

    I agree, bradley manning has nothing to teach anybody about anything. he doesn’t actually know anything.

    I have known gay people in the service who didn’t betray their country, and who do know things. Who also had bad things happen to them because he was gay.

    • #1
    • September 15, 2017, at 10:56 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    https://twitter.com/CuffyMeh/status/908651032619700224

    • #2
    • September 15, 2017, at 10:58 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. Ralphie Member

    Harvard reminds me of the boys of South Park when Bebe got boobs. Can’t think seriously.

    • #3
    • September 15, 2017, at 10:59 AM PST
    • Like
  4. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    It’s not the gay. It’s the treason.

    • #4
    • September 15, 2017, at 11:04 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Hang On Member

    My questions are: Why did he as PFC have access to the information in the first place? Why didn’t anybody notice the server activity when 250,000 documents are being downloaded and ask ‘Why does he need this’?

    • #5
    • September 15, 2017, at 11:29 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. Postmodern Hoplite Member

    Obviously, I’ve been going about this whole Academia thing wrong. Stupid me, I’ve been pursuing a PHD, and attempting to leverage a 30-year career as an officer and citizen-soldier into a post-secondary teaching position.

    If I had only thought to get convicted of espionage, leverage my mental illness into a means to re-invent myself as a media darling, and then get pardoned by a president who cares not one whit about the crime I committed…then maybe I’d have had a shot at teaching at Harvard.

    • #6
    • September 15, 2017, at 11:37 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  7. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):
    Obviously, I’ve been going about this whole Academia thing wrong. Stupid me, I’ve been pursuing a PHD, and attempting to leverage a 30-year career as an officer and citizen-soldier into a post-secondary teaching position.

    If I had only thought to get convicted of espionage, leverage my mental illness into a means to re-invent myself as a media darling, and then get pardoned by a president who cares not one whit about the crime I committed…then maybe I’d have had a shot at teaching at Harvard.

    There is still time.

    • #7
    • September 15, 2017, at 11:43 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Thanks for this post, Paul. The School’s actions are outrageous and pathetic (if both of those are possible at the same time).With all the brilliant, loyal people who could make a contribution, how in heaven’s name could they justify this selection. Well, they can’t. So sad.

    • #8
    • September 15, 2017, at 12:36 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Eb Snider Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    He wasn’t an officer. He was lower enlisted. PFC.

    He was basically barely above entry level.

    I agree, bradley manning has nothing to teach anybody about anything. he doesn’t actually know anything.

    I have known gay people in the service who didn’t betray their country, and who do know things. Who also had bad things happen to them because he was gay.

    To add to that he was actually a poor performer who as I recall was being discharged from the Army w/o any kind of distinction other than disciplinary issues. His sabotage and data scrapping effort occurred during the window of time during his expulsion decision and when it was going to be carried out.

    • #9
    • September 16, 2017, at 8:39 AM PST
    • Like
  10. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I don’t care about Man(?)ning. What does this say about Harvard? Its prestige is rapidly diminishing.

    • #10
    • September 16, 2017, at 11:45 AM PST
    • Like