Har­vard re­verses Man­ning de­ci­sion

Irish Examiner - - World News - Pa­trick Mairs

Har­vard Uni­ver­sity has re­versed its de­ci­sion to name Chelsea Man­ning a vis­it­ing fel­low, a day af­ter CIA chief Mike Pom­peo scrapped an ap­pear­ance over the des­ig­na­tion for the sol­dier who was con­victed of leak­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

Dou­glas El­men­dorf, the dean of the uni­ver­sity’s John F Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment, wrote in a state­ment posted to the uni­ver­sity’s web­site that nam­ing Man­ning a vis­it­ing fel­low was a mis­take, even though he said the ti­tle car­ries no spe­cial hon­our.

“We in­vited Chelsea Man­ning to spend a day at the Kennedy School,” he wrote. “On that ba­sis, we also named Chelsea Man­ning a Vis­it­ing Fel­low. We did not in­tend to hon­our her in any way or to en­dorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not hon­our or en­dorse any Fel­low.”

El­men­dorf apol­o­gised to Man­ning and to “many con­cerned peo­ple” he said he had heard from “for not recog­nis­ing up­front the full im­pli­ca­tions of our orig­i­nal in­vi­ta­tion.”

Man­ning is still in­vited to spend a day at the school and speak to stu­dents, though with­out the vis­it­ing fel­low ti­tle, he wrote.

Man­ning re­sponded on Twit­ter, writ­ing that she was “hon­oured to be 1st dis­in­vited trans woman vis­it­ing @har­vard fel­low.” “They chill marginalised voices un­der @cia pres­sure,” she said while also ac­cus­ing the school of let­ting the CIA de­ter­mine “what is and is not taught”.

Man­ning’s pub­li­cist didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond when asked if she would still ac­cept Har­vard’s in­vi­ta­tion.

The 29-year-old Man­ning is a trans­gen­der woman who was known as Bradley Man­ning when she was con­victed in 2013 of leak­ing a trove of clas­si­fied doc­u­ments. She was re­leased from a mil­i­tary prison in May af­ter serv­ing seven years of a 35-year sen­tence, which was com­muted by for­mer President Barack Obama in his fi­nal days in of­fice.

Man­ning ex­plained on ABC’s Good Morn­ing Amer­ica in a re­cent in­ter­view that she was prompted to give the in­for­ma­tion to Wik­iLeaks be­cause of the hu­man toll of the “death, de­struc­tion and may­hem” she saw while serv­ing in Iraq.

Pom­peo was a last-minute can­cel­la­tion at a speak­ing event at Har­vard on Thurs­day night. Min­utes af­ter the event was to be­gin, El­men­dorf took the stage and told the au­di­ence Pom­peo was not there and would not speak.

The CIA later re­leased a let­ter that Pom­peo, who has a law de­gree from Har­vard, wrote to a uni­ver­sity of­fi­cial. Pom­peo said an ap­pear­ance would be­tray the trust of CIA em­ploy­ees and stressed that his de­ci­sion had noth­ing to do with Man­ning’s trans­gen­der iden­tity.

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