Thursday, September 21, 2017

Q Toon: Offer and Honor On and Off

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Sep 21, 2017

CIA Director Mike Pompeo abruptly and at the last minute cancelled an address at Harvard, telling the university that he did so because classified documents leaker Chelsea Manning would also be a speaker this year. Manning, along with former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and seven others, had been named a Visiting Fellow of Harvard's Kennedy School, which is a fancy way of saying that she would show up to spend a day meeting students and giving a speech.

The former Bradley Manning was convicted in 2013 of releasing confidential military and State Department documents and sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Obama commuted her sentence to seven years dating from the beginning of her confinement in 2010, and she was released from prison this past May.

Prefacing that his actions had nothing to do with Manning's status as transgender, Pompeo told the university, "I believe it is shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions."

Douglas W. Elmendorf, Dean of the Kennedy School, quickly knuckled under to pressure from Pompeo and the right-wing snowflake squad. After protesting that the title of Visiting Fellow isn't technically an honor, Dr. Elmendorf announced that Harvard was withdrawing the implied honor anyway:
I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility. I still think that having her speak in the Forum and talk with students is consistent with our longstanding approach, which puts great emphasis on the value of hearing from a diverse collection of people. But I see more clearly now that many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations. ...Therefore, we are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow—and the perceived honor that it implies to some people—while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum. 
So Manning is still invited to come to Harvard and do what Visiting Fellows do; she just won't be a Visiting Fellow if she does.

For her part, Manning has turned down Harvard's invitation to be an Itinerant Person:
Manning said Harvard's decision signaled to her that it's a "police state" and it's not possible to engage in actual political discourse in academic institutions.
"I'm not ashamed of being disinvited," she said. "I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself."

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