Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government originally planned to have controversial figure Chelsea Manning as a guest speaker this fall, but after careful consideration, the prestigious university has decided to cancel Manning’s planned speech. In a lengthy statement from the Dean of Harvard Kennedy School, Douglas W. Elmendorf, explained his rationale behind the cancellation.
[Scroll Down For Video]
“We invited Chelsea Manning because the Kennedy School’s longstanding approach to visiting speakers is to invite some people who have significantly influenced events in the world even if they do not share our values and even if their actions or words are abhorrent to some members of our community,” Elmendorf wrote.
Elmendorf then proceeded to take the blame for offering Manning an invitation in the first place. “However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility.”
Elmendorf had received complaints from students and faculty alike since the announcement of the fall guest speakers list. The school collectively agreed that speaking at the university should be an honor, something many Americans felt Manning did not deserve.
“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,” Elmendorf continued.
According to the Daily Wire, CIA Director Mike Pompeo refused to speak and Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, resigned from his position at Harvard when he discovered Manning was being asked to speak.
Morell, who has been against the university’s decision to allow Manning to speak, said he felt that the school would be endorsing breaking the law and putting American lives at risk if Manning spoke, per reports from the Washington Post.
WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, poked fun at Pompeo’s decision to refuse to speak at the school stating, “Head of the CIA gets triggered by Harvard giving Chelsea Manning a platform virtue signals in cry-bully complaint and no-platforms.”
Manning responded to the school’s decision to pull her invitation, stating they were allowing the CIA to choose who could and who could not speak at Harvard.
Harvard officials had originally placed Manning’s profile and the date she was speaking into a positive spin on their website, despite her dishonorable service. She was touted as the “first transgender fellow.”
Former congressman Jason Chaffetz applauded the dean’s decision to remove Manning from the speaker’s panel stating it was “the right call.”
Elmendorf ended the statement indicating that Manning could still speak at forums on campus but would not be a part of the prestigious visiting fellowship at Harvard.