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Harvard withdraws Chelsea Manning's visiting professor position

Harvard withdraws Chelsea Manning's visiting professor position

The Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government announced late Thursday that it has withdrawn its invitation to whistleblower and transgender activist Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow at the university.

The announcement came less than two days after the school initially extended the invitation. 

"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," Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, said in a statement.

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"I apologize to her and to the many concerned people from whom I have heard today for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation," the statement continued.

Harvard's decision to withdraw the invitation comes after Manning's visiting fellowship became the subject of backlash.

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell resigned from his post as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School following the announcement that Manning would join as a fellow.

And former 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tweeted "shame on Harvard" in a message praising Morell's decision. 

Manning would have joined former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, who were both also announced as fellows on Wednesday.

Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign manager for President Trump, was also announced as a fellow earlier this month.

According to Harvard's website, Manning's talk would have centered around "issues of LGBTQ identity in the military."

Manning, a former Army soldier, was convicted of violating the Espionage Act in 2013 after leaking hundreds of thousands of classified or sensitive documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to WikiLeaks, including video of two American helicopters firing on a group of men that included two Reuters journalists. Then-President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Chance the Rapper works as Lyft driver to raise money for Chicago schools Americans are safer from terrorism, but new threats are arising MORE commuted the remainder of her 35-year sentence on Jan. 17.