Statement on Rick Snyder

The Harvard College Democrats issued the following statement in response to former Governor Rick Snyder’s appointment as a Taubman Center fellow:

“The Harvard College Democrats urge Dr. Liebman to rescind former Governor Rick Snyder’s appointment as a senior research fellow. This appointment betrays the values and mission of the Harvard community and validates Governor Snyder’s legacy of racism.

To those who suffered at the hands of his administration, mostly people of color, Governor Snyder’s appointment is deeply hurtful.

Harvard Kennedy School’s stated mission is to improve public policy and public leadership “so people can lead safer, freer, and more prosperous lives.” Appointing Governor Snyder as a fellow calls this mission into question. Governor Snyder's legacy is that of disregard for Black lives. If HKS honors that legacy with this appointment, for whom is the safety, freedom, and prosperity you mention in your mission statement?

This appointment is a direct endorsement of Governor Snyder’s racist legacy. By appointing Governor Snyder as a fellow, Harvard Kennedy School is telling its students and community members that disregard of communities of color is acceptable, that harm caused to communities of color is inconsequential, and that a legacy of racism is synonymous with a legacy of service.

Governor Synder not only allowed poisonous water to flow into the homes of Flint, Michigan, but also subverted democracy when he took power away from local officials who had been elected by the community and instead gave control over Flint to ‘emergency managers.’

Governor Snyder’s actions are still causing pain. Flint’s children are still suffering. And Flint still does not have clean water.

If the Harvard Kennedy School is truly committed to their mission of public service “so people can lead safer, freer, and more prosperous lives,” Governor Snyder’s fellowship should be rescinded and granted instead to someone who has not endangered the lives of the people they claim to serve, but rather who has fought for justice, safety, freedom, and prosperity for all — especially for historically marginalized communities of color.”

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