Progressives needle Harvard, Snyder over fellowship

    Rick Snyder | A Healthier Michigan, Flickr

    Former Gov. Rick Snyder was named a senior research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government last week, and to some progressive critics, it wasn’t exactly a cause for celebration.

    A backlash from activists still critical of Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis swiftly followed Harvard’s announcement, in which the Taubman Center’s Director Jeffrey Liebman praised Snyder’s “significant expertise in management, public policy, and promoting civility” during his near-decade of governorship.

    Piper Kerman, author of the bestselling memoir “Orange is the New Black” on which the Netflix series of the same name was based, publicized on Twitter an email campaign urging people to email Liebman with their criticisms of Snyder under the hashtag “#NoSnyderFellowship.”

    The child activist Mari Copeny, known as “Little Miss Flint,” spoke out against the former governor as well, tweeting “Rick Snyder needs to be in jail for poisoning Flint, not at Harvard.”

    Flint residents and activists across the nation have long called for Snyder to be charged with a crime in his capacity overseeing the state’s response to the Flint water crisis, something former Attorney General Bill Schuette mostly ruled out. Last week at a town hall in Flint, the case’s current prosecutors said when asked about Snyder that they will “simply go where the evidence takes them.”

    Rick Snyder
    Rick Snyder on trade mission to China, 2013 | Flickr

    The release announcing Snyder’s fellowship praised his handling of Detroit’s bankruptcy and promotion of self-driving cars in the state, among other things. 

    Snyder said in the statement that he looks “forward to sharing my experiences in helping take Michigan to national leadership in job creation, improved government performance, and civility.”

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson covers local government, education, health care and the social safety net, and LGBTQ issues. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington, and before that covered local politics in Chicago. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He enjoys film, the Detroit Pistons and his cat. He once competed in the National Spelling Bee, but was eliminated before any potential ESPN appearances.

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