Harvard University, whose seal bears the motto “Veritas” (Latin for truth), is having a very bad week.
First, on Wednesday, the New York Times and the Marshall Project revealed the damning story of Michelle Jones, a convicted murderer recently released from prison after “a breathtaking feat of rehabilitation.” Jones, who is black and now 45, spent two decades behind bars in deep study of American history, earning a college degree and, last year, winning the Indiana Historical Society’s award for best research project. She applied to the Harvard history department’s Ph.D. program and was among the 18 students admitted from a pool of more than 300 applicants.
But then the graduate school’s brass—including its president, provost, and dean—took the unusual step of reversing the admission, “out of concern,” the Times reported, “that her background would cause a backlash among rejected applicants, conservative news outlets, or parents of students.”
Then on Friday came the news that Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government was revoking a visiting fellowship that it had, only days earlier, granted to Chelsea Manning, the transgender Army private who had served one-fifth of a 35-year sentence for providing secrets to WikiLeaks. (In his final days, President Obama commuted her sentence after seven years in a military prison.
A Republican congressional candidate from Illinois refused to honor her party’s call for her to abandon the race despite her sudden infamy, the Chicago Daily Herald reported on Thursday.
“I’m not withdrawing from the race,” Susanne Atanus told the Herald. “I don’t know why they are not standing behind me. They should talk to me personally. I will not back out of the race.”
Atanus’ candidacy gained the wrong kind of national spotlight on Wednesday after she expressed her belief that God created autism and dementia and extreme weather conditions to punish the U.S. on account of legalized abortion and the increasing support nationwide for marriage equality.
“God is angry,” she told the Herald. “We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions. Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”
Atanus is running against David Earl Williams III for the right to represent the GOP against incumbent Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). However, Republican leaders at both the local and state level released a statement on Thursday disavowing her completely.
“Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately,” state party chair Jack Dorgan said in the statement, with Chicago chair Adam Robinson adding that “Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time.”
A restaurant at the center of a firestorm over an anti-gay note supposedly left on a waitress’ check said Tuesday it will review computer records and security cameras to determine whether the incident was a hoax.
The veracity of what Gallop Asian Bistro waitress Dayna Morales first said two weeks ago was thrown into doubt Monday when a husband and wife came forward to claim that the check they saw on the news looked like theirs. The problem, they said, was that they indeed had left Morales a tip and they never left her any message.
The couple defended themselves on WNBC-TV, which did not identify the family by name or show their faces.
On Tuesday, former colleagues and friends of Morales, 22, formerly of Stony Point, N.Y., say she has a reputation for lying.
Morales has been caught in multiple lies, telling co-workers she shaved her head because she had brain cancer and later telling them it was her friend who had brain cancer, her colleagues and friends said.