Washington, D.C. – Last week Jeffrey Liebman, director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at the Kennedy School at Harvard, announced the appointment of former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as a senior research fellow at the Center, effective today. In the statement, Gov. Snyder said, “I’m excited to join the talented faculty and staff there who are on the leading edge in improving public policy, civic engagement, and innovations in state and local government. I look forward to sharing my experiences in helping take Michigan to national leadership in job creation, improved government performance, and civility.”
In response, Food & Water Watch’s executive director Wenonah Hauter released the following statement:
“This appointment is a slap in the face to the people of Flint by one of the most elite institutions in America. Snyder is a leader, alright – he led Flint straight into one of the nation’s most notorious disasters in recent memory. His appointment of an emergency manager set the stage for the lead and bacterial contamination that resulted in unnecessary deaths and the lead poisoning of children. The timeline of events shows that his administration knew more about the events early on than what they disclosed to the public. This is criminal, and he must be held accountable.
“This is not the first time Harvard has shown a disdain for people suffering from a water crisis. Harvard refuses to address its role in profiting off of the misery of Martin County, Kentucky, which has experienced a catastrophic failure of its water system. Harvard University appears to own considerable land and mineral rights in the area. And it’s not paying its fair share in taxes off of this wealth.
“Shame on Harvard for giving this failed Governor a national platform and calling it leadership. While Flint waits for justice, Harvard is rubbing salt in a fresh wound. Liebman should immediately reconsider this ill-conceived appointment and fire Snyder before the end of his first day.”
Food & Water Watch mobilizes people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]