> "We didn’t have some preconceived idea about crucifying Michelle,” said John Stauffer, one of the two American studies professors. “But frankly, we knew that anyone could just punch her crime into Google, and Fox News would probably say that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority. I mean, c’mon.”
This is so cowardly.
Harvard has come under a lot of criticism for having a lower standard for blacks and a higher standard for asians. He seems to imply that he felt or that others would feel (I can't exactly tell) that Harvard would not have accepted someone in the same situation who wasn't black. This is different than saying he didn't think she should be accepted because of her skin color.
I'm not arguing for or against their decision--just that within the context of current lawsuits against Harvard, his statement has a bit different meaning.
My guess is that the profs saw this as such a perfect shitstorm that, if it becomes a major story, DC would feel they have no choice but to do something about it.
Why do they care?
I mean, they have enough cash in the bank to never let another student in for 200 years, and still be just fine. They have more good-will built up than anything else out there. They make advances in human knowledge comparable to almost nothing else besides another University. They have it all. So what could they want then?
The only thing I can come up with is that they do think Fox would be correct in that assumption. They aren't worried about the money. Maybe they are worried about the woman herself and just are using the Fox stuff as cover? Nothing else really makes sense.
They're trying to avoid being part of Fox's whole anti-University arc this season.
No one is stating that Harvard had an obligation to accept her. People are expressing their dissatisfaction with Harvard's actions. That's still allowed, right?
[As a side note: If all private individuals/institutions impose additional hardships on ex-cons, then it's highly hypocritical for any of those individuals/institutions to complain about the recidivism rates. You may as well just send them all away for life in prison for any crime and be done with it if your plan is to hamper their efforts to move on after prison.]
You don't get to have it both ways.
"I donate a quarter million a year and you give it to a black who killed her own son? Guess Yale could use a new building with my name on it"
Still though, the US needs to have a good hard look at de-monetizing the prison industrial complex, humanizing post-incarcerated people, and disassembling the economic incentives to use the 13th amendment for disenfranchisement.
I realize the op-ed linked to above mentions legislation to end harsh punishment/disclosure rules for first-time non-violent offenders, but that's a reasonable initial milestone in reforming the justice system to be more rehabilitative.
You can read more about their stances as advocated by Freedom Partners, the nonprofit that they founded and fund: https://freedompartners.org/issues/
Including this statement of support for VA governor candidate Ed Gillespie's criminal justice reform plan: https://freedompartners.org/press/holden-keeping-virginia-sa...
> “Virginia’s criminal justice system should be just, fair and redeeming. Law enforcement and justice should be administered fairly, and when Virginians exit the criminal justice system they should leave more prepared to live a full and contributing life in society. “ – Ed Gillespie
The amount of degeneracy we're being taught to accept, and even appreciate, is starting to be awful. Her research was even along those same lines: a meta project on the value created by incarcerated researchers.
I'm not saying she shouldn't still have her civil and constitutional rights. She certainly shouldn't ever be subject to abuse or cruel and unusual punishment. But should she be represented at our most esteemed institutions? Come on.
What about Ross Ulbricht? Snowden? Aaron Swartz? There are countless people who have done nothing but go to great lengths to give people liberties, and yet effectively serve life sentences for doing nothing wrong? Why focus so much energy on promoting legitimate child murderers? It makes absolutely no sense to me.
If anything, the energy spent here could be better spent elsewhere.
There is something horribly wrong with torture and murder of a 4 year old.
How many good and decent people work hard labor most of their lives simply because they were born on the wrong side of some arbitrarily drawn border? Because they happen to be born into a world where their intellectual capabilities are relatively low?
I have no sympathy for this child murderer for not getting into Harvard.
Obviously, we must perform a careful evaluation to ensure that this is the case. But to deny any possibility of reformation seems wrong, and not reflective of the reality in which people sometimes change significantly over time.
The professors' whose memo questioned whether she had minimized her crime “to the point of misrepresentation” are complaining that her application focused on her academic achievements and not enough on her crime. In doing so, they are setting themselves up as better assessors of her rehabilitation than the parole board which specializes in that task and has her whole legal and custodial history.
Professor Stauffer's subsequent comments about how it would play on fox News suggest that he's more concerned with appearances than academic rigor. His fear of criticism undermines his academic mission.
"There is something horribly wrong with torture and murder of a 4 year old."
I know plenty of people who disagree and feel there is no great difference between the two. Why are you right and they wrong?
Reading between the lines from the text here (which I admit is speculation), I think there's substantial chance the admissions office feels there may be a shoe yet to drop (note that her son's body was never found... which based on the text of the article is likely to mean she never told the authorities where it was, which raises questions about what else might have happened).
They specifically cite the possibility that her description of her crime amounted to deception. Between that and the possibility of more secret land mines that might reveal she has done something even worse (i.e. actively killed the child), I think it's totally reasonable for the administration to say "No thanks, we're full to the gills with no-risk applicants."
No one is entitled to be selected for graduate study at Harvard. And she seems to be doing fine with other offers. So I think as a society we've done reasonably well in giving her a chance at a new life.
I'm not inclined to give that possibility much weight compared to the input of the prosecutor and the parole board that know her case in depth. It's easy to make up reasons.
It seems to be similar to the freedom of speech debate regarding the Daily Stormer. The debate largely revolved around whether a company should be able to refuse their business because they found it objectionable even while conceding it was legal.
This is similar I think. From the state's perspective this person has served her time and is free to go about her business. But an institution still finds her objectionable and has refused her admission.
Personally, I'm somewhat conflicted. I would imagine I would find it very difficult to have a professional relationship with this person and, if I was responsible for hiring, would definitely be concerned that hiring her may not be net positive for my organisation. Equally, I'm very aware that this line of reasoning has been used to prolong some very nasty behaviours and I may well be perpetuating one of them.
When there is a good amount of competition for hiring or admittance, it would be hard to justify hiring/admitting her when you can find someone with similar skills without the time in prison.
Is the net social gain of hiring someone working towards or through rehabilitation greater than that of hiring someone who's not faced with that burden? In other words, am I helping reduce recidivism? I think so.
For the person in the article, it's not that clear. There's no reason to believe she'll repeat the heinous crime but the effect of her presence in the organisation could be very disruptive. I wouldn't say it is easy.
If you think hiring someone with rehabilitation is a greater social good, then you are effectively punishing people who don't have a criminal record.
On a meta note, I would be a lot more sympathetic to many 'causes' if only they would choose less reprehensible poster children for their campaigns. I mean, I'm all for prison reform and rehabilitation, but come on:
"In a memo to university administrators, these professors said the admissions dean had told them Jones’s selection would be reviewed by the president and provost, and questioned whether she had minimized her crime “to the point of misrepresentation.”"
"The boy died in 1992 in circumstances that remain unclear; the body was never found."
"At her trial, a former friend testified that Jones confessed to having beaten the boy and then leaving him alone for days in their apartment, eventually returning to find him dead in his bedroom.".
Campaigning on the basis of a child murderer who abused a 4 year old and let him starve to death not being admitted to a top university being 'unfair'? Yeah, good luck with that.
While true this is a reflection on society itself. Some people learn this the hard way, when they end on the wrong side of it and then ask "why do people not forgive?"
> On a meta note, I would be a lot more sympathetic to many 'causes' if only they would choose less reprehensible poster children for their campaigns.
> Campaigning on the basis of a child murderer who abused a 4 year old and let him starve to death not being admitted to a top university being 'unfair'? Yeah, good luck with that.
You either stand for your principles in all circumstances or none. If they only count for 'easy' cases they are worthless anyway.
So a third-striker convicted to 15 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread is equally 'deserving' of help than a child murderer? Okay... Look I would agree if you would say 'we'll focus on a group and if there happen to be undeserving people in that group, we'll grudgingly accept that as 'collateral damage'' - but saying that there can be no advocacy until you can, up front, define exactly what you will stand for and what not, and if you miss an edge case you somehow have a moral obligation to take those 'under your wing' so to say, is just naively rigid absolutism.
90% of anything approaching a political discussion on HN.
Is she a murderer, or someone who committed murder once over 20 years ago?
Your principles can simultaneously include "the prison system is badly broken and desperately in need to huge reforms" and "parents who brutally murder their children should never see another sunrise as a free person" without any cognitive dissonance.
Because the current criminal "justice" system has very little to do with actually preventing and helping society recover from the effects of criminal behavior. It's about generating false appearances of "retribution" (or making people "pay" for their crimes, whatever that means), and the (deeply) false appearance of some kind of "moral balance" in the world, generally. And reinforcing systems of (low-key) terror and control on the general population.
It only encourages people to revert to evil.
You got it. That may not be the stated goal of the current system. But it's certainly one of its inevitable outcomes.
The tragedy is that it's not just the offenders - or even those wrongly accused - who suffer from (and become morally corrupted by) the current order. It's all of us.
The extremely capable do all the work, while the rich get to intermingle.
The extremely capable of course are carefully vetted to be fully indoctrinated in the system - you have to want to be part of the rich club - a true capitalist.
Not only is this lady out of prison not interested in being part of the rich club, nobody in the rich club wants her to be in!
Hence, she's not welcome at Harvard.
Of course Harvard can't come out and say that, but they're well versed in doublespeak , and this'll soon be forgotten.
But even with all that, my impression is that the bar is still pretty darn high. Even the stupid Harvard grads are pretty capable.
Is that true? Any Harvard alums or faculty want to speak for or against this notion?
This place is for suckers, real capitalists read Forbes :)
Everyone is an individual with different values and judgments.
How could you expect the entirety of the human race to treat someones actions in a consistent way? It simply is going against reality.
You are saying people are not individuals with their own preferences?
Sure you can draw mental or geographical lines around people. And then try to apply laws to them.
But at the end of the day there are still people in those lines choosing to follow, or not follow the laws in various ways. And people treating people differently even while following those laws.
What do you think of people expelled from institutions for non-criminal reasons? Trump-supporting Andrew Torba for instance, who has been kicked out of Y-Combinator, and from the Google Play and Apple stores, for his politics. Should he get a life sentence?
Punishment/prison can serve a few purposes:
1. To serve as a deterrent to others.
2. To remove an individual from society, so they can't cause harm.
3. To reform an individual.
The system might think that 20 years in prison is a sufficient deterrent.
That by removing the individual from society during this time period, they have sufficiently safeguarded society.
That it is enough time to reform an individual to the degree that they don't pose significant risk.
Given the above, I don't see why /every/ crime might result in individuals released into society being given the full rights of normal citizens. For example, you might want to continuously monitor their progress, or not allow them to enter certain occupations (such as child care) in order to continue to safeguard society...
Certain crimes, will no doubt limit your future activities permanently. But that alone doesn't seem like a reason to keep people in prison for ever. The hope is that they might be able to find some niche in which they can make a viable life for themselves in society perhaps.
She murdered her 4 year old child. And not manslaughter or crime of passion or whatever murder - but cold blooded beat him to death then hide the body murder.
It doesn't matter what the crime is when folks are wondering why we let folks out of jail at all. It isn't so much the crime that was committed at that point.
If you want to talk about people who are in jail for drug charges, that is a different discussion entirely.
This isn't about redemption or rehabilitation. No one is suggesting she's going to beat, starve, abandon and murder another 4-year-old. That's very unlikely.
But, what we are suggesting is that a private institution should be able to consider a person's entire story in their admissions decision.
Crimes have consequences beyond the government imposed sentence. But maybe the issue here is that the woman's punishment was much less than what most people would consider full justice, so they feel compelled to mete out slightly more to compensate.
And you say, but look at all she's contributed to society with her research! And I say we'll never know what her son may have contributed and she took him from the world.
Peoples justice is not justice, it's revenge. You can't cherry pick the decisions of the justice system to fit your personal world views. You either believe in the ability of the justice system to impose the correct sentences, or you don't.
This private institution can base their decisions on anything they want, but in this particular case the reasoning is asinine and cowardly. It has nothing to do with her as a person and everything to do with a bad PR incident.
When people regularly feel compelled to mete out vigilante justice, it's a sign that the justice system is broken not people's sense of fairness.
The alternative is to make the criminal justice system into some kind of religion lecturing to the public about what value system they should have.
And, here, if you polled the general public you'd like get an overwhelming majority who believe that serving 20 years in prison for the beating, starvation, abandonment and murder of a child was too light a sentence. Habitually ignoring such sentiment is detrimental for a society long term as people lose faith in the government being able to protect them and maintain the right to be the sole arbiter of justice. (Avoiding mob justice is equally important, but this is not a case of ambiguous facts or uncertain guilt, just whether 20 years could ever be the right sentence for this abhorrent crime.)
Remember, governments get their power from and serve the people. Not the other way around.
Nobody would be complaining if she was trying to receive a HS diploma. But throw a prestigious school in the mix and all of a sudden its an issue.
Yes. The rejection is not about further punishing Ms. Jones. It is about protecting Harvard from bad press.
Is it unreasonable that Harvard admissions be based in part on protecting its image in the publuc eye?
Consider what that says about their integrity, their culture, and their goals as an institution.
To put in perspective, we're still at 60% support for the death penalty in this country.
Odds are, as an African-American son of unmarried teenagers subject to a horrific excuse for public education, he would already have been a victim of the "justice system". Like all of our Wars, our Wars on Drugs and Crime are not designed to be "won" by any of their direct participants. Killing one's own child, whether before or after an arbitrary event, is an act of hopelessness. It's not hard to understand how someone without hope could do regrettable things. Nor is it hard to understand how the status quo's educational mascot, or at least the administrative cretins who have seized its control from the faculty, could react in a knee-jerk, shambolic, thoughtless manner to "support" that status quo.
The state decided 20 years was enough. You can argue about the length or if she got out at all, but its problematic not to get the most value out of her when we are supposed to reintegrate her into society. The time to argue she should still be in prison is passed. If you did not journey or send comment to the parole board prior to her release, then you did let your voice be heard.
“But frankly, we knew that anyone could just punch her crime into Google, and Fox News would probably say that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority. I mean, c’mon.”
I can understand this attitude in a single person, but you folks are friggin Harvard. Now, some Fox host is going to do a whole segment on how flexible your values are in the face of opposition.
Conservative politicians do this too when talking to the NYT and it is annoying. Stick to your damn guns or admit you don't actually believe in the principals you ran on. The voting booth back home is more important than being invited to the cool dinner parties.
1) can we get an article on how their rehabilitation works at that prison.
Good to see she took it in stride:
“People don’t survive 20 years of incarceration with any kind of grace unless they have the discipline to do their reading and writing in the chaos of that place,” Jones said. “Forget Harvard. I’ve already graduated from the toughest school there is.”
> Incarcerated Scholars, Qualitative Inquiry, and Subjugated Knowledge: The Value of Incarcerated and Post-Incarcerated Scholars in the Age of Mass Incarceration
It looks like it's mostly about the Indiana Women's Prison History Project which she participated in.
"If officials who take a careful look at the case decide that Harvard should move forward, then we think that the university should do everything in its power and ability to welcome Jones here and support her, and we are indeed happy to play a part in that effort,” they continued. “We have stated our concerns as questions, and we hope they are treated as nothing more nor less than questions, not as an implicit or explicit judgment against a person and her candidacy.”
The administrators that actually made the decision did not comment.
I'm not saying the Harvard administration made the right choice here, but they certainly had cause to be cautious.
In some cases, that's how it works, yes. Many employers refuse to hire ex-cons. A felony conviction will bar you from some professional certifications entirely. And because of sex-offender registries, people convicted of sex crimes find it very difficult to live in built-up areas, since they are required to live away from areas frequented by children.
A serious criminal record is a quick ticket out of basically all of respectable society, including the part that people try to enter by earning lofty degrees from prestigious institutions of higher learning. We as a society clearly don't have anything close to full confidence in the rehabilitation of criminals.
Who did her time and paid her dues to society. That's the point of rehabilitation.
> Incarcerated in 1996, Jones worked for five years in the law library at Indiana Women’s Prison, and got certified as a paralegal. She received a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in 2004, and audited graduate-level classes at Indiana University.
> Her blossoming as a historian began in 2012, when Kelsey Kauffman, a former professor who volunteered at the prison, encouraged inmates to research the origins of their involuntary home, which opened in 1873 as the first adult female correctional facility in the United States. Soon, Jones was placing library requests for reference books and, when they arrived months later, scouring the footnotes for what to order next.
You aren't in position to give forgiveness. That belongs to the person she harmed and those that loved him. The conversation at hand is whether or not we continue punishing her because of what she did. That's no our job nor is it Harvards. They have every right to not accept her as a student should they believe it would put other people at risk. But that's not what happened here, what happened here is Harvard didn't want bad press.
That's pathetic and something I would expect literally anywhere outside of a prominent educational system that has an endowment the size of Harvard. This is exactly the type of thing it's supposed to be immune to.
It's tough out there.
There are plenty of felons who are unjustly punished well after they've left jail for crimes that weren't even that serious. Harvard deciding that they didn't want a child murderer around their undergrads isn't an example of that.
It's not enough to make me leave but it is a bit disorienting, if not annoying.
Why minimize? Sounds like rape.
Hid the body and mislead police on it's location to confuse them.
To this day it has not been found (One assumes because she is still keeping it hidden)
Also her boyfriend (the high-school senior) has never been charged with rape (and had custody of the child until he was 3 so one assumes no allegations were made back then)
But assuming it's true, she was the one who had 'non-consensual sex' so if she wants to call it that, that's her choice.
What right do you have to force her to chose the language of something that happened to her to conform to your politics?
And distracting from the important point, once a person does their time, society should also move on.
But to spell it out -
She has to stick to her story of all the awful things that happened to her (which I'm sure most did). But you can't just take it all at exact value.
If the story says it was rape (which is now a militarized word which is what you're trying for), it effects a real person's life, who possibly has a family.
If she's under playing it, it could be because she doesn't want to harm them, for many reasons. For instance it's not true.
I assume both parties were under age, so neither consented in some ways. And given the possibility of drugs etc who knows what really happened. They seemed to have had a further relationship. Everything seemed messed up in her life.
It wasn't "What she calls" it was "What she called", it's a quote and it seems to me the writer is helping her out.
She chose that phrasing, whatever happened to her when she was 14, happened to her. If she chooses it, it's her choice for her reasons, not yours.
(Users rightly flagged the parent comment, but I've unkilled it to be able to reply.)
You don't beat a four year old child then leave them locked in an apartment to die.
Prison is just the punishment the state metes out. No one's obligated to act as if she never murdered a child.
"[John] Stauffer emphasized in interviews that he and his departmental colleague, Dan Carpenter, were simply trying to ensure that Harvard did its due diligence about the candidacy."
The objections serm to be
1. She would have a hard time fitting into Harvard. Which is horseshit.
2. She would potentially embarrass Harvard. Which is to be expected of administrators, but seems out of place for faculty. I wonder what the spineless wankers think of the idea of tenure.
3. She was not penitent enough.
So, yeah. Good job Harvard.
If Harvard only wants to go to bat for Michelle Jones, august scholar, and not Michelle Jones, convicted murderer, then they don't deserve to draft off of her present work or academic legacy.
Good on NYU for sticking to their guns.
Jones was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but released after 20 based on her good behavior and educational attainment.
She could be brilliant and a huge asset to science, but personally don't think she deserves to get out after just 20 years. My opinion. For certain crimes, there's no coming back... You could "murder" your child by hitting him/her accidentally with the car, leaving them unattended etc etc, but this is way different. Real murder.