Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has turned down a research fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government following backlash over his appointment.
The appointment announced last week sparked blowback over Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis in his home state.
“It would have been exciting to share my experiences, both positive and negative; our current political environment and its lack of civility makes this too disruptive,” Snyder said in a tweet on Wednesday. “I wish them the best.”
According to the Washington Post, Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf sent a memo to the school saying that although he “anticipated that students would have learned from engaging with and questioning Governor Snyder about his consequential role in decisions regarding Flint and many other issues during his eight years in office,” the school had changed its mind.
“We and he now believe that having him on campus would not enhance education here in the ways we intended,” he wrote.
It was during Synder’s administration from 2011 to 2019 that the government chose to serve the majority Black city of Flint water from the Flint River because it was less expensive. This resulted in lead-filled water coming out of the taps in Flint that affected the whole population.
Snyder has since publicly apologized for the crisis in 2016, acknowledging “failures at all levels of government.”
Last month, state employees charged with Flint water crimes were allowed to return to work, after prosecutors dropped the charges against the employees, with a plan to rebuild the investigation from scratch.