Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), whose administration has been blamed for negligence in the Flint water crisis, has been handed a Harvard fellowship.
The Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government said Snyder on Monday began a role as senior research fellow, teaching state and local government topics.
A press release made no mention of Flint’s struggle with dangerously high levels of lead in its water. Snyder, who left office in 2018, has apologized for the crisis, which he blamed on state government functionaries.
The announcement comes weeks after Snyder’s cellphone was seized in a criminal investigation led by Michigan and Wayne County, The Associated Press reported. The probe also is looking into a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed at least a dozen people.
Jeffrey Liebman, Taubman Center director and public policy professor, expressed confidence in Snyder, praising “his significant expertise in management, public policy, and promoting civility.”
Snyder called the fellowship “an honor.”
“I look forward to sharing my experiences in helping take Michigan to national leadership in job creation, improved government performance, and civility,” he said.
Snyder came under scrutiny in the Flint crisis in January 2016, when he publicly released a massive batch of emails revealing that he became aware of water quality issues as early as February 2015. In April 2019, a PBS Frontline investigation showed that Flint residents are still suffering the deadly consequences of the lead-laced water.
On Twitter, critics of Snyder tore into Harvard, using the hashtag #NoSnyderFellowship.
Snyder isn’t the only controversial figure to walk Harvard’s halls. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer also received fellowships from the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.