Criminal Justice

Harvard University's Shameful Rejection of Michelle Jones Shows Just How Far We Have to Go


Harvard's Widener Library. Photo courtesy of QuarterCircleS/Wikimedia Commons

Harvard University made big news this week for rescinding acceptance letters to a student and a teaching fellow.

Chelsea Manning, who CIA Director Mike Pompeo referred to as a "traitor," was slated to spend a day as a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School. Former acting CIA Director Michael J. Morell resigned his fellowship at the Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in protest. Pompeo followed by dropping out of a Harvard forum.

In response, Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf rescinded Manning's fellowship in an open letter, insisting he had failed to strike the right balance between "what members of the Kennedy School community could learn from that person's visit against the extent to which that person's conduct fulfills the values of public service to which we aspire." If studying the hair-splitting of academic bureaucrats is your thing, you can read Elmendorf's entire retreat here.

My only thought on the matter is this: I can't take seriously any academic institution that believes Corey Lewandowski (whose neighbors allege in legal filings that he cut off their electricity and threatened them while wielding a baseball bat) and Sean Spicer (a throne-sniffing yes-man) "fulfill the values of public service to which we aspire." Manning and the Trumpkins are apples and oranges, but if she's rotten fruit, they are, too.

I'd rather discuss the student who recently had her Harvard acceptance revoked, Michelle Jones, an Indiana woman who served 20 years of a 50-year sentence for murdering her four-year-old son.

When Jones became pregnant at 14 as the result of a rape, her mother beat her in the abdomen. Jones gave birth to a son she named Brandon. She spent most of her teen years in foster care, suffered domestic violence, and became an abuser herself. At 18, she severely beat Brandon and left him alone in an apartment for several days. When she returned, finding him dead, she buried the body and told no one until several years later, when seeking help at a mental health crisis center.

If that's all Harvard knew about Jones you might understand why she won't be pursuing her PhD in history there. But thanks to some gut-wrenching reporting by Eli Hager with The Marshall Project, we know much more.

Jones became what's known as a "model prisoner," a term d'art in the criminal justice world for prisoners who do on the inside what they often couldn't on the outside: learn useful skills, seek treatment for their mental health issues, abide by the rules, and engage in pro-social behavior.

Despite having little access to the outside world, Jones became a scholar of women's incarceration, doggedly investigating the crimes for which women were incarcerated in the 19th century and what happened to them behind bars. She was able to obtain a bachelor's degree, and led a team of prisoners on an award-winning research project.

All that, combined with otherwise sterling behavior, led the prosecutor who convicted her to recommend an early release from prison to pursue a PhD in history. Her first choice was Harvard.

And, initially, Harvard chose her, too. Jones "was one of the strongest candidates in the country last year, period," Harvard historian Elizabeth Hinton told Hager. But after she was accepted, a group of professors banded together with university administrators to reverse the decision. They feared, according to Hager, Jones acceptance "would cause a backlash among rejected applicants, conservative news outlets or parents of students."

Meanwhile, criminal justice advocates, historians, and Jones's prosecutor went on the record praising her credentials as a PhD candidate and decrying Harvard's decision to punish her for a second time. "I'm the prosecutor, not them," former prosecutor Marger Moore said of Harvard's decision. "Michelle Jones served her time, and she served a long time, exactly what she deserved. A sentence is a sentence."

Now Jones will do her scholarship at New York University.

"One of our considerations," Harvard Prof. John Stauffer told Hager, "was if this candidate is admitted to Harvard, where everyone is an elite among elites, that adjustment could be too much."

At another point in the interview, Stauffer gives Hager a very different answer: "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."

It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of Jones' accomplishment. We make prisoners sleep in cages, do menial work for nickels and dimes, and stand up and sit down on command. We neutralize their individuality by dressing them identically and referring to them by government-assigned numbers. We let them see and talk to their families only under intense surveillance. In many facilities, we provide inadequate health care and menial education and job training opportunities, and turn a blind eye to the physical and emotional abuse they endure at the hands of correctional officers and other prisoners. Yet we expect that upon their release these prisoners will not just behave better, but be better than they were when they committed their crimes.

Jones could be forgiven for failing under all those circumstances, yet she exceeded the wildest expectations of the biggest bleeding heart you'll ever meet. And she did so under the cloud of a sentence that could have kept her in prison for the rest of her life.

There's no connection between the Manning and Jones decision. But while the former is a product of some rather shallow thinking, the Jones decision reflects stunning cowardice from an institution that should know better. After all, Harvard already held the dual distinction of being the first medical school in the United States to admit black students and women, and the first to rescind their acceptances to school after an outcry from critics.

In 1850, Harvard Medical School admitted Harriet Hunt, Martin Delany, Daniel Laing, Jr., and Isaac H. Snowden, the first woman and the first three black men to be allowed to study medicine at America's most prestigious institution. But the more reactionary wings of the university didn't like how it looked or what people might say. Under pressure, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. concluded the four could not study at Harvard because they didn't look like the people who attended the school at the time, which was also true at every other medical school in America.

On paper, Jones also does not look like anyone currently studying at Harvard. That raises some important questions for the tens of millions of people who have passed through our criminal justice system, many of them after surviving abusive childhoods. If Jones and people like her are not qualified to study at Harvard after serving their sentences and changing their lives, what makes them qualified to study at any other elite institution?

What makes them qualified to receive a PhD at all, if Harvard's decision to rescind this opportunity was not based on Jones' scholarship–which no one, on or off the record, has questioned–but her past? Just as there's no reason why a former drug dealer can't get a cosmetology license, there's no good argument for precluding an adult woman 20 years removed from a crime she committed from being a humanities professor.

I doubt the university will suffer much blowback for rejecting Jones, particularly with the Manning fiasco unfolding. But the former decision is far more egregious. It is an affront to those at the university who are committed to justice reform, and to the alumni working to change the way we think about crime. One of those is Harvard Law's Bryan Stevenson, who likes to say that "each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done." This is as true for Jones as it is for a petty thief.

"I have made a commitment to myself and [Brandon] that with the time I have left, I will live a redeemed life, one of service and value to others," Jones reportedly wrote in her application. To Harvard's shame, she will make good on that promise somewhere else.

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  1. They feared, according to Hager, Jones acceptance “would cause a backlash among rejected applicants, conservative news outlets or parents of students.”

    None of these have ever bothered Harvard before, but especially not that one.

    1. I noticed that too. I’m wondering if they were throwing that out there as a deflection of responsibility.

      But then, what is responsibility, really? Should we feel compassion for the Harvard administrators since they didn’t make a conscious choice to suck? Tough questions.

      1. I’m pretty sure they did make a conscious choice to suck.

        1. That depends on where you stand on free will.

            1. I’m making over $12k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,…Go this web and start your work… Good luck..

      2. Read it as “conservative donors” and it makes sense.

        1. I seriously doibt that Harvard HAS any cnservative donors. Republican donors, possibly. RINOs, each and every one. But Harvard hasn’t been on speaking terms with any real Conservatives for decades.

    2. They also said she minimized the crime to the point of misrepresentation. That changes the narrative quite a but

      1. “…I only killed him a little bit…”

  2. Reason completely lacks an ethical compass. Since when is a murderer entitled to an education at Harvard? Doesn’t the University have any freedom of association to pick the best caliber students?

    She murdered her own child, and then drew an inadequate sentence, getting out of jail after 20 years, rather than getting the life sentence she deserved.

    And Reason’s Mike Riggs thinks she should get into Harvard? And be admitted over someone else who can do more good with the degree because they have more working years left in their life?

    Don’t people have a right to live — and not be murdered by the people who are supposed to protect them, like their parents? What could be worse than such a crime?

    1. The fucking PROSECUTOR is vouching for the DEFENDANT. Name three other times that happened and then maybe I’ll consider your argument as something better than totalitarian.

      1. You know how someone gets life for a bag of weed, and we cry “outrageous!”?

        It works the other way too.

      2. Well, she’s black, and we all know black people are criminals, because averages.

        1. Angela Davis was complicit in the murder of a federal judge. And she’s a professor. And Black.

      3. Yeah, I’m pretty much as “law and order” as they come, but if we are to accept that part of the punishment part of the criminal justice system should be rehabilitation (which surely we must), it would appear she’s rehabilitated and ready to atone for her crime. Seems like a no brainer to me.

        1. Hey RT. How much rehabilitation do you consider sufficient for killing your own 4 year old kid? Was 25 years in prison too much?

          1. As much as is needed to work. That’s how rehabilitation is traditionally thought of. Do you have some kind of Rehabilitation Meter in mind? Gotta hit 7000 before you’ve made up for your crime!

            1. The key is learning the target combos to get lots of points quickly. Knock down the marijuana targets, the expired tags targets, and the petty larceny targets and that will open up the ramp that gives you 5,000 points, hit that and bam you activate multi-ball *plus* the 5x multiplier and the next 2,000 points will be super easy to pick up after that.

              1. ’cause yeah, expired tags and child murder are totes the same thing.

              2. ’cause yeah, expired tags and child murder are totes the same thing.

                1. That’s a pretty amazing interpretation of my post.

                  1. What do you consider rehabilitation? The probability that she’s not going to beat to death another four year old and bury his bones in the garden?

          2. I kind of agree with notJoe. Beating your four year old son to death? Had she shot the guy who raped her, I’d agree. If she had shot a cop, I’d agree. But not beating a four year old to death. I don’t think she should get out of jail.

          3. In my opinion, what she did was beyond horrendous, and should’ve been given the maximum allowed for a non-premeditated homicide.

            But to me, this is a “don’t hate the player, hate the game” situation. She got 50 years, she was a model prisoner, they let her out after serving 20. She paid her debt to society – no matter if you think it wasn’t a big enough debt, double jeopardy is still unconstitutional – and she has every right to try and make a living again in the free world. At the end of the day, she still has to live with the guilt and trauma of killing her child for the rest of her life, and if she’s religious, no doubt she’ll be endlessly atoning to God for the awful sin she committed.

            As for Harvard, they were completely within their rights to reject her application, but they fucked up when they went wishy-washy after initially accepting it.

      4. Name three other times that happened and then maybe I’ll consider your argument as something better than totalitarian.

        Does Norman Mailer vouching for Jack Abbot count?

    2. She had already been accepted before being rejected. It wasn’t about about how she was entitled to a Harvard education just how Harvard is full of cowardly twats.

      1. Harvard being full of cowardly twats is nothing new.

    3. Don’t people have a right to live — and not be murdered by the people who are supposed to protect them, like their parents? What could be worse than such a crime?

      If this is what you believe the author is implying, you should see your doctor, immediately, as you are presenting classic symptoms of idiocy.

    4. So you just watch Les Miserables for the music?

    5. How would this woman’s crimes compare to those of Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Truman, LBJ, Bush 1, Bush 2, HRC, or Obama all of whom are personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of innocents Are they beyond redemption? In my view yes. Is this woman? In my view no. Her crime pales in comparison to those of the people we build monuments to honor. But maybe my ethical compass needs calibration.

    6. It’s called mitigating circumstances.

      1. If she were mentally ill, it would be mitigating circumstances. If the four year old had some debilitating, painful, incurable disease and she unplugged the life support, it would be mitigating circumstances. Just being the child of her rapist is not mitigating circumstances.

    7. The article doesn’t advocate that Harvard should be forced to admit her by the weight of law or regulation, but that Harvard was wrong. So your criticism is confused.

    8. She’s entitled to an education at Harvard because Harvard said she was. That they changed their minds, when they knew all along who she was and what she’d done, simply indicates that Harvard has not been an institution entitled to be taken seriously for a long goddamned time.

    9. There are some crimes that change and brand a person forever. A line is crossed; the crime and person are one. Once you’ve done it you’re in a different league than the rest of us. There is no such thing as an ex-rapist or an ex-murderer or an ex-sadist. She tortured and murdered a 4 year old child. Nuff said.
      By her behavior from beginning to now, I’d peg her as a psychopath.

  3. Just How Far We Have to Go

    Who’s “We”? Harvard sure the fuck ain’t the royal “we”.

    1. A passing examination of their politics for the last half-century shows that they have some kind of brain-parasite.

      THAT kind of ‘we’.

  4. But the former decision is far more egregious.

    I don’t understand why it’s worse than any other rejection. She probably wasn’t the first one with an abusive upbringing who was rejected either. Maybe they just couldn’t look past the murder.

    1. Because it wasn’t an administrative rejection. It was lefty professors getting their feelz hurt.

      1. The way graduate admissions work in a university is that a committee of faculty look over the applications and then rank them, and admit the number they can fund. The rejection was apparently orchestrated after the faculty admissions committee for the History Department made its decision. So it is one group of faculty over-riding the decision of the committee that the History Department chose to oversee admissions. To do so, they would have to have an administrator be willing to reject the committee’s decision. Since administrators are usually only check things like whether the applicant has the degrees claimed, this is an administrator bowing to pressure from “lefty professors getting their feels hurt” over-riding faculty committee.

    2. It’s an example as to how those who were imprisoned can be treated. This woman was convicted of a crime, did everything she could while inside prison to better her life, served her sentence, and was rejected – after being initially being accepted, because of concerns that some people will complain – by an institution that prides itself on being progressive, forward thinking. The prison sentence ends, but the stink will last forever.

      1. Give me a break. She didn’t get busted for selling a dime bag. She was imprisoned for severely beating her own 4 year old son then abandoning him to die.

        You think you somehow erase the stink of child murder by living an exemplary life afterwards?

        1. That what is the point of rehabilitation?

          1. There is no point. You don’t rehabilitate someone that damaged, and you sure as hell don’t let them loose on society after pretending the “rehabilitation” somehow altered their core personality.

            But nevermind that. I don’t give a fuck about rehabilitation. She doesn’t deserve a full ride to Harvard, she deserves to be in a cage for the rest of her life.

            1. You don’t rehabilitate someone that damaged

              According to people who actually know her, apparently you can.

              Though, nah, I’m sure Anonymous Internet Guy better knows the truth of the situation.

              1. Fine. You get a point.

                Like I said, I don’t care if she was rehabilitated. Not relevant. She tortured her own son and left him to die alone: She should be spending her lifetime in a cage, not acting in the starring role of a Reason race baiter article because she got denied a free ride to Harvard.

                1. What good is done by keeping her locked in a cage?

                  Do we get big Justice Points for meting out the Right amount of punishment?

                  1. Umm…yes?

                    What, you think some invisible sky monster’s going to mete out punishment post-mortem?

                    1. So who is giving these Justice Points? A visible sky monster?

            2. You seem to believe that people in their 20’s have an immutable “core personality”. I can assure you, based upon personal experience, that is not the case. Things I did, believed, and found irresistible 40 years ago don’t mean shit to me now. The common law recognized that crimes of young adults and particularly crimes committed by young mothers against their children, could not be judged by the same standards as crimes by mature adults. A whole lot of “crib deaths” were never prosecuted. People really do change as the years go by. You would condemn a 20 year old to die in prison at age 80. The problem is, they are 2 different people.

          2. How could rehabilitation have an effect on anyone who isn’t the criminal? I think he’s saying that other people may not be as forgiving as our justice system.

          3. Point of rehabilitation? She’s allowed to live. She’ll be happier in prison. Even if she were a total troublemaker in prison, the chances she’ll beat another child of hers to death are pretty slim.

        2. So may as well kill them in the courtroom the moment the guilty verdict is in.

      2. The prison sentence ends, but the stink will last forever.

        Um, OK. I have no idea why the professors revolted, but the sentence may not even be relevant. If you kill a 4 year old, the stink will last forever.

        1. My point: she committed the crime and then she served the sentence she was given, so while Harvard – and every other private institution can reject her – it is glaring example as to how the stigma of being a prisoner can affect a person for the rest of their lives.

          1. It might be hard to separate the stigma of prison from the crime when it’s something like this

            1. It might be hard to separate the stigma of prison from the crime when it’s something like this

              I get it, but I also think that there is a negative social stigma that goes along with most people who serve prison sentences, which can give them a life sentence. She is an extreme example because of the crime she committed, but she is also an extreme example because she apparently changed her life dramatically while inside prison, which is theoretically what prison rehabilitation is about, so by rejecting her because some people could complain, Harvard is reinforcing every negative stereotype about a former prisoner; it’s disappointing and spineless.

              1. She is *not* an example, extreme or otherwise, of the stigma of prison. Nobody is going to discriminate against her because she has a freaking record.

                By the way, the point you’re trying to make is one I agree with. I just think it’s stupid to use this …person… as an example of what’s wrong with our judicial system. Just like I think it’s stupid for Reason and Riggs to tie her rejection to some implicit form of racism.

              2. But lots of people do this. Prison circumstances don’t allow you to beat four year olds to death. You have a lot harder time driving drunk. You have a lot harder time assaulting your wife. You don’t have to worry about holding on to a job and paying your bills, so you have a lot harder time robbing convenience stores.

                1. Are you drunk? That made no sense whatsoever. Anyone who thinks anyone who is demonstrably repentant should stay in prison is just another fucking slaver.

          2. You have no point if you’re using her as an example. ’cause in her *specific* case it’s not the stigma of being a prisoner, it’s the stigma of being a child killer.

  5. Reason’s soft-on-crime mentality is also manifested by its false reporting about Ferguson (long after the “hands-up, don’t shoot,” narrative was debunked, Reason was still peddling the false meme that Michael Brown was murdered by a racist cop, which even the Obama Justice Department was ultimately forced to reject, finding no basis for prosecuting the cop).

    1. Reason’s soft-on-crime mentality

      Preach brother, preach!

      1. The LAW is the LAW. Especially when it comes to black people.

        1. Nowhere does it mention the child killer is black. I’d bet her four year old son was black, too.

    2. Reason is SJWs now. Sometimes I forget that I’m reading Reason instead of The Huffington Post until I see an article about the minimum wage or tax increases. According to Reason, it’s bad that university professors get fired for publicly demanding violence be done to the president but good that permit-carrying protesters be allowed to peacefully protest because “muh racist white nazis!”

      Where can I find a news source that actually advocates free speech and freedom of association even if it is not content that the authors agree with? You know, the cornerstones of libertarianism.

  6. She beat and murdered a four year old-child.
    Not sympathetic to her predicament, to say the least.

    1. I completely get the sentiment. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could beat a four year old.

      But that was 20 years ago when she was a teenager in a foster home, suffering physical abuse, and emotional trauma from rape herself. Moreover, it was not premeditated.

      I don’t doubt that she went through tremendous emotional pain, which is how she ended up confessing the crime to a mental health professional.

      1. How about those people who suffer the same trauma and don’t kill their own child?

        Just playing devil’s advocate.

        1. They should get to go to Harvard too.

          The fuck is wrong with all of you?

        2. How about those people who suffer the same trauma and don’t kill their own child?

          I had the same thought. It seems like Riggs is implying that her behavior was an extension of the abuse, which is insulting to people who don’t commit horrible acts even when horrible things are done to them

          1. That’s dumb. I’m not violent because of my experiences overseas, but it’s not insulting me in any way to point out that some of the guys I came back with are.

            1. If some of them are violent, they should be charged with the crimes they commit and go to jail.

              1. And when they get out, should they be treated as if they didn’t serve their sentences?

      2. “At 18, she severely beat Brandon and left him alone in an apartment for several days. When she returned, finding him dead, she buried the body and told no one until several years later, when seeking help at a mental health crisis center.”

        50 years sounds about right to me.
        This country incarcerates far too many people who in no way represent a danger to society and reform here is desperately needed and Reason is right to champion this issue.
        However, adults who essentially torture young children and leave them to die suffering in God knows what pain to slowly expire in agony deserve and need to be incarcerated for very, very long prison terms and maybe for the rest of their lives.

        1. Yeh, that poor child. What he went through was so tragic.

        2. However, adults who essentially torture young children and leave them to die suffering in God knows what pain to slowly expire in agony deserve and need to be incarcerated for very, very long prison terms and maybe for the rest of their lives.”

          Like when GWB, Obama and Trump drone wedding parties? I absolutely agree.

    1. “Harvard Got $5.6M in Federal Student Loans and Grants–Despite Its $31.7B Tax-Exempt Endowment” /article/harvard-got-56m-federal- student-loans-and-grants-despite-its- 317b-tax-exempt-endowment

      About as “private” as, oh, Lockheed.

      1. So yes.

        And..5.6 million? They don’t care about didn’t notice it.

      2. Also, Harvard didn’t get those loans and grants, students did.

  7. Reason’s soft-on-crime mentality is an insult to true libertarians who support fundamental rights, like the right to live and the right to property, both of which are protected by jailing murderers rather than admitting them to Harvard.

    That this woman got out of jail after murdering her child is an injustice — not the fact that Harvard exercised its academic-freedom right not to admit this murderer. As the Supreme Court noted in its Sweezy decision, the right to determine who shall be admitted to study is a basic element of academic freedom. Not to mention an exercise of freedom of asociation.

    Reason is a prog-tard publication masquerading as a Libertarian publication. It is progtards who think society is at fault, not the criminal. Libertarians (at least the intellectually coherent ones) believe in individual responsibility, and holdings criminals responsible for their acts.

      1. ^ Gets getting it

    1. The woman served her time and has the right to rejoin society. Now if you have a problem with the length of the sentence thats another issue all together and in her case it clear she wasn’t given a pass like some cops or criminals have ben given lately

      1. Liked that. Again, raped mom kills her unwanted child, cop kills a guy selling loosies. Mom gotta die in prison, cop gets fat pension and back pay. Proportionality, how does it work?

        1. They both get to go to jail for the rest of their lives. At least the guy selling loosies wasn’t four years old and alone. If you don’t “want” the child, maybe they don’t want YOU either, but they’re stuck with your violent ass. I’d have more sympathy for her plight if she just took the kid to a fire station or even left him by the side of the road instead of beating him to death. But no, she beats and bloodies her four year old, and then leaves him. If he had survived, do you think she would have stopped?

    2. The point of jail is to punish wrong-doers, protect society from them, deter others consider wrong-doing, and hopefully, rehabilitate the wrong-doer. 20 years is punishment (though maybe not enough), she is apparently no threat to society now, child murder still leads to long jail sentences, and she appears fully rehabilitated.

  8. Reason attacks Harvard’s exercise of its right to institutional autonomy (and academic freedom, associational, and property rights) in order to help a woman who beat and murdered a four year old child.

    Reason never runs out of excuses for criminals. If the thug is young, it says, his sentence should be shortened because young people are impulsive and their brains haven’t finished developing (as when it touts the Supreme Court’s Miller line of cases).

    But if the thug is older, it suggests his sentence should be shortened because crime rates go down after people’s brains finish developing and they get less impulsive, meaning that a thug will “age out of crime” before too many years pass (citing the twaddle of soft-on-crime academic John Pfaff).

    This line of thinking completely ignores the need to deter crime in the first place. The purpose of the criminal justice system is not primarily to rehabilitate offenders (which can never be done with any assurance, since many “model” prisoners return to crime after being released). Its primary purpose is to protect the innocent, by deterring criminals from committing crimes in the first place.

    And lengthy criminal sentences do deter crime, which is one reason why Virginia has a much lower crime rate than neighboring Maryland. Social science data shows deterrence through harsh criminal sentences in fact works, and saves lives, judging from a 2003 Emory University study, and the work of Paul R. Zimmerman.

      1. He’s being too soft. Everyone who violates the law deserves death.

    1. Is the scotsman done yet? There’s straw and jizz everywhere.

    2. Well I’m thinking the safest strategy is to incarcerate everyone. Free room and board for everyone. A socialist paradise. And the end of crime because there’s no crime in prison.

      1. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard of anybody being murdered in prison. Or doing drugs either. I guess that’s because they don’t allow any gang activity.

  9. If I gave a shit who a private institution like Harvard hires or admits as a student, and I don’t, I’d applaud their rejection of Bradley Manning and some child torture murderer who used her female privilege to con her way out of serving 3/5ths of her sentence

    1. They didn’t reject Bradley, they rejected Chelsea.

      1. So did SIV.

      2. I call a lot of people names they don’t like because they don’t like them. I do so to incite emotion on their part, or their backers. Surgery on genitalia has no bearing here. And that surgery won’t make me stop.

      3. Hmmm, I thought it was Peyton.

      4. I think my eyes are going to roll out of my head.

    2. You know who else….3/5ths?

    3. Not quite so much privilege as trigger-happy cops who don’t serve a jail sentence at all.

  10. I don’t understand the concept of a one day fellowship

    Manning can’t just come talk to people as an invited speaker?

  11. I feel like the Manning topic was almost just an excuse to talk about this. Somehow it feels that way at least.

    1. I don’t think Riggs would deny it.

  12. I think she should absolutely be able to teach. Two things, though:

    1. If she was a man who committed that crime, she would have been gassed or still be in prison for life without parole.
    2. No way in hell they would let a convicted rapist, or even probably a male convicted murderer, teach a class after serving his time.

    1. What if it was Mumia?

      1. Shot a cop in the back? Automatic tenure.

        1. Was the cop older than four years old?

  13. “I heard you tell the receptionist you went to Yale, is that right?”

    “Yes. I yust got out last week.”

  14. You don’t get rehabilitated after torturing a 4 year old and leaving him to die alone. Nature or nurture, I don’t care; Jones was a vile piece of human garbage.

    Ridiculous that Reason should consider Harvard’s rejection somehow newsworthy. And Riggs’ use of the race card as the reason for her rejection is obscene.

    1. You don’t get rehabilitated after torturing a 4 year old and leaving him to die alone.

      On what basis do you make that judgement? I’m really quite curious how you come to believe that you know with such certainty the content of the mind and character of every human being in the world that you can say that with such certainty when the prosecutor who asked for her to be sentenced to a significant prison term and the prison officials who dealt with her seem to believe quite the opposite.

      1. Oh, now we’re siding with prosecutors?

        1. The implication is exactly the opposite of what you want it to be.

      2. John Walsh made a whole TV series about his child who was tortured and murdered. I don’t know why there is more sympathy somehow just because the child is unwanted and the murderer is the parent. Adam Walsh and this little boy went through basically the same thing.

    2. Ok, I get that you disagree with this woman’s release. Fine. Go shoot her. Once she volutarily admitted to what she had done – had you noticed that part? – she appears to have played by the rules on the ground, and Harvard didn’t. Harvard is a institution of moral lightweights, but we knew that.

      1. Except she didn’t. She tried to get her confession tossed because nobody found the body of her child.

  15. Did he really use ‘Trumpkins’ in the article?

    1. He had to, after using Obamanots repeatedly in previous articles.

    2. What a cuck. Riggs is just another member of the mainstream DemOp media slinging fake news and his progtard opinions as if anyone’s impressed.

    3. Yes and I’m still trying to figure out how that figures into this other than unproven idea that it was Trumpkins who forced Harvard to un-invite manning, Harvard would of faught twice as hard to keep him/it but then maybe there was to much money to loos also not proven in the article

    4. Well, if anyone is fairly called “trumpkins” Lewandowski and Spicer are probably it.

      1. Probably but not terribly intellectually or professional.

        1. You’re at a blog run by Nicholas Gillespie.

  16. Where “everyone is an elite among elites?” By what fucking metric? How much your dad donates to the university every year? By how much of an entitled communist putz one happens to be? By minority or victimhood status?

    Also, not sure how to think about the Jones issue. I suppose you could say she served her time. But, uh…ok? So it’s ok now? I dunno.

  17. There was a shitstorm back in the early 90s because Harvard had accepted a student (again a young female who overcame a troubled past) who had killed someone when she was 13 or 14 because her abusive boyfriend put her up to it. A local AM talk show host got wind of this and took to the airwaves, so my guess is they wanted to avoid a repeat that would be all the more viscious in the age of social media.

    In any case, Harvard obviously wants to make sure that their professional murderers and torturers are kept happy.

    1. In the early 1990s case, the applicant had not disclosed that she had been convicted of juvenile murder. Indeed, she may even have claimed credit for overcoming the hardships of being an orphan (though her application was not disclosed). She was later admitted to another college.

      In this case, I gather the applicant was honest about her past. I can understand rehabilitation, but does it require a scholarship at the #1 college rather than a #10 college?

    2. In the 1990s case, the applicant had killed her own parents. When it became known in her home town that she had been avcepted to Harvard, someone ratted her out.

    3. In the 1990s case, the applicant had killed her own parents. When it became known in her home town that she had been avcepted to Harvard, someone ratted her out.

    4. In the 1990s case, the applicant had killed her own parents. When it became known in her home town that she had been accepted to Harvard, someone ratted her out.

      1. Far less heinous than the Jones case.

  18. Also, Manning is not Snowden. Manning is a mentally ill asshole who needs to go away.

    1. I get the feeling that Manning is addicted to the attention. When the left moves on (and it will), I foresee a miserable future for her.

      1. The incidence of suicide in the transgender population is sky high. They have horrible self-reported quality of life metrics, before and after reassignment. I just hope Manning gets help and decides to avoid further publicity. Getting Snowden pardoned and home is vastly more important than whatever the hell is going on with Manning.

  19. This part amuses me:

    “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.”

    What is fox actually saying about the case?

    I couldn’t actually find anything in Fox News, I wonder why that is…

    1. And is the guy saying that Fox would object to her being a minority, or that it would claim Harvard was catering to her because of her minority status?

  20. “Now Jones will do her scholarship at New York University”

    Objectively speaking, in what way is New York University worst than Harvard?

    1. They let in perps who beat their kids to death.


  21. The decision is a travesty

    But the real kicker is Harvard’s assertion that accepting Jones “”would cause a backlash among … conservative news outlets …” Who do they think they’re kidding? The day that Harvard cares what conservatives think about their policies is the day the earth reverses itself on its axis.

    Simple fact: Jones is just too plebeian for the blue-stocking crowd at Hah-vahhhd. An Ivy League “education” is not really about “education” but about connections, and Jones just doesn’t fit that paradigm. Harvard has once again exposed the truth about itself; Jones will thrive at NYU and Harvard will rue the day. Good.

    1. If only she were a middle class terrorist who set off bombs in the Seventies for the sake of the Marxist revolution…now she’s “rehabilitated” and wants to study America’s racist heritage…hello, professor!

      1. That is sort of the point – those are the people who traditionally get a second chance, not someone like this woman.

        1. Reminds of the Manson girls, all of whom are elderly. With the possible exception of Squeaky they are all completely harmless old ladies but will die in prison at taxpayer expense because justice. They weren’t rich and famous, just stupid teenage girls. But I sure sleep better at night knowing they can’t kill any movie stars..

          1. just stupid teenage girls

            Stupid MURDERING teenage girls. They weren’t locked up for their stupidity.


            1. Although maybe they should have been.

  22. Really, these “selective” schools often apply vague, hard-to-measure criteria in deciding whom to admit. I mean, you have to have impressive grades and an impressive background overall, but among these applicants, I don’t think they apply some scientific test to see who is the best of the best.

    They could just automatically admit the top scorers on some specific test or group of tests, but then how would that leave room for the admissions officials to be subjective? What if the test results have the “wrong” proportion of various groups getting high scores?

    So, like, you gotta have some subjectivity. And at this level of subjectivity, some see a murderer, some see someone who rose above their circumstances and got rehabilitated majorly.

    But let’s not pretend there’s a scientifically rigorous way to sort out the really tippy-top applicants. At least, no scientific way that Harvard is willing to use.

  23. if she’s (Manning) rotten fruit, they (Lewandowski) are, too.

    (head spins)

    are you fucking kidding?

    1 – Manning, dumps classified military and diplomatic intelligence into the public sphere – not out of any specific act of conscience, but pure spite – which results in massive diplomatic damages with both allies adversaries, actively undermines ongoing US military operations, and most likely cost the lives of covert US intelligence sources…


    2 – Lewandowski, who is *alleged to have ‘pushed’ an aggressive reporter*…. once.

    methinks your sense of proportion is …. monumentally fucked, Riggs.

  24. Look I get the support for rehabilitation and second chances and all that. But fuck this cunt. Her crime was too heinous. I don’t care if she cured cancer. Anyone who tortures their four year old kid and beats them to death doesn’t deserve a single fucking iota of sympathy. I don’t care if she served her time as a model prisoner. Her time was not nearly fucking long enough. In fact, fuck the cage. This bitch deserves to be beaten to fucking death herself. Child killers need to be weeded out of the genetic pool.

    1. “Child killers need to be weeded out of the genetic pool.”
      She kinda did exactly that.

    2. What a piece of shit you are.

      1. Fuck you Eek. This piece of shit deserves to die a horrible death and anybody who would defend her has no conscience. Certain crimes are beyond forgiveness.

        1. I largely agree. how would a private law society treat such a bitch? Death, a cruel and unusual death.

        2. Sounds like you want to institute Sharia Law ToCa. That way you can stone her to death. Chop the hands of theives off too while you’re at it.

      2. Fuck you. He’s right.


    3. Agreed. But I think anyone who supports this child killer should be weeded out as well.

  25. OT: live like a thug cop, get acquitted like a thug cop.…..d=49872333

  26. “At 18, she severely beat Brandon and left him alone in an apartment for several days. When she returned, finding him dead, she buried the body and told no one until several years later, when seeking help at a mental health crisis center.”

    The beating aside… Leaving a 4-year old child alone for several days? What the fuck?

    She got a bachelor’s degree at taxpayer expense and was released 30 years early… but we’re supposed to feel sorry for her not getting into Harvard? She might have had a rough life, and maybe she has changed, but asking us to feel sympathy for her current “plight” is beyond ridiculous.

  27. Oh who hasn’t threatened their neighbors with a baseball bat?

  28. I have read Reason on and offline for a decade and usually only S Dalmia content enrages me this much. Finally created an account to register my disbelief that any more than a small minority of readers thinks this woman is anything other than a monster.

    I fully sympathize with those disgusted by the iniquities of the justice system as Mr. Riggs admirably is, but dammit, if you can’t reject someone for TORTURING THEIR OWN CHILD! than who can you reject? To keep an open mind on Ms. Jones is to have abdicated a moral compass, to rip off a phrase.

  29. She may have served her legal sentence but she will always be a child killer.

    1. Murdering a four year old child is the lowest of the low. There is no crime worse than that.

      1. Mass murder is worse. Just saying..


        1. Maybe. Mass murder of four year olds, like in the Holocaust. But for sheer coldness and cowardice, the murder of a four year old takes the cake. At least Charles Whitman’s victims got a chance to duck.

  30. “I heard you tell the receptionist you went to Yale, is that right?”

    “Yes. I yust got out last week.”
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  31. “Now Jones will do her scholarship at New York University”

    Objectively speaking, in what way is New York University worst than Harvard?
    Sent from Internet marketing blog

  32. Where’s the Harvard scholarships for the middle and lower-middle class white kids who worked their butts off in school to earn stellar academic records, contributed to their communities, participated in a lot of (non-sports) extracurricular activities, stayed out of trouble, etc etc …. in short, did everything right? Everything they were told they should do to get ahead? Truth be known …. there are none. One has to be an “ethnic” or member of some so-called “marginalized group”, an athlete, a reformed felon, or some kind of weird celebrity for some reason or other. Were I an employer I’d take a high achieving State University grad any day over a Harvard or Stanford type.

    1. I knew a girl in my small all girls high school, Kathy Powers. She was in a different graduating class, but I knew her. She had a stellar academic record even for our stellar academic high school. She did lots of community service, as we all did, it was required. She had a column in the city newspaper, she even won a cooking award. She was a valedictorian and won a scholarship to college. She went totally nuts there, met a guy, joined some group, and they ended up committing a robbery where a cop was shot. Not by her, by another guy in the group. She ended up 20 years on the lam and finally turned herself in. Still did jail time for five years where she finally got her college degree. HER I can see getting a scholarship to Harvard, although she didn’t.

      But this Jones bitch? Cold hearted and evil plus manipulative as hell, like a lot of sociopaths. She wants pity points for her tough life? Who the hell knows she was ever even raped? Because she said so? Maybe she should carry around a mattress or something. She not only murdered, she beat her son to death. That’s not gently giving him sleeping pills or even a shot to the back of the head. Beat a four year old to death and then people feel sorry for her because she claims she was raped?

  33. Not with you on this one. Letting her out of prison is one thing, giving her a spot at Harvard over someone who didn’t beat their own kid to death is quite another.


  34. This Harvard you mention. Is this the same school whose graduates do not understand the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its relation to the seasons?
    There may be a traitor in that woodpile, but it ain’t Manning.

  35. I thought this was the “anti-establishment” administration.

  36. This is rich. She made the decision about whether her son would be able to apply (much less attend) Harvard (or go to the prom for that matter) but I’m supposed to feel bad when someone else decides against a confessed murderer? It’s almost ‘Karma’.

    She was an adult when she was convicted. They have never found the boys’ body (it’s alleged she buried the kid somewhere so he’s still rotting in some grave or eaten by animals). She lied to the father. Lied to the police. Changed her insurance forms from 1 to no dependents. Her son had a rare but treatable illness she didn’t like and she once said she ‘…didn’t want to raise a freak….’ When she appealed she tried to say that without a body, maybe her son was not murdered, only ‘missing’.

    Of course, we wouldn’t be having this conversation and there would be no application to Harvard, if she too were still rotting away in jail the way her son is rotting in some unmarked grave.

    Write an article about Brandon, not the one who murdered him and gets to start a new life at age 45.

  37. There are literally thousands of much better qualified applicants than Jones. They deserve a chance at any school before her.
    Lots of others in similar circumstances resisted the urge to do such unspeakable acts. Burglary 20 yrs ago? Maybe, but only if no other offences and an outstanding intellect coupled with achievement.
    50 year sentence is appropriate. Some things cannot be just chalked up to victim in the hood virtue signal pandering.

  38. “as the result of rape”. That should say, “as a result of alleged rape”.

    Also, the body was never found. We do not know if this was a single crime of anger, prolonged years of abuse, or if she just straight up tortured a baby to death over a period of time. It is impossible to make a judgement on who the woman is, if we do not even understand what she did and if she is truly repentant. Why not say where the body is?

    Harvard also said that they believed she minimized her crime to the point of misrepresentation.

    The decision to not allow her in Harvard is not as simple as they say in the article

  39. Trumpkins

    When you know you are reading a high-quality piece of objective analysis.

  40. Many of these comments about Michelle Jones are misguided because the article conceals a crucial part of the narrative. She LIED ON HER APPLICATION! She obscured her role in her child’s death, and her rejection was at least in part due to her lack of honesty and transparency. Mike Riggs and other writers leave out this part because it makes for a better story the other way.

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