Students from the Harvard Kennedy School and others say they plan to protest the arrival of key members of president-elect Donald J. Trump’s team this week when they attend a two-day conference at the school’s campus following the contentious presidential election.
According to the Harvard Institute of Politics, part of the Kennedy School, Kellyanne Conway, who helped to usher in a Trump presidency as the candidate’s campaign manager, and chief strategist Steve Bannon are expected to attend portions of the “Campaign for President: The Managers Look at 2016” event being held Wednesday and Thursday.
The event has taken place each election year since 1972, according to the school.
Bannon is listed as a “confirmed participant” on the institute’s website, along with dozens of reporters and other political advisers. Bannon accepted the invitation for the campaign manager event but is not on the agenda of speakers, Harvard officials said in an e-mailed statement.
Conway is scheduled to speak Thursday night. She will take the stage alongside Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager; and CNN anchor Jake Tapper at a forum called “War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016.” CNN will broadcast the discussion on Sunday, according to the institute’s website.
Bannon was tapped as Trump’s chief strategist in the days after the election. The appointment drew ire because of Bannon’s ties to the “alt-right” website Breitbart News, and views that have been called racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic.
A Facebook page called “Protest Stephen Bannon & Trump Advisors at Harvard” is calling on students to come together for a “peaceful” gathering to decry the school’s decision to invite Bannon.
“Trump brought racist ideologues into the mainstream. Harvard is furthering the process of normalization for racist hate,” the group’s event page says. “We do not accept hate and bigotry as normal or legitimate. Come protest.”
The effort comes just days after a group of students and alumni from the Harvard Business School, which Bannon attended in the 1980s, penned a letter disavowing his appointment to the White House staff. The letter, published in the New York Times, characterized Bannon as the architect of a movement that “preaches white nationalism, racism, misogyny, and hatred.”
A second protest is tentatively planned for Thursday, when Conway appears at the forum about the election. More than 300 people have signed up in support of the protests, according to the group’s Facebook page.
“We should voice our concerns with respect for ourselves, our classmates, our faculty, and our country,” one of the event organizers wrote.