(NEW YORK)— PEN America issued the following comments today from Jonathan Friedman, director, Free Expression and Education program, in response to news that Harvard University had reversed its decision and will offer a fellowship to former Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth:

“The Harvard Kennedy School’s decision to offer Ken Roth the fellowship he earned through decades of pathbreaking work defending human rights is welcome news. By denying him the fellowship, the university sent an alarming message that champions of human rights could see their academic careers derailed for speaking out against powerful governments. It is important for institutions to be able to recognize where they have made an error that encroaches on free speech and academic freedom and to correct it; Harvard deserves credit for that. That said, questions remain about why Roth was denied this fellowship in the first place.”

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057