To the Editor:
The glorification of this narrative about Michelle Jones is troubling for several reasons. Most obviously, she murdered her child. Whether or not redemption is possible can be debated, but such a person absolutely does not deserve to take a coveted spot in a prestigious academic institution, regardless of her academic merit.
Higher education competition is so fierce precisely because there is a plethora of highly qualified applicants, with outstanding research, scholarship and potential. Of those applicants, many have overcome incredible difficulties and injustices, and they did not commit horrific acts like murdering their own child. Harvard got it right, even if it handled the situation poorly.
Beyond questions of morality, this story problematically feeds a larger problem because New York University’s decision to admit her so perfectly fits the anti-liberal and anti-intellectual narrative of the Trump supporter. N.Y.U. shamefully sanitizes her story as a celebration of success, as The Times has done.
Academic institutions, and our society at large, are already struggling to counteract the damage of the anti-intellectual movement that has hit its stride with Donald Trump’s presidency, and with stories like this, this dangerous movement will only be strengthened, to the detriment of us all.
JESSICA VAN GILDER, MINNEAPOLIS
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