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Felipe Calderon Harvard fellowship: protest petition gathers steam

Some 35,000 people have signed a petition urging Harvard to cancel the former Mexican president’s academic appointment.

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Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

Some 35,000 people have signed an online petition urging Harvard University to cancel a fellowship the university awarded former Mexican President Felipe Calderon in November 2012, BostInno reported.

Calderon, a Harvard alum, started his stint as the first Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School this month. While in the one-year academic position, he will give lectures and help write case studies about government and public policy, ABC News reported.

In 2006, Calderon launched a military offensive against Mexican drug cartels, according to ABC News.

More from GlobalPost: Mexico President Felipe Calderon defends war against drug cartels

Claiming that he is partly responsible for the deaths of more than 60,000 people in that war, Border Patrol Agent John Randolph and Mexican citizen Eduardo Cortes both started petitions asking Harvard to withdraw the fellowship, BostInno reported.

Their two petitions were later combined into one, which reads in part:

Decision makers at Harvard University have chosen to ignore Calderon's 100,000 drug war murdered and his 25,000 drug war missing and award him a fellowship.

Any moral or ethical integrity that Harvard has ever had has been submerged in Calderon's blood-soaked fellowship.

“I started [the petition] out of outrage,” Randolph told BostInno. “Calderon’s legacy is one of blood and corruption, and Harvard does not seem to care. Americans are very uninformed about the Mexican drug war, and my hope is to bring awareness to it.”

In a recent interview with the Cambridge Chronicle, Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood said Harvard was standing by its choice.

"We recognize that not everyone agreed with his policies or his approaches, as is the case with all world leaders, but one of the fundamental tenets of the Kennedy School and all American universities is a free exchange of ideas," Ellwood told the Chronicle. "In keeping with that educational mission, the school has a long and proud tradition of allowing our students the opportunity to engage with world leaders and to ask difficult questions on important public policy issues."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130131/felipe-calderon-harvard-fellowship-protest-petit