‘Politically Opportunistic’: Students Unenthusiastic Over De Blasio’s Harvard Debut

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Harvard students are less than impressed to find former Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio headlining as a visiting fellow at the school’s Institute of Politics (IOP) this fall.

“Honestly I don’t have a great impression of de Blasio,” student and Manhattan native Owen Wiese said of his former mayor, according to the New York Post. “I think he irked a lot of New Yorkers by campaigning for president in other states when NYC was dealing with a lot of problems. He generally was perceived as politically opportunistic and someone who changed his opinions based on who he was talking to.”

“As a New Yorker who watched him try to will himself into a higher job than major for years, it’s not that surprising he would want to be involved with Harvard somehow,” fellow student Jack Silvers remarked, the New York Post noted.

Despite misgivings about de Blasio’s “complicated” past, Silvers added that he hoped students would engage with his study group regardless. “I just worry about the stigma from his presidential run and antics as mayor,” he concluded.


The former mayor is teaching an eight week course at Harvard on what he deems were his two biggest accomplishments during his time in office — universal pre-K and combatting COVID-19.

The latter’s success rate is far from universally acknowledged, in part because of discord between de Blasio and former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Their arguments were something that regularly “slowed down decision making processes,”  according to former New York City Health Commissioner David Chokshi as reported by the New York Post.(RELATED: ‘Alarming Increase’: New York City Sees Uptick In Coronavirus Cases)

“There were moments where my frustration at not being able to advance public health policy for New Yorkers could be directly tied to the toxicity of that relationship,” Chokshi admitted in June, according to the New York Post. (RELATED: ‘F*ck Cuomo And De Blasio’ Street Mural Painted In New York City)

Though some students may see de Blasio’s stint at Harvard as a pawn in his “game of political chess,” the Harvard Independent notes, others are more optimistic.

“Whether or not de Blasio was a good mayor, he can still be a valuable fellow,” student Lucas Gazianis said, according to the Independent. “Anyone who leads New York City has an array of highly unique experiences, and as long as de Blasio is a patient and candid teacher, students will likely get a lot out of his fellowship,” he stated.

IOP Interim Director Setti Warren is counting on De Blasio’s “decades of experience” in government to provide invaluable insight to students and the Harvard community, according to a Harvard press release. “We are excited to welcome Mayor de Blasio to campus as we look for pathways forward on the challenges facing our democracy,” he wrote.