News & Politics

DC Reddit Forum Removes Q&A With Controversial Graduate School

Members of a subreddit devoted to Washington were not pleased about an AMA with the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security.

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Moderators from a Reddit forum devoted to Washington, DC, have removed a Q&A thread featuring a controversial local graduate school after a wave of complaints from the subreddit’s users.

In a thread from user Oedipe titled “Meta: Can we focus for a second on why the mods approved an ‘AMA’ by a fly-by-night, unaccredited, National Security grad school funded by sketchy ultra-right-wing interest groups?” users skewered the credibility of DC’s Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security. “This is satire right?” user dcent12345 commented on the the school’s Q&A, called an “AMA,” or “ask me anything,” on Reddit. Oedipe noted that “the only questions asked save one were by people who had just created their account or who had been supporting the school in other threads.”

“There were a bunch of Washington Post articles on this school,” reads a comment by NervousCricket. “The articles describe some pretty disturbing stuff: fake spy running the school, sexual coercion of male employees to groom them for national security jobs, and and countersuing the victims. Yikes.”

Daniel Morgan has indeed attracted some bad press since 2017: Mark W. Levin, a former special adviser to the school’s president, allegedly sexually abused male employees and may have fabricated his ties to the Central Intelligence Agency. Daniel Morgan had not a background check, the Washington Post reported. Three of Levin’s alleged victims filed a lawsuit in April 2017. The school filed a countersuit the next month, alleging that the victims of sexual coercion defrauded the university. The cases appear to have been settled this past July.

None of the text from Daniel Morgan’s AMA is live, as moderators have locked the thread. How did this school get the green light in the first place? According to a post from the mods, a representative for Daniel Morgan approached with a request for an AMA—a popular way for businesses, celebrities, and other public entities to answer questions and interact directly with Reddit users. Deciding that the school’s website seemed credible enough and believing the exercise to prove educational to prospective students, the mods gave the go-ahead: “The sub rarely gets AMAs, so we thought it would be fine to have it up for an hour,” they wrote.

But now, the mods say, “We agree the AMA was a mistake.” To avoid similar situations in the future, they’re beefing up their forces, adding active local Redditors  Oedipe and Brahette to the moderating team.  “They’re both longtime active users of the sub,” the moderators continued.  “This’ll give us better coverage, better transparency, and another set of eyes before we take actions on behalf of the sub.”

Brahette declined to comment. None of the other DC subreddit moderators nor the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security returned requests for comment.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.