Monday, 26 June, 2017

Harvard rescinds offers to incoming freshmen over hateful memes

Harvard Rescinds Acceptance for Offensive Memes Ten Students Get Harvard Offers Rescinded For Sharing Memes In Private Chat
Kelley Robertson | 06 June, 2017, 05:54

Opinions on the decision vary, with some students telling The Crimson they don't believe any internet activity that's unaffiliated with the university should be monitored, let alone result in a rejection from the school, while others think Harvard acted accordingly.

The university has rescinded admissions offers to at least 10 prospective freshman after the students traded sexually explicit and other offensive graphics and messages in a private Facebook group chat. The group, which at one point was labeled "Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens", was sharing content that made fun of touchy subjects such as sexual harassment, the Holocaust and more. The chat group was described as an obscene offshoot of a Class of 2021 forum, where potential students would share memes and commentary about pop culture and mutual interests. To become a member of the small R-rated chat group, students would have to post an inappropriate meme to the original Facebook page to prove worthiness.

The Crimson did not identify any of the students who said their admission offers were withdrawn.

Many will agree these students crossed a line and forfeited the right to engage in unfettered debate, at least at Harvard.

While a Harvard representative told Business Insider that the university did not "comment publicly on the admissions status of individual applicants", the posts likely called into question the students' moral character.

Harvard's doors are no longer open to at least 10 students previously accepted into its class of 2021. And now they won't be able to say, "I parked my vehicle on Harvard Yard". It might just get you rejected from your dream school.

It's nearly ironic that these students were smart enough to get into Harvard, which admits a mere 5.2 percent of applicants (2,056 out of 39,506 applicants), according to the school, yet weren't wise enough to recognize that their actions have consequences. "As we understand, you were among the members contributing such material to this chat". Once a student's offer is rescinded, the decision is final. On the other hand, if it denied admission to every high school kid who said something offensive, no one would ever go to college again.

"I do not know how those offensive images could be defended", she continued. Last year, several members of the Class of 2020 joked about race and mocked feminists in a group chat. But with this action, Harvard is sending a message with a classic free-speech chill: You can say anything - but not here.

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