Ten students paid the ultimate academic price for their actions; their applications were rescinded from Harvard University. Although seemingly shocking, the action came justly.
These ten students were a part of a Facebook group chat titled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens” in which they joked about rape, child molestation, and racial crimes. Spawned from a different Facebook group chat, through which Harvard students exchanged typical, non-offensive memes, the group gathered elsewhere to exchange these more sinister online jokes. Concerned students reported the group’s contents, and Harvard emailed the students. They were required to disclose their postings in the group and explain the rationale behind each.
Part of the university’s statement on the issue is as follows:
“The Admissions Committee was disappointed to learn that several students in a private group chat for the Class of 2021 were sending messages that contained offensive messages and graphics.”
Accepted Harvard Students Withdrawn
The withdrawal of the ten students' accepted status followed. Amongst the jokes causing the decision were “mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children.” Others even joked about the sexual abuse of children being arousing. One joke became racial when it referred to the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child as “piñata time.” This is not the first time Harvard has faced social issues amongst their population.
The social media response to Harvard’s actions was support for the school and outrage towards the students.
They were joking about having sex with children AND making racist jokes. I hope their lives are ruined https://t.co/RgGYkLENmZ— elexus jionde (@Lexual__) June 6, 2017
Incoming Harvard freshman, Wyatt Hurt (who was not a member of the Facebook group) said ,"You have your First Amendment rights. But when you apply, you sign an honor code to be good and virtuous. Why would we want to have those people in our class?"
The university does not elaborate on the admission status of individual students. However, a school policy states that the school reserves the right to withdraw offers if an "admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character." I think most will agree that this situation called into question the ten students’ moral character.
Some don’t agree, however. One Harvard student said “This was a just-because-we-got-into-Harvard-doesn’t-mean-we-can’t-have-fun kind of thing” about the group chat. It does not look like Harvard admissions staff will be changing their minds anytime soon.