Harvard Withdraws Admissions of 10 Students for Online Speech
Ten high school seniors from across the country were accepted by Harvard University for admission in the Class of 2021. They were scheduled to start their freshman year at the end of the summer of 2017. However, university policy grants Harvard the right to “withdraw an offer of admission if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.” This can include online speech.
Members of Harvard’s incoming class are invited to join an official, moderated Facebook group. Some students form their own group chats around common interests, such as studying history or being from California.
In June, 2017, the school withdrew the admissions of ten students. They had formed a group chat known as “General F**kups” and “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.” They exchanged images with captions that were racist and anti-Semitic and that made light of pedophilia, suicide and child molestation. The messages were reviewed by the administration who determined that these students were not a good fit for the Harvard community.
The lesson here is to think carefully before sending an image or message. Think about who may see your work, possible victims of cyberbullying, and the effect the incident may have on your personal future. These ten students will most likely continue their education, but their aspirations of a Harvard experience is over.
Explore more student free speech cases here.
Photo by Paul Maraj (Flickr)