Harvard University has rescinded acceptance offers for at least 10 students who would have joined the Class of 2021 because they shared racist and sexually explicit memes online.
According to The Harvard Crimson, the prospective students sent each other content making fun of sexual assault, the Holocaust, child abuse, pedophilia, and certain ethnic and racial groups in a private Facebook group chat. The group chat was born out of the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group, where newly-admitted students had the chance of contacting each other.
After the existence of the messages and memes was discovered by the Harvard administration in mid-April, the Admissions Committee revoked the students' offers. According to TheCrimson, Harvard's decision to rescind an offer is final.
A spokesperson for the university told the student newspaper that the institution doesn't comment publicly on individuals' admissions status.
However, one of the students who lost their admission offer agreed to chat with The Crimson. The student, who came forward under the condition of anonymity, said the Facebook group's members involved in the case received an email from the Admissions Committee asking them to disclose all the content they sent in the private chat.
"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," read a copy of the email, which was obtained by the student newspaper. "As we understand you were among the members contributing such material to this chat, we are asking that you submit a statement by tomorrow at noon to explain your contributions and actions for discussion with the Admissions Committee."
According to the student, 10 members of the group received a letter from the university announcing their admission offers had been withdrawn about a week later.
This spring, Harvard admitted only about 5% of its applicants to be part of the Class of 2021.
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