Harvard rescinds admissions offers over offensive memes

Harvard rescinds admissions offers over offensive memes
Posted at 11:23 AM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 08:32:48-04

CAMBRIDGE, MA (RNN) - Harvard College has rescinded the admissions offers of at least 10 incoming freshmen after they posted offensive memes in a private Facebook group chat. 

Some of the memes were sexually explicit and targeted minorities, reported The Harvard Crimson, the college's student newspaper. The memes also mocked sexual assault, the deaths of children and the Holocaust. One called the hanging of a Mexican child "pinata time."

The students formed the messaging group in late December. The chat grew out of a closed Class of 2021 Facebook group designed to discuss popular culture.

Admissions employees emailed students involved in the chat in April, demanding that they submit all of the memes they used in the chat, a student who was involved in the group told the Harvard Crimson. The student chose to remain anonymous because they didn't want to be associated with the messages.

"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," according to the Admissions Office’s email obtained by The Harvard Crimson. "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."

Some of the students involved told the newspaper they received notice their admissions were revoked in mid-April.

Rachael Dane, a spokesperson for the college, refused to comment about the admissions revocations, saying "we do not comment publicly on the admissions status of individual applicants." 

Of the nearly 40,000 total applicants for the class of 2021, Harvard accepted 2,056 applicants, a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. 

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