At least 10 students who were accepted to Harvard University’s incoming Class of 2021 had their acceptances rescinded for sharing memes that were either sexually explicit or racially insensitive, campus paper The Crimson reports.
Members of the incoming freshman cohort at Harvard started a meme group on Facebook in December last year, as is usually the norm on college campuses these days where members share and create cultural memes.
The meme group, started off membership of the Harvard Class of 2021 Facebook group, was once called “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens,” according to the student newspaper. Some members of this group started a private “dark” group message where more offensive memes were shared, The Crimson reported, and students who wanted to get into the second group had to post a provocative meme in the first group to prove their dedication.
In the second group, participants shared memes making fun of sexual assault and joking about minority groups. The Tab, a college-oriented online news site, released screenshots of the memes posted in the group message and they included references to Mexicans, the Holocaust and child abuse.
Harvard University found out about this activity and moved to rescind acceptances of at least 10 students, according to The Crimson. “We do not comment publicly on the admissions status of individual applicants,” Rachael Dane, Harvard College spokesperson, told USA TODAY College in an email Monday morning.Like virtually all universities, Harvard reserves the right to revoke a person’s acceptance to Harvard for several reasons, including misrepresentations, uncompleted or poor academics before attending or criminal activity.
“Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under certain conditions, which are clearly expressed to students upon their acceptance,” spokesperson Rachael Dane told The Crimson in a statement two years ago. “An offer of admission may be rescinded if a student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.” University officials told The Crimson the school’s decision to withdraw an acceptance is final. However, a petition started on Change.org argues that the memes were simply harmless jokes and that a private chat is not grounds for Harvard administrators to rescind acceptance to the university.
This article was first posted on USATODAY College.