Harvard Rescinds Admission for Parkland Student Over Past Racist Comments

A student who survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018, announced that his admission to Harvard University was rescinded for his past anti-Semitic and racist comments.

In a thread posted to Twitter on June 17, Kyle Kashuv, 18, wrote that the university had rescinded its offer because of the comments Kashuv wrote online when he was 16-years-old. The news of Kashuv’s offensive comments were first reported by HuffPost back in May. In the screenshots shared by the publication, Kashuv repeatedly used the n-word and mocked Jewish people.“Kill all the [expletive] Jews. [Expletive] the Jews,” one post obtained by HuffPost read.Kashuv issued an apology following the news story, stating that his comments were “idiotic” and he is “embarrassed” by his language.

“This past year has forced me to mature and grow in an incredibly drastic way. My world, like everyone else’s in Parkland, was turned upside down on February 14. When your classmates, your teachers, and your neighbors are killed it transforms you as a human being,” Kashuv previously wrote in his statement. “I see the world through different eyes and am embarrassed by the petty, flippant kid represented in those screenshots. I believe those I’ve gotten to know since know that I am a better person than that.”

In his Twitter thread, Kashuv said he received a letter from Harvard University stating that the university has the right to withdraw an admission’s offer “if you engage or have engaged in behavior that brings into question your honesty, maturity, or moral character.” The university asked Kashuv to provide a full record of any past comments of this type he has made, as well as a letter explaining his actions to the dean of admissions.

Kashuv sent his response to the dean as well as a letter to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion “to seek guidance on how to right the wrong and work with them once I was on campus.” On June 3, Harvard University wrote in a letter to Kashuv that the admissions committee had decided to rescind his admission to the university. “After careful consideration the committee voted to rescind your admission to Harvard College,” William Fitzsimmons, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, wrote in the letter that Kashuv posted to Twitter. “We are sorry about the circumstances that have led us to withdraw your admission, and we wish you success in your future academic endeavors and beyond.”Kashuv slammed the university’s decision to rescind his admissions offer, stating that the university would not allow him to grow.

“Harvard deciding that someone can’t grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning. If any institution should understand growth, it’s Harvard, which is looked to as the pinnacle of higher education despite its checkered past,” Kashuv wrote on Twitter.

The 18-year-old, who planned to take a gap year before he attended Harvard University in the fall, wrote in the Twitter thread that he is reapplying to other colleges and is “exploring all options at the moment.” Two other Parkland students and gun control activists, David Hogg and Jaclyn Corin, will attend Harvard in the fall, according to The New York Times.

The university has rescinded admissions before. In 2017, Harvard University withdrew the admissions for at least 10 prospective students from the class of 2021 for posting offensive memes in a Facebook group, The Harvard Crimson previously reported. The students in the group reportedly mocked the Holocaust, sexual assault, and the deaths of children, according to the publication.An e-mail from the university’s admissions office obtained by The Harvard Crimson stated that they were “disappointed” upon learning about the offensive comments in the private Facebook group.

“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,” the copy of the letter obtained by the publication read. “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.” “It is unfortunate that I have to reach out about this situation,” the email reads.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.