Somewhere in the U.S. there is probably a mother who boasted to all her friends that her genius son was going to Harvard in the fall, and now she has to tell everyone that he won’t be going after all, because Harvard just rescinded at least 10 acceptances to the class of 2021 for posting gross, offensive memes on the Internet.
According to the Harvard Crimson, in late December some newly admitted members of the Harvard class of 2021 made a Facebook group for swapping Internet memes. It was called “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens,” and it was mostly lighthearted joke memes of the variety we all laugh at on Twitter and Facebook. Then, however, a second “dark” version splintered off for people who wanted “a more R-rated” chat experience.
In that group, the incoming Harvard kids posted intentionally offensive memes that were often racist or sexually explicit. Screenshots of the group show Holocaust jokes, comments mocking sexual assault victims, talking about being sexually aroused by child abuse, and memes about how funny dead children are. Lots of them were overtly racist. One, for example, called the hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”
In order to get into the “dark” group, prospective members had to post at least one of that kind of meme to the mainstream group.
But then Harvard found out about the messages being posted in the “dark” group, and decided that those weren’t the kinds of people they wanted in the school after all. They have since rescinded at least 10 offers of admission.
When news of the “dark” memes came to light, Harvard emailed students who had posted in the group and asked them to disclose what they’d posted and to explain themselves.
“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 email said, according to The 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.”
About a week after that letter went out, at least 10 offers were rescinded.
Most universities reserve the right to withdraw admissions offers for several reasons. It’s rare, but it can happen, and that’s communicated when offers are made. In fact, it’s stated pretty clearly on the Facebook group for incoming Freshmen where these meme chats originated.
“As a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character,” the Facebook group for the Class of 2021 says.
Harvard says the decision to withdraw an offer of acceptance is final, so it sounds like some kids on the Harvard waitlist are about to have a very good day.
(Image: iStockPhoto / janniswerner)