Harvard Says No To Racism
Harvard University made the decision to rescind admission of Kyle Kashuv – shooting survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – over racist tweets he wrote two years ago.
This is the not the first time Harvard has reversed admission from prospective students over racist comments. Two years ago, they withdrew acceptance from 10 incoming freshman after it was discovered the students were sharing explicit memes in a Facebook chat group. The members joked not only about certain ethnic and racial groups, but also sexual assault, the Holocaust, and deaths of children.
According to a screenshot of Kyle Kashuv’s Google Doc, he repeated the N-Word 11 times. In a text obtained by the Huffington Post, Kashuv, speaking about a girl says that she "goes for n***erjocks." In that same text, he wrote "pasty jew < n****r."
Although he apologized, Kashuv believes this is a campaign against him organized by former classmates. He also said the tweets are not indicative of who he is now.
After the tragedy in Parkland, Kashuv stood out as a conservative supporter of the Second Amendment, while his classmates were swerving another way. He used his popularity to obtain a meeting with President Trump to advocate for what he believed would be more effective federal legislation to improve school security.
Harvard informs students upon their admission that the college reserves the right to withdraw its offer for several reasons, including if an admitted student “engages or has engaged in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character.”
Harvard’s decision to deny Kashuv makes sense. For one of the most significant universities in the country, he would be a liability. His behavior does not align with their mission. You can’t just say whatever you want and expect zero consequences. As we have seen recently, particularly in higher education, riding the wave of white privilege doesn’t go as far anymore.
Kashuv does not see it that way. "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," he said on Twitter.
Harvard is certainly not telling him he can’t grow. They are simply saying that they have standards around character and personal morality, as it should.
What is certain is that an enormous shift would be required from an unapologetic racist. Change comes with the understanding that actions have consequences.
Kashuv has not done the self-work. He doesn’t regret what he said. He regrets that he got caught being racist. He is not able to see the black students not given access to advanced programs, because teachers tracked them based on their skin color.
Or the black students who never even had a chance, because centuries of racism have made the dream of Harvard unattainable.
For Kashuv, racism is funny. Most of us know that racism is life-changing and even deadly. Sadly, he thinks he is the victim here.
Another certainty is that he will find admission at another school. The question is will he use this moment to be accountable for how his words and actions fit into a much larger picture of systematic racism.