Would-Be Harvard Students Were Denied Acceptance for Bad Memes

They posted offensive things in a Facebook group, a report says.

Photo via iStock/marvinh

In yet another example of questionable behavior online coming back to bite students at the prestigious school, would-be Harvard undergrads have reportedly had their acceptances revoked after they were caught sharing offensive memes with one another on Facebook.

According to the Harvard Crimson, the on-campus newspaper, at least ten people will not be attending Harvard in the fall after school administrators found out obscene and offensive messages were being shared in a private group chat formed as an “R-rated” offshoot of an unofficial Facebook group for accepted students. The posts included racist jokes, quips about child abuse and the Holocaust, and a comparison of a hanging Mexican child to a piñata, according to screenshots the Crimson obtained.

The school contacted students involved in the group chat in April and asked them to explain themselves, then sent at least ten of them a message rescinding their acceptance. An official Facebook page for accepted students includes a reminder that “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.”

Something similar happened last year—accepted students shared “racially charged” messages in a GroupMe chat before the school year began—and Harvard administrators condemned it in a statement but did not take any other actions against them. Also last year, Harvard punished both the college’s soccer and cross country teams for keeping secret online databases full of lewd commentary about female athletes.