Kyle Kashuv, a Parkland shooting survivor and pro-Second Amendment advocate, announced on Twitter that Harvard has rescinded their admissions offer after a two-year-old racist message he and other classmates “made privately years ago” resurfaced. The 18-year-old advocate acknowledged his tweet included “abhorrent racial slurs” but doesn’t think it should have cost him a chance at the ivy league school.
On May 24th, Kashuv posted a letter from Harvard’s Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons stating that the school had been made aware “of media reports discussing offensive statements allegedly authored by you.”
The letter also stated: “Harvard reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions, including ‘if you engage or have engaged in behavior that brings into question your honesty, maturity, or moral character.'”
According to the New York Times, a former classmate of Kashuv’s obtained the private messages and posted them online. Most of the comments were derogatory toward African Americans.
One message, in particular, showed Kashuv writing racial slurs repeatedly that read: “like im really good at typing” the slur, he wrote. “ok like practice uhhhhhh makes perfect son??!!”
Kashuv took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the matter. “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,” the teen wrote.
He added: “Throughout its history, Harvard’s faculty has included slave owners, segregationists, bigots and antisemites. If Harvard is suggesting that growth isn’t possible and that our past defines our future, then Harvard is an inherently racist institution. But I don’t believe that.”
In an effort to make his case, Kashuv issued an apology to the university, CNN reported. The following day, Harvard’s Office of Diversity Education & Support responded to his apology by thanking him for his “thoughtful reflections” but adding that the Harvard admissions committee stood firm on their decision.
“I believe that institutions and people can grow. I’ve said that repeatedly. In the end, this isn’t about me. It’s about whether we live in a society in which forgiveness is possible or mistakes brand you as irredeemable, as Harvard has decided for me,” Kashuv wrote on Twitter.