Harvard University kicks out 10 students over racist memes shared on Facebook

The Harvard Crimson - the official student newspaper of the university - quoted two freshmen in a report as saying that "a handful of admitted students formed the messaging group" in December previous year.

They posted memes about rape and dead children and the Holocaust.

The messages shared by the students in a private Facebook group chat were sexually explicit and targeted minority groups, the publication reported.

As per reports, one person called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child "pi?ata time", according to The Crimson. Some of the group's members made a decision to form an offshoot group in which students could share obscene, "R-rated" memes, a student told the Crimson.

And in mid-April, after administrators discovered the offensive, racially-charged meme exchanges, at least 10 incoming students who participated in the chat received letters informing them that their offers of admission had been revoked.

"We do not comment publicly on the admissions status of individual applicants", Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane said in an email.

Harvard tells admitted students that offers can be withdrawn for behavior that "brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character".

Last year, some incoming freshmen (class of 2020) were found to have traded racist and sexist jokes in a group chat.

Once the university's admissions office became aware of the memes and images shared, they asked students involved to email pictures sent in the group chat for review.

The chat grew out of a roughly 100-member messaging group that members of the Class of 2021 set up in early December to share memes about popular culture.

Upon learning of the posts, Harvard's administration revoked the students' admissions offers. She, however, emphasised Harvard "reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under the following conditions, which are clearly expressed to students upon their admission". It also described correspondence that Harvard officials had sent to members of the group.

  • Larry Hoffman