Parkland grad says Harvard rescinded offer after racist comments surfaced

Kyle Kashuv

Kyle Kashuv

A survivor of the Parkland school shooting says Harvard University has revoked his acceptance over racist comments he made online and in text messages.

Last month, Kashuv addressed the offensive comments he made in high school as screenshots of him using the n-word were posted online and shared with news outlets.

He admitted to authoring those comments and apologized shortly after they leaked, writing, "I'm embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I've become in the years since".

Rachael Dane, a spokeswoman for Harvard, said the school does not comment publicly on the admission status of individual applicants.

"After careful consideration the Committee voted to rescind your admission to Harvard College", Harvard Admissions Dean William Fitzsimmons wrote to Kashuv on June 3, according to a copy of the letter that Kashuv posted on Twitter.

Despite the blow, Kashuv has gotten some support from conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, who sparred with numerous commenters arguing that uncovering everything any one has said when they were a teenager and holding it against them is an "insane and cruel" standard, which sets a unsafe precedent.

Unlike many of his fellow Parkland survivors - who rose to prominence after the shooting by advocating for stricter gun control legislation - Kashuv became an avid pro-gun activist.

1/ THREAD: Harvard rescinded my acceptance.

"Harvard deciding that someone can't grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning", he tweeted.

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"I immediately apologized", Kashuv wrote, claiming that "former peers & political opponents" had then pressured Harvard to rescind its offer. After Harvard informed him of their decision in light of the remarks, he then requested to meet with the university but Harvard rejected his request, writing in an email, "We understand this outcome is disappointing, but please be aware that the Admissions Committee carefully and thoroughly considered your application in reaching its determination".

Throughout its history, Harvard's faculty has included slave owners, segregationists, bigots and anti-Semites.

"The Committee takes seriously the qualities of maturity and moral character".

In an ironic twist, he said the school's Office of Diversity Education & Support responded to his apology the next day, saying it appreciated his "thoughtful reflections" and looked forward to connecting with him "upon your matriculation in the fall of 2020".

Mr. Kashuv said the university declined his request for an in-person meeting to "make my case face to face and work towards any possible path of reconciliation".

'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", Kashuv added. The messages occurred months before the Parkland massacre that left 17 dead and 17 wounded, and which Kashuv said "forced me to mature and grow in an incredibly drastic way".

In his final Twitter post Monday morning, Kashuv said he's still trying to figure out his next steps.

Kashuv said he had given up "huge scholarships" to go to Harvard, and that the deadline for accepting offers to other colleges had passed. "I'm exploring all options at the moment".

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