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Harvard University

Source: Darren McCollester Hulton Archive / Getty

Remember, what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet — especially if you are applying for Harvard.

According to reports, Harvard withdrew acceptance letters from at least ten students after discovering they posted offensive memes in a private Facebook group chat. The Harvard Crimson reported that the school “revoked their admission in mid-April after discovering the students shared sexually explicit, racist, and offensive memes, as well as messages in a group chat called ‘Harvard Memes for Horny Bourgeois Teens.’”

Just like most of us, the teens joined the university’s official “Harvard College Class of 2021” Facebook group in order to share funny content and get to know your future classmates and colleagues. However, things got pretty vulgar when about 100 students from the chat formed an offshoot messaging group that became a space to share jokes and images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, often targeting ethnic or racial groups.

The incoming freshmen who created the “Horny Bourgeois Teens” page told Buzzfeed, “For the first like four months it was great. Just wholesome memes and discussions about life. Just like an open forum for people to chat. They had to post one offensive meme in the normal chat so that way the other members of the dark chat had evidence to report each other if it did all crumble (which it did). Anything that was ‘wild,’ as they called it. So it ranged from memes that made fun of the Holocaust to people with disabilities.”

The group began to grow larger as more students were accepted into the school and university officials found out about it. Harvard administrators emailed students in mid-April who posted offensive material and demanded they show everything they had posted in the group so that the proper protocol could be followed. At least ten students have had their acceptance to Harvard rescinded as a result.

The university has declined to comment on the “the admissions status of individual applicants.” Do you think that the university’s decision to pull student admission offers over what they shared in a private messaging group violates the students’ freedom of speech?

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