Harvard Rescinds Offers Because of Offensive Memes

HarvardHarvard has rescinded admissions offers to at least ten students for posting offensive memes in a private Facebook group. The posts included jokes about sexual assault and people of color and included violent images, such as a Mexican person hanging.

Newly admitted students participated in a Facebook group established by the university, and a smaller group splintered off to have some fun. Members of the larger group say people were invited to participate if they posted something offensive to the original group first.

The Admissions Office sent an email to several students, including the text, "The Admissions Committee was disappointed to learn that several students in a private group chat for the Class of 2021 were sending messages that contained offensive messages and graphics" and "As we understand you were among the members contributing such material to this chat, we are asking that you submit a statement by tomorrow at noon to explain your contributions and actions for discussion with the Admissions Committee."

In the description of the university's Facebook group is this disclaimer:

"As a reminder, 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."

Image source.


  • What are the arguments for and against the decision to rescind the offers?
  • What's your view? Did the university do the right thing?
  • Have memes gotten out of control? They all seem ill willed. Will people get tired of them at some point?