Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Kyle Kashuv announced on Twitter that Harvard rescinded his admission in connection to racist comments he made before the mass shooting at his school in Parkland, Florida.
For anyone else, this is a no-brainer
By EJ Montini
If we had been talking about any other young person besides Kyle Kashuv having his admission to Harvard rescinded we … wouldn’t be talking about it.
It would not be an issue.
Universities like Harvard have thousands of qualified kids applying for entry every year. I’m guessing they’d have no problem finding one as qualified as Kashuv who did not spew a bunch of racist screeds when he was 16.
And, by the way, isn’t 16 old enough to know that racist screeds are, you know, racist?
Kashuv is “news” only because he’s a darling of some conservatives, including the National Rifle Association, at whose gathering he has spoken.
He got to speak there because Kashuv is a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting who, unlike many of his fellow students, is a pro-gun advocate.
So now there are those coming forward to say Harvard is dumping Kashuv for youthful indiscretions for which he has apologized.
It’s good that he apologized — after being outed.
But, again, at an elite institution like Harvard, there are many, many qualified applicants who did not spew racial screeds as 16-year-olds. And if it were any other applicant being dumped, we would have no problem with it.
On Twitter Kashuv said, "We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible.”
On one of the screenshots released by students who know Kashuv has him writing the N-word more than a dozen times and saying, "like im really good at typing ------ ok like practice uhhhhhh makes perfect son??!!"
In another online conversation, he says another student prefers dating “------jocks.”
Should the use of such racial slurs ruin Kashuv’s life or brand him forever?
Should it keep him out of Harvard?
I’d guess that any number of applicants to universities like Harvard are rejected or have their admissions rescinded because of something stupid they’ve said on social media.
We all have flaws. We all say dumb things on occasion. College admissions are competitive. What can separate someone who gets into Harvard from someone who doesn’t may very well be what was said online at 16.
And if it were anyone else, we wouldn’t be giving it a second thought.
What others are saying
Monica Hesse, The Washington Post: "I’m still at a loss about what to do with a situation like Kyle Kashuv’s. And not in some what-is-the-meaning-of-redemption way. But practically speaking: Unless we seal them all in a cave, people who do bad (but not illegal) things are going to continue to be part of our society. What do we think that should look like? What is your personal vision?"
David Brooks, The New York Times: "These days, many people seem to think that the way to prove virtue is by denouncing and shunning, not through mercy and rigorous forgiveness. Harvard could have but didn’t take the truth-and-reconciliation approach — confronting the outrage, but trying to use it to get to a deeper eventual embrace. It’s hard to know if Kashuv has learned from his repulsive comments, but if he had, wouldn’t Harvard want a kid who is intellectually rigorous and morally humble? Wouldn’t it want a student who could lend a hand to all the perfect résumé children who may not have yet committed a disgrace, but who will?"
Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian: "The right is obsessed with lecturing liberals on personal responsibility. However, as their response to the Kashuv situation demonstrates, they are not so keen on taking personal responsibility themselves. Actions have consequences, as Kashuv is finding out. He may not be going to Harvard in 2023, but the university is already teaching him a valuable lesson."
What our readers are saying
I keep hearing “he was 16” as some excuse, as if it happened 20 years ago. But he’s 18 now. His “explanation” was a spin and damage control.
— Eric Scoggins
I’ve been going back and forth on this — on the one hand, a 16-year-old kid competing with friends to see who can be the most vile is bound to get ugly. On the other hand, this kid needs to understand that his actions have consequences.
— Tricia Dillon
It's punishment because they had already agreed to accept him. At that point, he had already turned down other offers from other schools and the deadline closed. Pretty raw deal.
— J.I. Walkup
Sadly, Kyle doesn’t seem to get it, even now. He’s sorry he got caught, not that he said what he said. Words have consequences. Harvard and Kyle Kashuv are a bad fit.
— Suzy Howell
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Harvard right to dump Kyle Kashuv for racist remarks: Today's talker