Kyle Kashuv, Parkland shooting survivor, says Harvard admission was rescinded over past racist remarks

Kyle Kashuv, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, speaks during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 148th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 26, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His acceptance to Harvard was recently rescinded, allegedly because of inappropriate comments he made. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Kyle Kashuv, a student who survived the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was all set to attend Harvard this fall. However, the Ivy League school revoked his acceptance to the class of 2023.

Taking to Twitter, the 18-year-old explained in 13 tweets that the reason for the abrupt about-face on the university’s part was due to racist and anti-Semitic statements he made years earlier on a chatting app to friends. Kashuv alleges that “former peers & political opponents” contacted the Harvard admissions department, urging administrators to reconsider Kashuv as a future Harvard student, after the comments were recently publicized.

After being contacted by Harvard for clarification on the statements, which Kashuv made at 16, he wrote an apology letter, admitting what he said was wrong and in bad taste.

He also drafted a note to Harvard’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, seeking guidance on how to be more openminded toward people of color, at the university specifically and in the community generally.

This was followed by a response from the diversity office, thanking Kashuv for his “thoughtful reflections” and saying they would be willing to work with him when he arrived on campus in the fall.

However, according to a letter signed by William R. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, which was posted on Twitter by Kashuv, the admissions department voted to rescind his admission.

Kashuv said that he is being judged unfairly considering that “Harvard’s faculty has included slave owners, segregationists, bigots and antisemites” over its centuries of operation. “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,” he said.

Kashuv’s pro-gun stances also earned him attention in 2018, when, not long after the Parkland mass shooting that killed 17, he livestreamed a conversation with conservative commentators who were strong backers of the Second Amendment.

The cover page of Kashuv’s Twitter account shows him seated in the Oval Office, seated across the desk from President Trump and next to first lady Melania Trump. During that trip to Washington, less than two months after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas — and during the height of the March for Our Lives movement — Kashuv also met with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who assured the student that despite the concerns and lobbying of his high school classmates for gun control, the Second Amendment “won’t be touched.”

Kashuv has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, and on Friday he tweeted Trump well wishes for the president’s 73rd birthday.

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