A Parkland shooting survivor had his Harvard acceptance rescinded after his past racist comments surfaced online

“Harvard deciding that someone can’t grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning.”

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - APRIL 26:  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. The convention, which runs through Sunday, features more than 800 exhibitors and is expected to draw 80,000 guests. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Kyle Kashuv, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, speaks during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in April. –Scott Olson / Getty Images

A student who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School says his admission to Harvard was rescinded after racist comments he made “a few years ago” surfaced online.

Kyle Kashuv, a conservative activist who opposes the push for gun control by other survivors of the Parkland, Florida, shooting, posted a statement on Twitter in May when the comments initially surfaced.

The teen said he was “embarrassed by the petty, flippant kid” illustrated in his comments and said he knew he could do better.

“We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible,” he wrote. “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.”


According to HuffPost, Parkland students shared a Google document, texts, and Skype messages where Kashuv wrote racial slurs and racist comments. The messages dated from late 2017 and early 2018, according to the publication.

On Monday, Kashuv said his acceptance to the Harvard Class of 2023 had been rescinded over the circulated comments. Two of his Parkland classmates, David Hogg and Jaclyn Corin, are headed to Harvard.

“Harvard deciding that someone can’t grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning,’ Kashuv wrote in a series of tweets, describing his back and forth with the university. “If any institution should understand growth, it’s Harvard, which is looked to as the pinnacle of higher education despite its checkered past.”

Kashuv said sharing his experience is “about whether we live in a society in which forgiveness is possible or mistakes brand you as irredeemable, as Harvard has decided for me.”

As for next steps, the teen said he’s “exploring all options at the moment.”

Sides were quickly taken on social media, with some saying the university had a right to rescind Kashuv’s admission and others decrying the school’s action.

“We do not comment publicly on the admissions status of individual applicants,” Rachel Dane, a spokeswoman for Harvard, told Boston.com in an email.


Harvard reserves the right to withdraw an admission offer if a student fails to graduate, shows a drop in their academic performance, an application is found to contain misrepresentations, or if the admitted student “engages or has engaged in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character.”

In 2017, the university withdrew admissions offers to 10 incoming freshman after discovering that the students exchanged offensive images and messages in a private Facebook group.


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