The Harvard class of 2021 will contain at least ten fewer students, after the university rescinded offers to students who reportedly shared offensive memes. The memes — which the Harvard Crimson characterized as “sexually explicit” and “messages that sometimes targeted minority groups” — were predominantly sent as private messages in a chat thread born from a Facebook group called “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.” (The meme group was an offshoot of the official Harvard 2021 Facebook group, which the university runs and claims authority over any “unofficial groups” that might pop up as a result.) Memes reportedly included jokes about child abuse, sexual assault, and the Holocaust, and referred to hanging a Mexican child as “piñata time,” the Crimson also reports.
To gain admission into the private, X-rated meme group, students were asked to post an offensive meme in the public group of about 100 admitted students. This was how Harvard administrators got wind of the memes. In April, university officials sent an email asking students to hand over every offensive meme they had contributed, a student whose offer was rescinded told the Crimson, under conditions of anonymity. “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,” the email reportedly read. “It is unfortunate that I have to reach out about this situation.” Students were also told not to attend Harvard’s annual weekend for potential students, as their accepted statuses were in jeopardy. Ultimately, a least ten students lost their offers of admission. A Harvard spokesperson told the Crimson that the university does “not comment publicly on the admissions status of individual applicants.” Select All has reached out to Harvard and will update this post if we hear back.