CAMBRIDGE, MA – Harvard University has withdrawn acceptance offers to at least 10 incoming freshmen after school administrators discovered the students were sharing explicit memes via a Facebook chat group, according to The Harvard Crimson student newspaper.
The memes were shared in a Facebook messaging group that at one point was called “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.”
In the group, members joked about subjects including sexual assault, the Holocaust, deaths of children, and certain ethnic or racial groups, according to the Crimson.
After administrators learned about the memes, they rescinded the students’ acceptance offers in mid-April. The Facebook chat group was an offshoot of the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group affiliated with the university, the newspaper reported.
The description for the Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group states, “we are not responsible for any unofficial groups, chats, or content within.” It goes on to remind students that “Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions.”
One of those conditions includes “if an admitted student engages or has engaged in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character,” a university spokeswoman said.
An email sent by the Harvard admissions office to the students whose acceptance offers were rescinded cited “offensive messages and graphics” that were shared by the group.
“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,” the email said. The email was obtained by the Crimson.
Harvard College spokeswoman Rachael Dane told CNN that the university does not comment publicly on the admission status of individual applicants. The college admitted 5.2% of applicants to the Class of 2021, accepting 2,056 students out of 39,506 applicants, according to the college.