Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Should college acceptance be rescinded because of regrettable comments made in high school?

Asked by Demosthenes (6896points) 1 month ago

https://thehill.com/homenews/news/448866-harvard-rescinds-acceptance-to-parkland-survivor-kyle-kashuv-over-past-comments

Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the Parkland mass shooting noted for his support of the second amendment, has had his acceptance to Harvard rescinded over comments he made not long before the Parkland shooting in which he used the n-word in offensive contexts (assuming there are non-offensive contexts).

Kashuv admitted his use of the word was “egregious and callous”.

This brings up the issue: to what extent can people move past the dumb things they’ve done in the social media era where there is a permanent record of everything you’ve said and thought over the years?

It’s very possible that going through something like the Parkland shooting changes a person. He seems to show regret. Should he still have his acceptance rescinded over what he said?

(I remember being concerned that my acceptance to Stanford might be rescinded because it became clear I was going to get a B in calculus. What an innocent time…)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

40 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Demosthenes: “Should he still have his acceptance rescinded over what he said?”

Are you asking if Harvard should have rescinded his acceptance, or are you asking if we would have rescinded his acceptance had we been involved in Harvard admissions?

Harvard has an acceptance rate of ~5%. This is an absurdly-competitive school to get in to. Rejecting a “guns rights activist” who recently used racials slurs doesn’t seem very unusual or unreasonable.

And yes – I would have rescinded his acceptance if I were involved in Harvard admissions.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hmmmmmm I guess both. I’d be interested in either answer. I recognize how competitive it is, and if we were talking about him not getting in in the first place, there’d be no argument, but rescinding applications, from what I understand, is fairly rare.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Demosthenes: “but rescinding applications, from what I understand, is fairly rare.”

How “rare”?

Harvard rescinded acceptances for 10 people in 2017.

Demosthenes's avatar

Seems pretty rare to me. I’d also be interested in reasons for rescinding applications. I was given a lot of warning about applications rescinded due to grades dropping, but that was the old days.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Demosthenes: “Seems pretty rare to me.”

canidmajor's avatar

Your Q asks for a general assessment of the subject, but all your details focus on a singular case, and all the info is from one fairly right-wing source. The article is slanted in favor of young Kyle, and it sounds somewhat compelling. However,simply because he “said he was sorry” (no matter how eloquently), Harvard is not obliged to un-rescind the acceptance (I’m sure there is a better word). Surviving Parkland undoubtedly changed him, but not necessarily in ways that Harvard would now find acceptable and/or positive.

At 16, most of us knew what not to say in public, and we didn’t even have social media.

I don’t think Harvard is out of line here. Maybe if he could prove to them in two years that he was a better and changed person (various diversity awareness programs at whatever school he does attend, stuff like that) he could try to transfer in.

Demosthenes's avatar

@canidmajor Yes, this question was inspired by a specific case, but I don’t mind if people who answer ignore the specific case and come up with hypotheticals or examples from their own experience. Thank you for your answer.

ragingloli's avatar

They had no problems accepting him when he was an open gun nut, it was only when it came out that he was a racist that they kicked him back out.
Having a famous racist among your flock is bad publicity, so they cut him loose, understandably.
Would I have kicked him out? No. A deal is a deal. Unless he violates the deal, by being a racist shithead while in my halls.

Demosthenes's avatar

@ragingloli That’s how I feel. Some conservatives are arguing that his application was rescinded because he’s a “gun nut”, but he wouldn’t have been accepted if that were the case. They should’ve been more thorough if they considered this disqualifying.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Hell no. Kids say stupid things all of the time. Plus. If what they said was genuinely how they felt, their opinion could change with age/experience.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Should have no bearing on it but context matters and I don’t see enough of it. Could be they had other reasons like a politician or celebrity made a “donation” to get their kid in and they had to make room.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have conflicting feelings about this. If my moral character was judged at 16 I would not have been admitted either. Harvard is not obligated to let anyone in but admissions must be fair. Now that they have done this it will have to echo into the future. Any non- PC remarks in your social media? No Harvard for you. What a world we are making for ourselves.

hmmmmmm's avatar

Grades are not why people get admitted to Harvard (or any competitive school). It’s the “other stuff”. It’s all the stuff that supposedly makes you who you are, including your values, etc. If you are supportive of private universities making decisions about who gets admitted or rejected, you are supporting the very thing that this case is about.

I know conservatives may find this difficult to hear, but not admitting a student who served as the high school outreach director for Turning Point USA should be a simple one.

@Demosthenes: “Yes, this question was inspired by a specific case, but I don’t mind if people who answer ignore the specific case and come up with hypotheticals or examples from their own experience.”

The point is that you heard about this because you’re consuming conservative media. The reason this “story” got picked up and became a thing is because it fits with a narrative conservatives have been pushing for years – that conservatives are the victims of liberal universities.

We don’t need hypotheticals or personal anecdotes to discuss this any further. It’s a non-issue that is neither unreasonable or unusual. If the intent of such a discussion is to entertain the concept of fairness, then this is a poor starting point. College admissions are not fair, and real discrimination exists – but it is economic, as college generally serves to perpetuate a class system. This is not about idiot TP USA fools getting rejected and crying victim for being a racist conservative.

Additionally, if you feel so victimized by this one instance, you might feel that a private university should not have the right to handle its own admissions. If this is the case, I’d be interested to hear your solution. Are we talking government-run admissions? Tell me more.

canidmajor's avatar

There is also a very simple explanation here that we seem to be missing. Harvard is, ultimately, a business. As with any other business, reputation is everything. If they feel that this kid will make the brand look bad, their decision to boot him is perfectly in line with any other business decision.
The Ivies have a large multi-racial population, appealing to an across-the-board demographic is wise.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

They’re also in damage control mode right now from the recent admissions scandals.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hmmmmmm Yes, I try and consume media from both sides of the aisle to understand the different, often opposing takes on current issues. Sometimes when I ask a question here based on something I read in conservative media, it’s because I don’t really agree with it, but I don’t have a good argument against it, so I poll Fluther’s mostly liberal user base to see what the arguments are. In this case, I didn’t have a strong opinion on it. I don’t disagree that Harvard has a right to rescind an application for this reason, but I’m bothered by this societal trend that we don’t allow people to move past their stupid mistakes. A person’s offensive tweets from years ago are brought to light and end their career. It’s things like that rub me the wrong way. The specific politics of this case don’t matter. If it had been David Hogg rescinded from BYU I’d be asking the same thing.

tinyfaery's avatar

They are a private business. They can do what they want.

And I will never buy the argument that, oh he was only this and that age. Fuck that. I have never in my life said anything so fucking heinous. Also, he posted it on social media. He obviously isn’t that bright, or he wouldn’t have put it out there for the world to see.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Demosthenes: “I don’t disagree that Harvard has a right to rescind an application for this reason, but I’m bothered by this societal trend that we don’t allow people to move past their stupid mistakes. A person’s offensive tweets from years ago are brought to light and end their career.”

I think a conversation should be had about allowing people a path of forgiveness for all kinds of past offenses. But I don’t think this particular story fits into this discussion in any way. Hold old is this kid? Harvard admissions is particularly focused on what people are about when they are 16, so it’s not irrelevant to the admissions process – it’s a core part of it. Additionally, this kid served as the high school outreach director for Turning Point USA (according to the article). This wasn’t some foolish childhood prank that is coming back to haunt him. This is reflective of what type of person he is.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

This was all about him being a dumbass online which is not a good sign for high moral character but two years time in a person’s late teens may as well be a decade as an adult. I probably would not have let the kid in myself though. If they did not admit him because of turning point then may as well just stop admitting anyone who is a conservative.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: “If they did not admit him because of turning point then may as well just stop admitting anyone who is a conservative.”

Or maybe admitting anyone targeting the college’s employees. But if “conservative” is synonymous, then…?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

So what would be wrong with a political action group targeting or keeping lists of employees who discriminate against minorities? The school does not have to do a thing but as a student would you not want to know?

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ I’m not running a business, but Harvard is. I’m just speculating that a group that targets my business and potentially hurts it might not be good.

hmmmmmm's avatar

And like I said before, colleges are looking for certain types of people. It’s not about grades. If it feels that you won’t succeed or contribute to the overall college environment and education for all, it would make sense for you to not be accepted. So, your proposal that they “may as well just stop admitting anyone who is a conservative” is probably a reasonable idea.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

That’s a ridiculous statement.

johnpowell's avatar

Did you guys check out what he actually wrote?

This isn’t like he was reciting rap lyrics.

“Y NIGGERS HEY, IMAD I WILL FUCKING MAKE A CSOG OF DOUGLAS AND PRACTICE Kill all the FUCKING JEWS. FUCK THE JEWS”

So yeah. Glad he got the boot.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I just read it too, I think what he really wrote is “not Harvard material”

MrGrimm888's avatar

Maybe his words, were taken out of context?~~~~

gorillapaws's avatar

I don’t really feel like there should be a metaphorical “statue of limitations” on racial bigotry and Anti-Semitic hate speech (I guess if you were a total child or brainwashed as a kid, maybe). As conservatives would say: take personal responsibility for your actions.

canidmajor's avatar

^^^ This. I was raised by conservatives who were also bigots, and was taught from an early age that there were things you simply did not say. It was that simple. This generation knows almost instinctively that anything that hits the Internet is not private.
They didn’t didn’t rescind because of his conservative views, they probably knew his conservative views when they accepted him; it was the revelation of bigoted hate speech that changed their minds.

Demosthenes's avatar

@gorillapaws But isn’t recognizing that it was wrong and apologizing for it taking responsibility?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Demosthenes “But isn’t recognizing that it was wrong and apologizing for it taking responsibility?”

That’s the beginning. Accepting the consequences that you’re probably an objectively less worthy candidate than others who haven’t made bigoted hate-speech publicly is also part of it.

canidmajor's avatar

@Demosthenes: An apology, if sincere, is simply a holding of oneself accountable, it doesn’t erase the behavior that needed to be apologized for. Yes, he’s sorry that he said it, especially since he got caught, a perfectly reasonable reaction. And he may well mean it, and be honestly remorseful, but his remorse may be tied up in the fact that he is now being called out on the consequences of his actions. If he was 35, and had led an exemplary life after that, then perhaps it would be inappropriate to not hire him for a job if stuff he said at 16 came out, but really, it wasn’t long enough ago for present actions to have erased it.

Demosthenes's avatar

But you can’t erase it. It’ll always be there. All you can do is show that you aren’t that person anymore.

That’s what I’m getting at: if you can’t actually erase it, does that mean that you’re branded for life?

canidmajor's avatar

Not necessarily, read my post. “Branded for life” implies the same burden of fault forever, but a reasonable amount of agenda-free “good” behavior would indicate a positive change to most people.
And make no mistake, all of this kid’s stated “good intentions” are prompted by a damage-control agenda. As sincere as he may be about being changed and feeling differently now, no one can guess at this moment if he speaks truth or is just trying to fix stuff.

ragingloli's avatar

Surviving a mass shooting had no impact on his gun nuttery, what makes you think it had any on his racism and antisemitism?

josie's avatar

Private school

They can do what they want

Including discriminate against Asian American applicants

Response moderated (Spam)

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther