Harvard rescinds at least 10 admissions offers over vile Facebook group

It all started off so promising for a new group of students who’d been accepted to Harvard.  In December 2016, using the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group, these soon-to-be Ivy Leaguers started communicating and interacting with one another.  Some within the group decided that it would be fun to create a messaging group to share memes about popular culture.  So, about 100 students joined together and did just that.

Unfortunately, some within this group decided that just posting fun and lighthearted memes wasn’t enough.  They broke off to form their own chat group — one which trafficked in racism, misogyny and disturbing sexual themes.

At least 10 freshman have had their admissions rescinded, after university official were able to see what was being discussed and shared among this splinter group.  According to students familiar with this scandal, some of the goings-on there were rather shocking:

In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”

In Mid-April, the prospective students were informed that they University had become aware of their postings and requested that each make a full accounting of the messages they had sent.  They were also informed that their admissions would be placed under review.

“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. 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.”

By late April, at least 10 found out that they would not be attending Harvard in the fall.  According to Harvard, when an offer is rescinded, the decision is final.

Perhaps, if some of these students would have read the guidelines posted on the official class of 2021 Facebook page, they would have known Harvard’s policies on student behavior.

“As a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.”


An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.