Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of last year’s Parkland school shooting and a rising star in conservative media, announced Monday that Harvard University had rescinded his admission over racist remarks he made privately as a 16-year-old.
Kashuv, 18, apologized for the comments when they were made public last month. According to screenshots that circulated on social media, Kashuv referred to black student athletes as “nigger jocks” in a text message and wrote the slur multiple times in a Google Doc.
“Harvard has decided to rescind my admission over texts and comments made nearly two years ago, months prior to the shooting,” the former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student tweeted, before launching into a lengthy account of what happened.
2/ A few weeks ago, I was made aware of egregious and callous comments classmates and I made privately years ago – when I was 16 years old, months before the shooting – in an attempt to be as extreme and shocking as possible.
I immediately apologized.
Here is my apology: pic.twitter.com/eI38ziiQE8
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) June 17, 2019
“A few weeks ago, I was made aware of egregious and callous comments classmates and I made privately years ago – when I was 16 years old, months before the shooting – in an attempt to be as extreme and shocking as possible. I immediately apologized,” Kashuv said in a followup tweet.
Harvard declined to comment.
But Kashuv said that the university responded to the controversy by sending him a letter requesting a written explanation of his comments and informing him that the school “reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission.” This came after “former peers & political opponents began contacting Harvard urging them to rescind” Kashuv’s acceptance, he said.
The gun rights activist’s response, as well as his email to the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion seeking “guidance on how to right this wrong,” were not enough to sway Harvard. In early June, the school informed Kashuv in an email that he was no longer welcome to enroll in the fall of 2020.
“As you know, the Committee takes seriously the qualifies of maturity and moral character. After careful consideration the Committee voted to rescind your admission to Harvard College,” Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons wrote in a letter Kashuv shared with his more than 300,000 Twitter followers. “We are sorry about the circumstances that have led us to withdraw your admission, and we wish you success in your future academic endeavors and beyond.”
Kashuv criticized Harvard for its decision, saying that it was “deeply concerning” that the university decided that “someone can’t grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting.” He also noted that the school has its own “checkered past.”
“Throughout its history, Harvard’s faculty has included slave owners, segregationists, bigots and antisemites. If Harvard is suggesting that growth isn’t possible and that our past defines our future, then Harvard is an inherently racist institution. But I don’t believe that,” Kashuv said in the Twitter thread.
“I believe that institutions and people can grow. I’ve said that repeatedly. In the end, this isn’t about me, it’s about whether we live in a society in which forgiveness is possible or mistakes brand you as irredeemable, as Harvard has decided for me,” he added.
Kyle Kashuv – culture war figure
Kashuv has proven a controversial figure in the American political landscape ever since he emerged as a pro-Second Amendment, conservative foil to fellow Parkland shooting survivors and progressive activists, such as David Hogg.
Many liberals on Twitter celebrated Harvard’s decision by mocking Kashuv.
There's always PragerU as a safety.
— Tom quillman (@AboynamedSue_81) June 17, 2019
Meanwhile, a number of conservative commentators characterized the incident as an example of anti-conservative bias and political correctness run amok.
Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire’s editor-in-chief and something of a mentor to Kashuv, personally wrote his outlet’s report on the news, pointing out that the teen graduated second in class with straight As and a 1550 on the SAT.
In sharing the article, Shapiro tweeted: “Between the attacks on Ronald Sullivan and the expulsion of @KyleKashuv, Harvard is truly demonstrating what an institution with no principles other than fear of the far-left looks like.”
Between the attacks on Ronald Sullivan and the expulsion of @kylekashuv, Harvard is truly demonstrating what an institution with no principles other than fear of the far-left looks like. https://t.co/zgL26OPaSZ
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 17, 2019
“This is disgusting because we know it’s not a standard equally applied,” added Quillette editor Andy Ngo.
This is disgusting because we know it’s not a standard equally applied.
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) June 17, 2019
Others said the activists who apparently sabotaged Kashuv’s Harvard acceptance reflected the intolerance of the left.
(David Hogg get into Harvard)
the Right: (eye-roll) give me a break
the Left: How dare you monsters attack this kid!
(Kyle Kashuv gets into Harvard)
the Left: (publishes dirt on him, getting his acceptance rescinded): YEAH, GET THAT LITTLE FUCKER, BURN HIS FUCKING HOUSE DOWN
— PoliMath (@politicalmath) June 17, 2019
But not all conservatives have united in defending Kashuv. Right-wing media figure Mike Cernovich slammed Kashuv in May for his racist remarks and called on him to personally apologize to C.J. Pearson, a 16-year-old black conservative commentator.
Come on, we all saw what you did to Milo and others.
Let’s see those principles.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 23, 2019