Racist Comments Cost Conservative Parkland Student a Place at Harvard

Some conservatives decried Harvard’s decision as unfair, once again thrusting the fraught issue of college admissions into the public eye. And the rescinded offer raised a question uniquely relevant to the digital age: To what degree should the pronouncements of young people who routinely document their thoughts online — in this case, in a private study document shared with a few classmates — follow them into adulthood?

A Harvard spokesman declined to comment, citing college policy on discussing an individual applicant’s admission status. In 2017, the college rescinded admission offers for at least 10 applicants who had shared sexually explicit and other offensive memes and messages in a private Facebook group.

Harvard informs students upon their admission that the college reserves the right to withdraw its offer for several reasons, including if an admitted student “engages or has engaged in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character.”

William R. Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions and financial aid, cited “maturity and moral character” in informing Mr. Kashuv of the rescinded admission offer.

“After careful consideration the committee voted to rescind your admission to Harvard College,” Mr. Fitzsimmons wrote in a letter dated June 3, which Mr. Kashuv shared on Twitter. “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.”

Instead of taking a gap year and matriculating at Harvard in the fall of 2020 as he planned to do, Mr. Kashuv said he now expects he will have to reapply to colleges, since it is too late to accept admission offers from other schools that had offered him scholarships.

Two other prominent Parkland student activists, Jaclyn Corin and David Hogg, both of them vocal proponents of tighter gun restrictions, are headed to Harvard this fall. Mr. Hogg, who is completing a gap year, garnered attention when he announced his acceptance last year after being rejected from other schools, including from California State University at Long Beach. On Monday, Mr. Kashuv’s defenders noted that Mr. Hogg had a 4.2 grade point average and scored 1270 on the SAT test, while Mr. Kashuv said in the interview that he had a 5.4 G.P.A., and a 1550 SAT score.