Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, announced on Monday that Harvard had rescinded admission due to racist comments he had made online nearly two years ago. This news was announced via Twitter, on which Kashuv called out Harvard for its own ‘checkered past,’ referring to faculty that had been slavers, bigots or segregationists in the past.
Kashuv became a fervent activist of gun rights after he survived the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The horrific incident on February 14th left seventeen people dead. Following the shooting, Kashuv rose to some semblance of fame as he met with both President Trump and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, along with appearances on Fox News. His social media presence accrued upwards of 300,000 followers.
Back in May, he issued an apology when screenshots of some racist comments he had made nearly two years ago at the age of 16 surfaced. However, none of his attempts at reparation saved his seat at Harvard, despite the comments taking place before the shooting or two years prior to being the person he is right now.
“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.”
Despite this apology, Kushuv stated that “speculative articles were written, my peers used the opportunity to attack me, and my life was once again reduced to a headline. It sent me into one of the darkest spirals of my life.”
He received a letter on May 24th from Harvard, which requested a written explanation of the racist comments he had made nearly two years prior. According to Kashuv, “I responded to the letter with a full explanation, apology, and requested documents. I also sent an email to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to seek guidance on how to right this wrong and work with them once I was on campus.”
However, despite all this, Kashuv received a letter on June 3rd stating that his acceptance in to Harvard had been rescinded. The letter thanked him for his earnest regrets, but still ended up being bad news.
Ultimately, Kashuv commented on how concerning it is that Harvard made a judgment based on who he had been nearly two years ago, as opposed to who he was now, especially considering the life-altering even that was the mass shooting he survived. He is right by all accounts; while racism certainly shouldn’t be overlooked, is Harvard implying that people can’t grow into greater states of maturity over time? That their past determines their future, or the type of person they are in the present?
Either way, Kushuv is now looking for new options, as he gave up on many other opportunities in order to go to Harvard. What he will do now is a mystery, even to himself.