(JTA) — Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said the university was wrong to rescind the admissions of several students who posted offensive messages on a private Facebook group.
The messages reportedly mocked the Holocaust, sexual assault and domestic terrorism, among other topics.
“Punishing students academically for their political views or their personal values is a serious mistake,” Dershowitz, who had not seen the messages before he was interviewed, told the Boston Globe. “These actions are not consistent with the spirit of the First Amendment.”
“Judging other people’s humor, even in the worst taste, just strikes me as somewhat dangerous,” he said, suggesting that it might have been better to require the admitted students to discuss the matter with an adviser.
The rescinded admissions were first reported by the university’s student newspaper, The Crimson
Two unnamed incoming freshmen whose admissions were not rescinded told The Crimson that the Facebook group, first titled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens,” was formed in late December as a breakaway from a general messaging group for the newly admitted class.
Harvard administrators revoked admissions offers to at least ten participants in mid-April after discovering the existence of the group. The university did not respond to requests from The Crimson or the Globe to comment on the issue.