Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Harvard Rescinds Acceptance Of Parkland Survivor Over N-Word Messages

A survivor of last year’s deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school who recently graduated said on Monday that Harvard College had rescinded his acceptance over racist comments he had made as a 16-year-old.

Kyle Kashuv, who is Jewish, has become an advocate for gun rights in the year since the attack on Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, angering many classmates who felt that gun control was the best solution to stop future shootings. He shared on Twitter on Monday a letter he received last month from Harvard’s dean of admissions and financial aid, William R. Fitzsimmons, asking him to explain recent reports that he had repeatedly written the n-word and other racial slurs in text messages and shared homework Google Docs before the shooting, when he was 16.

Kashuv had issued a public apology after the texts and documents were made public. “We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “I’m embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I have become in the years since.”

Kashuv says he shared additional explanations and apologies to Harvard, but found out that on June 3 that his acceptance had been revoked over the school’s concerns with his “qualities of maturity and moral character.”

Ben Shapiro, the conservative Jewish pundit who had mentored Kashuv, tweeted that Harvard’s actions had set a “insane, cruel standard no one can possibly meet.”

There is precedent for Harvard revoking admission of accepted students, The Atlantic noted: In 2017, the elite university rescinded offers to 10 students who were found to be members of an anti-Semitic Facebook group.

Kashuv said he was still trying to figure out his future academic options. “I had given up huge scholarships in order to go to Harvard, and the deadline for accepting other college offers has ended,” he wrote. “I’m exploring all options at the moment.”

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.