This past March, Kyle Kashuv was admitted into Harvard University. The conservative teen, born to Israeli-immigrant parents, is also one of the 2018 Parkland-shooting survivors.
Kashuv spent much of his senior year as an advocate for gun rights and school safety. It’s important to mention that he is a former leader at Turning Point USA, a right-wing organization that uses its platform to spread racist ideas under the guise of conservatism and according to the website, “the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”
What should have been a celebratory moment has been marred by Kyle Kashuv’s past acts. After stepping down from his position at Turning Point USA, a series of racist and inflammatory messages were made public exposing Kashuv as a bigot in late May of this year.
One screenshot allegedly showed Kashuv writing the n-word over 10 times in a study guide shared on Google Docs. The message read:
“like im really good at typing n—er ok like practice uhhhhhh makes perfect son??!!”
Another part of the document, Kashuv allegedly wrote the same slur repeatedly, in capital letters. He also reportedly referred to Black student-athletes as “n—er jocks.”
He blamed the hurtful words on his youth.
Public outrage followed, and Harvard University was made aware of the appalling messages. The university allowed Kyle Kashuv to explain himself, and on May 22nd, he posted a non-apology regarding the matter. During that time, he also reached out to Harvard University administrators in the Diversity department to “apologize” for his actions.
Harvard University rescinded its offer of admission in lieu of the shocking messages on June 3rd.
“After careful consideration, Harvard reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions. Including ‘if you engage or have engaged in behavior that brings into question your honesty, maturity, or moral character,’ per the school’s admissions policy. The Committee voted to rescind your admission.”
Kyle Kashuv took to Twitter to express his disappointment.
1/ THREAD: Harvard rescinded my acceptance.
Three months after being admitted to Harvard Class of 2023, Harvard has decided to rescind my admission over texts and comments made nearly two years ago, months prior to the shooting.
I have some thoughts. Here’s what happened.
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) June 17, 2019
Thirteen bullet points of whitesplaining and pleading his case happened on the social media site. The conservative teen appeared to give some bogus apology along with whining about how he turned down previous offers to accept Harvard University’s prestigious admission offer.
“We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible.”
There were mixed emotions regarding the messages. But Kashuv’s response speaks to a more pressing concern.
This incident isn’t the first time Harvard University has taken a seemingly harsh stance when it comes to tolerating racism or racist behavior. In 2017, the school rescinded admission offers from 10 students who used racist and inflammatory language on Facebook.
While it can’t be determined if Harvard University’s stance is based on leadership (the university has at least three Black women on its board) or if the school is trying to create a reputation of being progressive, it is safe to say the Ivy-league school is intentionally trying to create a safe space for all different viewpoints and backgrounds. In short, an open environment where growth can take place.
Being conservative isn’t the problem. Anyone can lean right on any issue at any given time. The real purpose of opposition is to create an understanding between two different sides.
Kashuv isn’t trying to hear that, though. See cognitive dissonance. It is evident Kashuv felt entitled to the coveted admission spot. Merely typing the obligatory apology with a fake promise to do better should have allowed him to take his rightful place on campus in the upcoming school year. And if that wasn’t enough, the letter to the diversity department should have sealed the deal for him.
It would be dishonest to say that only conservative white men say offensive things. What I will say is that he should have taken his lumps with the very same vigor with which he wrote those words if he had indeed grown as a person. You mess up, own it, get it straight, pay the piper, and do better next time- if there’s a next time.
Kyle Kashuv’s auto-pilot response is sickening but not unusual. It’s not to say that people can’t grow or change, but the key takeaway here is honesty and intent. Nothing about his “growth” says that he learned to embrace other people. There are no records of his work with marginalized groups. There is; however, a photo and tweets of him admiring our racist, conservative commander-in-chief. He displayed those images like badges of honor.
Harvard University’s decision to rescind his admission is facilitating the advancement of forward-thinking young people who will be productive to the whole — no matter the side of the middle of which they fall.