What will — and won’t — get a top college to rescind its offer of admission?

What will — and won’t — get a top college to rescind its offer of admission?

It’s probably not a question that has been asked often if ever. Why, after all, would any high school graduate gifted enough to win admission to an elite university do something that would cause administrators to rethink their decision?

That question was tested, albeit perhaps unintentionally, by two unrelated groups of incoming freshmen — one at at Harvard, the other at the University of Chicago. The students accepted by Harvard created a Facebook page titled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.” According to the Harvard Crimson:

[S]tudents [in the group] sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children…. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”

Tasteless and offensive? To be sure. So much so, in fact, that the admissions committee rescinded the offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021.

The second group, which calls itself “UChicago United,” is comprised entirely of “students of color.” This group issued a list of more than fifty demands, among them “a pre-orientation program specifically for students of color,” the creation of a “Race and Ethnic Studies Department as well as an increased budget for programming carried out through the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture,” and the establishment of “an opt-in Black Housing Option for Black students.”

And did the University of Chicago’s respond by promptly showing the group the door? Hardly. A spokesman for the school told The College Fix that they “are reviewing” the demands and have engaged the student group in “continuing dialogue.”

Let me see if I understand this. One group of college-bound children (and let’s face the fact that at 18, they are still very much children) shares obscene off-color jokes at a social media site open to the public, and their lives are forever altered. A second group has the audacity to deliver an ultimatum to the elite university that has admitted them, and the two factions are now sitting down to review the requirements.

Please understand: I am in no way condoning the content of the Facebook posts of the first group, which suggests that maybe the young people who authored them are not mature enough for college. I am also not faulting Harvard for taking action, though I do think the school missed its chance to brainwash nearly a dozen potential movers and shakers.

But how is it that the second group effectively reads the the riot act to a school they have not yet attended, and the administrators have no problem? Maybe it would be fairer to imagine that the students at Harvard had issued a demand that the school provide them with, among other perks, segregated housing. How do you suppose that would have been received?

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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