Advertisement
Identity

Incoming Harvard Students Kicked Out After Sharing Offensive Memes 'For Horny Bourgeois Teens'

The Ivy League university rescinded at least ten acceptance offers from students who had set up a group called Harvard Memes For Horny Bourgeois Teens.

by Sirin Kale
Jun 5 2017, 12:59pm

Illustration by Zing Tsjeng, photo of Harvard via Wikimedia Commons

Ivy League colleges may have an inexhaustible tolerance for campus rape and violent fraternity hazings, but Harvard University is drawing a line at offensive meme groups.

Campus newspaper the Harvard Crimson reports that the university rescinded admission offers to at least ten prospective students after discovering that they had shared sexually explicit and racially offensive memes in a private messaging group.

The group, once known as Harvard Memes For Horny Bourgeois Teens, was initially set up in December 2016 by incoming students for the class of 2021. It was formed out of a larger, roughly 100-member messaging group that was set up to share pop culture memes (members of this group have not faced action from the college authorities.)

Read more: 'Mattress Girl' Emma Sulkowicz Is Back—And Channeling Her Rage Through BDSM

Within the splinter group, incoming students allegedly sent each other memes variously mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, child abuse, or containing racial slurs. According to the Crimson, one meme described hanging Mexican children as "piñata time."

"Students were excited about forming group chats with people who shared similar interests," Jessica Zhang, a member of a Facebook group for the Harvard 2021 intake, told the paper. "Someone posted about starting a chat for people who liked memes."


Watch: Amy Ziering On Campus Rape and Why No One Believes Women


As a result, the broader meme group was set up. But for the aficionados of shareable Internet content, things soon turned dark, according to incoming student Cassandra Luca, who didn't join the splinter group. She alleges that the founders of the splinter group, positioned as "a more R-rated" meme chat, demanded students posted offensive memes in the broader group before joining the splinter group.

"They were like, 'Oh, you have to send a meme to the original group to prove that you could get into the new one,'" Luca told the Crimson. "This was a just-because-we-got-into-Harvard-doesn't-mean-we-can't-have-fun kind of thing." (Neither Luca or Zhang posted in the second meme group.)

For More Stories Like This, Sign-Up for Our Newsletter

Harvard takes a tough stance when it comes to rescinding hard-won admissions offers. In comments to the Crimson in September 2015, a university official explained that the university's decision to rescind a student is final, even if no crime has been committed.

When college officials became aware of the existence of splinter group, they contacted individuals asking them to submit a statement explaining their motives and actions. Once emailed over, the statement was discussed with the Admissions Committee. Around a week later, at least ten members of the group were told their admissions offers had been withdrawn.

"We tell our students that it's really important to be aware of your online presence," warns Dr. Jason Smith of Ivy League admissions specialists UES London. Smith tells me that he's not surprised something like this has ended up happening, as US colleges have been taking a more active role in analyzing prospective students' social media use for a while.

"Colleges are aiming to form a picture of prospective students, and that's both an academic picture and something more personal," he explains. "They're interested in how the student thinks about the world, what motivates them, and how they see their role in the world—and on campus. If it turns out a student doesn't think the way they want them to think, that can be very damaging for the university, and it may cause them to rescind their offer."

Broadly reached out to Harvard for comment, but at the time of writing they had not responded to our request. In the meantime, if you're a future Ivy Leaguer with pretensions to being the spiciest memelord of all time: It's probably best to keep the memes PG-13.