Harvard Raises Debates as it Decides to Revoke Admissions Over Social Media

Several applicants lost their spot at Harvard due to their offensive Facebook posts

Several students lost their spot at their dream school after they got in, after Harvard University decided to take a closer look at their Facebook accounts.

The decision has stirred debate far beyond the halls of the Ivy League school. Other schools added that it is an eye-opener for all of those involved in the admissions process.

“We’re going to continue to watch how this unfolds and, with other higher ed institutions, learn from it,” said Janet Bonkowski, spokeswoman for the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay.

Harvad University revoked the admission offers after they discovered that the students in case had traded offensive images and messages on a private Facebook group. The posts were sexually explicit and mocked Mexicans, the Holocaust, sexual assault and child abuse.

On the other hand, the university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, declined to make any comments; however, it tells accepted students that their offers can be withdrawn if their behavior “brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character.”

Even though the decision is one that hasn’t been encountered since now, the situation addressed is well known: young applicants who are crossing the lines in their social media posts.

Former college admissions officer, Mike Reilly, now executive with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, said that Harvard’s move can be seen as incongruent with free speech.

On the opposite side, Nancy Bane, high school counselor in Atlanta and president of the National Association of College Admission Counseling, said that the standard for all institutions with higher education should be zero tolerance for racist comments.

“We’re all humans. We’re all going to make mistakes and make poor choices in our lives, but there are consequences. I’m not sure why we’ve decided people can say whatever they want, do whatever they want, and there are no consequences for it.” Beane said

Some of the admission officer can and actually use Facebook and other social media sites when they are assessing applicants, even though they don’t generally search the internet for damaging information. Instead, they consider online posts when something specific is brought to their attention.