Harvard revokes acceptances for at least 10 students for vile Facebook memes

Don’t have sex with birds.
Don’t have sex with bees.
Got it?


Unfortunately for them this isn’t a psychiatrists office, where everything would indeed be completely confidential (and from some of the memes I’ve seen referenced, maybe they should be going to a shrink.)

Telling your friends “what we say in the clubhouse is secret” isn’t exactly legally binding.


And since this clubhouse consists entirely of people they’re going to be going to school with, their behavior in this group is exactly the kind of thing I’d be worried about if I were a university admin thinking about how these students are going to affect the people around them for the next four years.


… and beyond


Well the world needs ditch diggers.


You are a “glass half full” kind of person.

I, on the other hand, predict they will band their resources together and buy out a drug company that makes undervalued medicine.


Why not? Especially if you are a public figure in your position, you could expect this to be a problem. And if you are a new hire, like these kids are, you basically have zero rights anyway.

Outside of how the evidence was collected, I don’t see why the illusion of mms privacy would change anything.


If Harvard rescinded their acceptance, that probably means they’ll have to go to Stanford now :scream:


Hopefully the students in question will mature beyond this kind of behavior and become productive members of society some day. In the meantime, there is a very large number of other highly qualified applicants who have sufficiently developed frontal lobes to uphold Harvard’s code of conduct.


Plus, sheltered kids never really get the chance to learn those things until reality cock-slaps them in the face.


Shit, might as well just start that alcohol addiction and crash your Porsche and end it all, instead of living with that embarrassment.


I can see a couple sides to this issue. I was on a web forum with my friends from high school once where the predominant sense of humor was more akin to Anthony Jeselnik or George Carlin, or anyone else who used really awlful and tasteless things in their jokes (the awfulness being the central feature of the joke). So I can imagine a community where tasteless humor is misunderstood by outsiders.

On the flip side, a couple of users on that forum showed their true colors. When someone makes jokes about women being bad drivers for more than 10 years straight, you start to get their number. Still, even those people never stepped over the unwritten line (which I guess is slurs of any sort, and any kind of explicit images).

So, all that said, I can see one side where a community like this in context might not be as bad as it appears. But at the same time, that the disciplined students may well have reaped what they sowed.

The one thing I can say with certainty is that Facebook is the wrong place for such a community. Even if what you are posting is demonstrably private today, and you carefully curate your membership, there’s no assurance that will be the case in the future. This is something the forum I was on really thought about, and handled by being registration-required invite-only, not google indexed, and used a self-signed SSL certificate so it wasn’t easily sniffed by schools or employers. And of course, people’s usernames did not clearly identify their offline identity.

Facebook can’t wait to sell you out!


You have brought up the key issue here. There is more and more talk about “free speech”, and unfortunately some of it is from those who have never read the First Amendment.

As you imply, the First Amendment only protects us against being silenced by Congress. Everyone else is free to tell us to STFU.

I’ve taken to carrying Amendment I on my phone for the edification of those who think it means “I can say anything I want, anywhere and anytime I want, and you have to stand there and listen.”

Here it is in all its surprisingly-short glory:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


And if the kids’ parents aren’t compassionate, respectful human beings, the kids will have a lot harder time learning it.


Ok, this line of study/thinking is very disturbing. Isn’t it true that historically people were considered to be adults at much younger ages? I do not know who is funding these studies, but IMO this is a very slippery slope. I’d hate to see more paternalistic action on judicial and legal fronts, using these studies as a justification. I’m still stunned at the maneuvering that was done to restrict the sale of alcohol.

The Internet is not new, and these 10 students screwed up. If they are so underdeveloped or badly raised that they cannot function after learning this lesson, then they deserve a place in their parents’ basements - as a punishment to both. That might give the parents a second chance to teach them something. Those parents who decline to allow adult children to live with them are within their rights, though. I doubt that anyone wants to see the legal age for adults raised to 25 (except helicopter parents).


Slippery slopes are frowned on here. If it’s OK for personal correspondence to be used to to fire you, what about surveillance footage of you going to a meeting of a group the boss disapproves of? Or (current events) some politician telling your boss about your political activities? As privacy erodes there needs to be some bar at which your private life is not fodder for character assassination.


Yes and no. Much like today!

It depends on the culture, and even on the context of activity within that culture.

So, here in the USA, at 18 you are old enough to decide that you are willing to risk your life patriotically slaughtering people you’ve never met for a low monthly wage, but you aren’t old enough to decide that you want to drink a half-pint of beer in your own home.

But generally we have kept our children out of the working and decision making classes longer and longer as population and average lifespan have increased. Cue The Who, “Young Man Blues”.



Your employer can fire you at any time for any reason other than the legally-protected ones (due to racism, ageism, ableism, etc.). They don’t even have to give a reason.

If your boss hears or sees something via any medium that make them reassess what they think of your integrity, honesty, and maturity, then they can fire you. And should.

Based on what you’ve written in this thread, I would not hire you. You don’t seem like a responsible team player to me.


The issue that is really understated here, is that the group used “HARVARD” in their name. If it was just “A bunch of teens doing dumb teenage stuff on the internet”, they likely would have flown under the radar, as I’m sure a non-zero number of incoming Harvard freshman have used 4chan, r/t_d, or any other number of racist/sexist/etc internet gathering places.

But, when you sully the brand of Harvardiana, they will get angry. As angry as any company would be if you used their well trademarked brand in the name of your sexist/hateful/etc group.


My grandfather was a ditch digger his entire adult life. Honest work is honest work.