Harvard rescinds Parkland shooting survivor's admission over past racist, anti-Semitic comments

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BOSTON — A survivor of the deadly February 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school says Harvard University revoked his acceptance after learning of racist and anti-Semitic comments he made when he was 16.

According to The Associated Press, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate Kyle Kashuv, 18, shared the news in a series of tweets Monday morning.

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"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," wrote Kashuv, who emerged as a gun-rights activist and supporter of arming teachers following the massacre.

HuffPost, citing text messages and documents shared with other Stoneman Douglas students, reported last month that Kashuv used the N-word several times and wrote, "Kill all the [expletive] JEWS" in exchanges "that date to late 2017 or early 2018."

Kashuv tweeted an apology May 22, saying he made the remarks "long before the shooting."

"We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible," he wrote. "I'm embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I've become in the years since."

Kashuv said Harvard's admissions committee sent him a letter May 24 asking for "a written explanation of [his] actions." The letter, which Kashuv shared Monday, added that the school "reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions," such as questionable character or lack of maturity.

Kashuv said he "responded to the letter with a full explanation, apology, and requested documents," then emailed the university's Office of Diversity and Inclusion "to seek guidance on how to right this wrong and work with them" after he was admitted.

On June 3, Harvard withdrew his acceptance, Kashuv said.

"As you know, the Committee takes seriously the qualities of maturity and moral character," read the letter, which Kashuv posted on Twitter. "After careful consideration, the Committee voted to rescind your admission to Harvard College."

Although Kashuv requested to meet with the committee in person, officials declined to meet with him, he said.

"Harvard deciding that someone can't grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning," Kashuv tweeted. "If any institution should understand growth, it's Harvard, which is looked to as the pinnacle of higher education despite its checkered past."

He added that he "had given up huge scholarships" to attend Harvard.

"I'm exploring all options at the moment," he wrote.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.