“The Admissions Committee was disappointed to learn that several students in a private group chat for the Class of 2021 were sending messages that contained offensive messages and graphics,” the message read, according to the student who spoke to the student newspaper on condition of anonymity.“As we understand you were among the members contributing such material to this chat, we are asking that you submit a statement by tomorrow at noon to explain your contributions and actions for discussion with the Admissions Committee.Admitted students found and contacted each other using the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group.“A lot of students were excited about forming group chats with people who shared similar interests,” Jessica Zhang ’21, an incoming freshman who joined both chats, wrote in an email.“Someone posted about starting a chat for people who liked memes.”Messages shared in the original group were mostly “lighthearted,” wrote Zhang, who said she did not post in the splitoff meme group and that her admission offer was not rescinded.A handful of admitted students formed the messaging group—titled, at one point, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”—on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.
Students were told their admissions status was under review and not to attend Harvard’s annual weekend for prospective freshmen held at the end of April.
“It is unfortunate that I have to reach out about this situation.” Students were also told not to attend Harvard’s annual weekend for potential students, as their accepted statuses were in jeopardy.
Ultimately, at least ten students lost their offers of admission.
The Facebook messaging group was at one point titled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.” It began when about 100 members of Harvard College’s incoming freshman class contacted each other through the university’s official Class of 2021 Facebook group.
They created a messaging group where students could share memes about popular culture — a growing trend on the Internet among students at elite colleges.