Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the 2018 Parkland shooting who has become a gun rights advocate, says Harvard University has rescinded his admission because of his previous use of a racial epithet in leaked private conversations.
Kashuv took to Twitter Monday morning to respond to Harvard’s decision and once again repeat his apology for those comments.
“A few weeks ago, I was made aware of egregious and callous comments classmates and I made privately years ago — when I was 16 years old, months before the shooting — in an attempt to be as extreme and shocking as possible. I immediately apologized,” Kashuv wrote as part of his Twitter thread.
Kashuv’s comments were made public in March. They stem in part from a Google doc where Kashuv repeatedly said the word, among other inflammatory statements. The screenshots show Kashuv writing, “like im really good at typing (word redacted) ok like practice uhhhhhh makes perfect son??!!”
Kashuv says he was 16 at the time and did not remember making the remarks until they were publicly leaked.
“We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible,” Kashuv wrote back in March. “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.”
After those remarks were published, several people called on Harvard to reconsider their decision to accept Kashuv, with a Change.org petition labeling him a “bigot.”
The former Stoneman Douglas High School student says he was given a chance to explain those comments further in a letter to Harvard, but that the school ultimately revoked his admission.
“I apologize unequivocally for my comments, which were made two years ago in private among equally immature high school students,” Kashuv wrote to the university.
“I gave no consideration to the meaning and weight of the words I wrote in an effort to impress then-friends and classmates, and looking back I know clearly know I wrote terrible things I can never unwrite.”
Kashuv says he asked Harvard for an in-person meeting to further discuss the decision, but that request was declined.
“Harvard deciding that someone can’t grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning,” Kashuv continued on Twitter Monday.
“If any institution should understand growth, it’s Harvard, which is looked to as the pinnacle of higher education despite its checkered past.
“Throughout its history, Harvard’s faculty has included slave owners, segregationists, bigots and antisemites. If Harvard is suggesting that growth isn’t possible and that our past defines our future, then Harvard is an inherently racist institution.
“But I don’t believe that. I believe that institutions and people can grow. I’ve said that repeatedly. In the end, this isn’t about me, it’s about whether we live in a society in which forgiveness is possible or mistakes brand you as irredeemable, as Harvard has decided for me.”
Kashuv had previously earned praise among conservative circles for speaking out against gun control, in contrast to several other of the most outspoken survivors of the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School.
1/ THREAD: Harvard rescinded my acceptance.
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.
I have some thoughts. Here’s what happened.
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) June 17, 2019