Ten students had their acceptances withdrawn from Harvard University during the spring after sending offensive memes in a group labeled “Harvard Memes for Horny Bourgeois Teens” made in December 2016.
The group was an inclusive chat that started with 100 individuals, but then was sized down to 10 people due to others excluding minority groups. It was reported that those excluded Harvard students emailed the university screenshots from the group chat.
Each remaining student then received emails from Harvard around April. They were banned from going to an event for incoming freshman in April, and were notified of the rescinded acceptance a week after.
The admissions office sent out an email saying, “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 memes list jokes about the Holocaust, racism against Mexicans and Middle Eastern children, death, pedophilia, sexual abuse, and illegal immigrants. A screenshot showed a post from the chat with a meme that explained how if a Mexican child were hanged, it would be called piñata time.
“Many people make mindless jokes about race/culture/issues, but they don’t realize how much harm they’re doing to others,” says freshman Carly Choborda
This incident is an example of the potency of social media. Many do not know the harm that is done through social media and its different platforms. It shows a person’s personality, which might be all others know from what they see, which is why it is very important to watch what happens on social media.
There are multiple incidents in which social media was used in a negative way, causing people to get in trouble and lose certain opportunities.
Two seventh grade students from Chapel Hill Middle School, for example, called their teacher a pedophile and a rapist on a social media site. The student who posted the material was expelled, and the other participant who commented on it was suspended.
“It definitely does make sense on why the school took those actions towards the kids,” says junior Taylor Viana.
In another incident, a bus driver from a public school angrily tweeted about a student who was not able to buy school lunch due to owing money. The driver was asked to take down the tweet, but had refused to do so, which led the school to then fire the bus driver.
In order to avoid situations like these, Monroe Township School District has certain restrictions regarding social media that staff must follow, including not publicly listing their occupation in their description on a social media page. By listing their titles online, their personal lives become representative of the school, which the district wants to avoid.
The policy is so strict that staff members are unable to post anything about school without the fear of consequences.
Social media plays a major role in the lives of both students and teachers, with the amount of sensitivity it has around society today.
How does social media play a role in your daily life?