Harvard University announced Monday that it had rescinded its offer of admission to conservative-leaning Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student Kyle Kashuv after racist messages he had sent to classmates months before a school shooting surfaced online last month.

Kashuv, 18, is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, unlike many of his classmates who survived a shooting in Parkland, Florida in February 2018 where 17 people were killed. Several of those surviving students have become powerful figures in the national movement supporting greater gun control.

In his admissions essay to Harvard College, Kashuv reportedly said that despite his pro-gun views, he still hoped to become a major influence in the push for greater school security. He even met with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump last year as part of his activist endeavors.

“While I support a conservative viewpoint on the Second Amendment, I know that finding common ground is the path to protecting our students,” he wrote in the essay, in which he revealed he hid in a classroom closet during the massacre at his high school. “I still believe that from the pits of despair, goodness can and will prevail.”


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After learning of Harvard’s decision to rescind his offer because of his offensive messages to his classmates, Kashuv used Twitter to note the college’s longstanding history of hiring “slave owners, bigots and anti-Semites” for its faculty and staff. Kashuv has apologized for his racist comments — which included repeated use of the N-word — and said he is determined to “grow” and become more understanding of others. A former schoolmate shared screenshots of Kashuv’s hurtful remarks.

Harvard has previously overturned other students’ acceptance offers for inappropriate behavior. In 2017, 10 applicants had their admission offers revoked for sharing sexually explicit and otherwise offensive memes in a private Facebook group, according to The New York Times, which cited the university’s publication The Harvard Crimson.  

Conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch denounced Harvard’s decision, saying past offensive actions are not reason enough to punish anyone.

Two other Parkland student activists, David Hogg and Jaclyn Corin, have reportedly been accepted to Harvard.

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