June 20, 2019

Harvard Revokes Kyle Kashuv’s Admission

“Kyle Kashuv, 18, posted on Twitter that Harvard had revoked his admissionover anti-Semitic language and repeated use of a slur referring to black people. He said in an apology that he made the comments when he was 16, before the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.” AP News

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From the Left

The left supports Harvard’s decision, arguing that Kashuv’s comments were egregious and worthy of consequences.

“Should the use of such racial slurs ruin Kashuv’s life or brand him forever? No. Should it keep him out of Harvard? Yes… Universities like Harvard have thousands of qualified kids applying for entry every year. I’m guessing they’d have no problem finding one as qualified as Kashuv who did not spew a bunch of racist screeds when he was 16. And, by the way, isn’t 16 old enough to know that racist screeds are, you know, racist? Kashuv is ‘news’ only because he’s a darling of some conservatives… if it were anyone else, we wouldn’t be giving it a second thought.”
EJ Montini, USA Today

“Conservatives love to lambaste campus liberals for practicing ‘identity politics,’ a poorly defined term that boils down to any kind of politics that takes concerns about identity-based oppression seriously. The Kyle Kashuv-Harvard saga is such a big deal because it taps into conservatives’ sense of their own victimhood — what conservative identity politics looks like in practice…

“[Furthermore] the conservative view of racism treats it as a personal failing, a set of explicitly held ideas and attitudes that reflect outright animus toward a group of people… Liberals and leftists, meanwhile, see racism as a structural problem, reflected in both social institutions and deeply ingrained, arguably unshakable biases that can lead even people who firmly believe in ideals of equal treatment to act or speak in prejudiced ways. Addressing the consequences of racism requires work, effort, and vigilance. When you approach the situation through that lens, Kashuv looks less like a kid who made youthful mistakes and more like a young man who’s trying to escape responsibility for his actions, and his attempt to minimize his comment by saying they were designed for shock value is part of the problem. ‘Ironic’ racism is still real racism.”
Zack Beauchamp, Vox

“To argue that we should not be judged for what we do in our teens is to argue that we shouldn’t have selective college admissions at all—a defensible position, but not one that any of [the commentators defending him] hold… To have a chance of getting into Harvard as a freshman, you have to show that you used your last four years better than the competition used theirs. We now see that Kashuv did not use his time as well as the competition, so he can’t go to Harvard… Consequences and redemption are not in tension. In fact, they go hand in hand.”
Hanna Stotland, Slate

“Virtually everyone competing against Kashuv for an undergraduate seat was also a teen, and most never would have thought to casually repeat the most harmful racial slur in America’s history. No, Harvard shouldn’t have to take him. So, no Harvard. But then, where?… I actually saw a fair number of suggestions like this: Not Harvard. Somewhere else. Somewhere less good. The solution seemed reasonable, but it had a tinge of classism, an element of passing the buck. If you don’t believe that Harvard students should have to attend classes with someone who has used racist terminology within the past two years, then why would you subject University of Florida students to that?… What does it look like to make amends? How do we decide what’s redeemable, for example, and then how does a person actually become redeemed? What kind of roles does our society allow for them, and when?”
Monica Hesse, Washington Post

Many point out that “America is forgiving of youthful mistakes made by guys like Brett Kavanaugh. It’s forgiving of guys like Brock Turner. It’s forgiving of guys like Kyle Kashuv. It’s not, however, forgiving of guys like Tamir Rice…  It’s not forgiving of guys like Kalief Browder, who was sent to Rikers, New York City’s notorious island jail, when he was 16 after being accused of stealing a backpack. Browder spent three years awaiting trial in Rikers island, half of the time in solitary confinement, because his family couldn’t raise bail money. When he was eventually brought to trial a judge dismissed all charges against him; two years later Browder killed himself. Not everyone gets to be a child in America… The right is obsessed with lecturing liberals on personal responsibility. However, as their response to the Kashuv situation demonstrates, they are not so keen on taking personal responsibility themselves.”
Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian

One way you begin to earn public redemption for your mistakes is to accept the ramifications; many of the conservatives lamenting the lack of forgiveness shown Kashuv would, in other circumstances, understand that serving penance is often a requirement for obtaining pardon. If losing admission to America's most elite private university is the worst that Kashuv faces as a result of his mistakes, he will be a fortunate young man indeed.”
Joel Mathis, The Week

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right criticizes Harvard’s decision, arguing that the comments do not appear to reflect Kashuv’s true beliefs.

From the Right

The right criticizes Harvard’s decision, arguing that the comments do not appear to reflect Kashuv’s true beliefs.

Kashuv has been in the public eye for a year and a half. In that time, he has acted with remarkable poise, as have many others in his class. The fact that he participated in an idiotic and disgusting private group chat months before the Parkland shooting has had apparently no effect on his public behavior. If the new standard is that past private statements, once surfaced, override all public behavior since — including apologies, evidence of decency and willingness to evidence repentance — we are entering a dangerous new era…

“Kashuv would have been admitted to Harvard if he had never engaged in activism: He scored a 1550 on his SAT and graduated second in his class. No one on the radical left or alt-right would have tried to destroy his academic career; no one would have bothered. Kashuv dared to speak up politically and thus became a target. Rational actors will take note and stay away from the public square, leaving that square to the most shameless and the most enigmatic.”
Ben Shapiro, Daily Wire

“No one disputes that his comments were egregious and wrong. Kyle doesn’t dispute that fact. He’s apologized publicly, and he apologized to Harvard. He’s done everything we want a young man to do when he’s done something wrong. But in today’s post-Christian, allegedly more-tolerant culture, apologies are not enough. He has to be punished…

“Harvard has had the ability to watch Kyle more than virtually any other student in its freshman class. It’s seen him operate in the white-hot glare of public debate over one of the most contentious issues in American life. To the extent that any freshman is a known quantity, Kyle is known — and he’s known to presently conduct himself with unusual patience and dignity… Let’s not pretend that Kyle is anything other than a victim of the culture wars. Had he not stepped forward after Parkland as a conservative spokesperson, he would be in no one’s crosshairs.”
David French, National Review

“On the leaked Google Doc, Kashuv also wrote, "f*** my a** now NOW" and "I WILL LITERALLY F*** YOUR UGLY A** DOG." Either Kyle leads a secret double life as a zoophilic, gay racist, or he, like all teenagers, said something outrageous among his friends for shock value… How many other students admitted to Harvard have ever written or uttered an offensive phrase or racial epithet — even jokingly, even just once? How many have ever sung along to a rap song or quoted a Quentin Tarantino movie? Does the Harvard Admissions Office plan to investigate the private teenage chat logs of the 2,000 students it just admitted?”
Michael Knowles, Fox News

“There are few mistakes a 16-year-old can make — again, below the level of a felony — that I’d want to alter their lives over. Teenagers are ignoramuses almost by definition. One might counter by saying that youth should be no defense in the context of college admissions: Harvard’s choosing among a population of 18-year-olds… Still, that’s no counter to believing that universities should be exceedingly forgiving of their charges, perhaps especially in Kashuv’s case. He did in fact endure an unusual trauma at Stoneman Douglas High and may have felt that he ‘grew up’ quickly afterward because of it. Often in cases like this, the claim that the accused is more ‘mature’ now and has seen the error of his ways rings hollow and too convenient. In Kashuv’s case, there’s more reason to believe there’s something to it.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“When Harvard pulled their offer to Michelle Jones (who murdered her own son), 166 of the University's professors signed an open letter, ‘We are Educators, Not Prosecutors,’ denouncing the decision. How many do you think will speak out on Kashuv's behalf?
Rafael Mangual, Twitter

“Not even the most pompous administrator could claim with a straight face that no matriculating student at Harvard ever uttered a hurtful word. What doomed Kashuv was that his knuckleheaded moments were preserved in tidy digital packets to be turned against him. He is part of the vanguard of humans raised in the iPhone Age, for whom every mistake, offense and poor decision of childhood potentially lasts forever…

“The decision to bounce an apologetic student over a sophomoric mistake betrays a lack of intellectual confidence in [its] original mission. It’s not the job of Harvard College, properly understood, to certify a relative handful of perfect human specimens and train them in the proper expression of approved ideas. Education is about improvement; it is rooted in the faith that errors can become resources, ignorance can be enlightened, horizons can be expanded. Improvement is the value from which learning derives its moral character.”
David von Drehle, Washington Post

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

This “represents a major victory for the online mobs of cancel culture. One way to discourage Twitter trolls from dredging up old dirt on their enemies would be to ignore them. By giving the bullies exactly what they wanted, Harvard has only emboldened them… No one is entitled to placement at Harvard, and if you say racist things to people, you should not be surprised when someone calls you out. But, as with the efforts to cancel James Gunn, Kevin Hart, Sarah Jeong, Kyler Murray, and so many others, we should be concerned about where this corrosive impulse to seek and destroy is leading us.”
Robby Soave, Reason

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