Free speech or hate speech? 10 students kicked out of Harvard for postings

School rescinded acceptance letters after offensive postings were made on social media

Courtesy MGNonline

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Harvard has revoked acceptance letters from 10 incoming freshmen after discovering they used offensive speech online.

After finding the offensive posts on Facebook, Harvard said they will not tolerate racist remarks from their students. The university rescinded their acceptance offers in April, after discovering the students traded messages in a private Facebook group for incoming freshmen. The posts were often sexually explicit, and mocked Mexicans, the Holocaust, and child abuse.

Harvard students’ ouster over offensive posts stirs debate

While some argue that it is a matter of free speech, Northampton Attorney James Winston said that it could be categorized as hate speech if they used threatening terminology.

“The more specific the speech is of an intended target, the more it’s going to be looked at as a serious threat and not be protected under free speech,” Winston said.

Admissions experts say that the general rule of thumb for prospective college students is to not post anything- publicly or privately – that they wouldn’t want their grandmother to see.

Harvard said that they will rescind any acceptance letters if a student shows questionable moral behavior.