Get All Access for $5/mo

Harvard Rescinds Acceptances of 10 Students for Sharing Obscene Memes on Facebook Here's another reminder to be careful what you do online.

By Rose Leadem

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Pgiam | Getty Images

In today's connected world, it's important to be cautious of what you're doing on social media. Some students learned that the hard way. In April, the acceptance of 10 incoming Harvard students was rescinded because of their involvement in obscene online behavior.

Prospective Harvard Class of 2021 students were caught exchanging obscene content in a small Facebook group, which was revealed in the school's student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson. The group, which at one point was labeled "Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens," was sharing content that made fun of touchy subjects such as sexual harassment, the Holocaust and more.

Related: How to Change Your Poor Personal Reputation at Work

The paper reported on Sunday: "In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child 'piñata time.'"

While the current Harvard acceptance rate is 5.2 percent -- you'd think these students might have acted smarter about their online image. However, incoming student Cassandra Luca (who was not a part of the niche "dark" group) told The Crimson, "This was a just-because-we-got-into-Harvard-doesn't-mean-we-can't-have-fun kind of thing."

The small group originally sparked from the general Harvard Class of 2021 Facebook page, where new students could become acquainted before the fall. To become a member of the small R-rated chat group, students would have to post an inappropriate meme to the original Facebook page to prove worthiness.

Harvard admissions officers asked students via email to disclose content they shared with the group, according to a member of the group who spoke with The Crimson and whose admission offer was revoked.

Related: 6 Tools for Monitoring Your Online Reputation

This case is another reminder that everything we do online can have consequences.

"Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity or moral character," the school wrote in the description of the official Class of 2021 Facebook page.

Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.