Monday, June 05, 2017

Some Harvard students learn that problematic social media posts can lead to reversal of college admission

A post at the Harvard Crimson by Hannah Natanson, titled Harvard Rescinds Acceptances for At Least Ten Students for Obscene Memes discusses a problematic issue at Harvard University.

A subgroup of Harvard's official class of 2021 facebook group launched some questionable topics, with the sub-group chat people asking that students in the larger group post provocative memes to the larger group in order to get into the smaller subgroup. Harvard officials got wind of this, and 10 once admitted Harvard students became un-admitted. The larger group, comprising around 100 members, was set up in December 2016, with this group constituting about 5% of the students admitted to the class of 2021.

The post Harvard withdraws 10 acceptances after ‘offensive’ memes in online chat contained the text:

This spring, 2,056 students were invited to join Harvard’s incoming freshman class, drawing from a record number of applications — 39,506, according to a university news release. Nearly 84 percent of the admitted students eventually chose to enroll at Harvard, the highest yield rate in several decades.

The university’s decision to rescind the students’ acceptance to Harvard underscores the dangers of social media posts — public or private — among prospective college students. According to Kaplan Test Prep, which surveyed more than 350 college admissions officers, 35 percent of admissions officers said they check social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more about applicants. About 42 percent of those officials said what they found had a negative impact on prospective students.

“For better or worse, social media has become an established factor in college admissions, and it’s more important than ever for applicants to make wise decisions,” Yariv Alpher, executive director of research at Kaplan Test Prep said.

The repercussions spurred both praise and criticism from Harvard students, alumni and others at a time when university campuses across the country are in the midst of clashes over free speech. Some felt the decision was justified, while others expressed a belief that admissions officers crossed a line by judging students for their private conversations.

Of some relevance to the Trump "head" matter, the article in the Crimson had text:

She [Luca] added, though, that if memes sent over the chat posed any kind of threat to members’ lives or well-being, then she believed administrators’ actions were justified.

Other members of the Class of 2021 said they strongly supported the Admissions Office’s decision. Zhang wrote that she thought the students’ actions were indefensible, and that the administration was correct in choosing to penalize those who posted obscene images.

“I appreciate humor, but there are so many topics that just should not be joked about,” Zhang wrote. “I respect the decision of the admissions officers to rescind the offers because those actions really spoke about the students’ true characters.”

“I do not know how those offensive images could be defended,” she added.

A post at the Washington Post mentions other groups, including one with an interesting "pharma-famous" member:

By early March, there were more members of the Harvard meme group than Harvard undergraduate students. The group now has nearly 30,000 members — including “pharmabro” Martin Shkreli, the former Turing Pharmaceuticals executive who became known as “Pharma Bro” after he dramatically boosted the price of a drug.


See also the 2015 IPBiz post
Some facts on Daraprim (Pyrimethamine)

***Of a different matter at Harvard, involving Computer Science 50, see the post
A flood of high-tech plagiarism , including the text:

And at Harvard, where Computer Science 50 is practically its own brand, with T-shirts, slickly produced videos and an online audience of thousands, the class distinguished itself last fall in a more dubious way: According to The Harvard Crimson, more than 60 students were referred to the university’s honor council, a committee that reviews allegations of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, and violations of the honor code.


Post a Comment

<< Home