right arrow
Informational Message Stay on top of the information you need to navigate the admissions process amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We've got articles, videos and forum discussions that provide answers to all of your test prep, admissions and college search questions.   Visit our COVID-19 resource page.

Introducing Kai!
Your College Confidential guide bot.


Kai can provide tips and support as you research and apply to colleges, and explore majors and careers.





Chat with Kai
here, 24/7!


or Skip Forever

Finding the right college for your unique situation can be challenging. Hear from other students who shared their admissions story. Download our FREE Student Voices - vol. 1, Student Voices - vol. 2, and Student Voices - vol. 3 eBooks NOW!
PARENTS4PARENTS: AfroPuffMom is the mother of two boys, a college junior and a high school junior. She has extensive experience reviewing applications for high-achieving, first-generation students. ASK HER ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our September Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.

If it had happened at UChicago: A thought experiment

marlowe1marlowe1 1004 replies27 threads Senior Member
A long discussion is in progress on the Harvard board regarding Harvard's rescinding of its admission of Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv, an action it took when it came to light that Kashuv as a 16-year-old had sent off some outrageous, scandalous and frankly racist tweets. He later recanted these, but it was not sufficient to save him in Harvard's eyes.

It is not my intention here of starting a separate discussion of the merits of that case. However, one commenter made a point that would interest visitors to the Chicago board: the culture of Harvard, he said, was not consistent with Kashuv coming to that campus, whereas, he speculated, the culture of the University of Chicago might have permitted it. That observation was, I thought, very pertinent to the discussions that perennially break out on this board as to whether Chicago's culture is or has become essentially indistinguishable from Harvard's and the other ivies.

So, whatever you think of the rights and wrongs of the matter (and please go to the other discussion board with those points), do you think the University of Chicago would have taken the action Harvard took?
27 replies
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: If it had happened at UChicago: A thought experiment

  • doschicosdoschicos 26935 replies270 threads Senior Member
    You're getting the details wrong. It wasn't tweets. It was in a private, shared document. However, there are also reports from many that he has made similar comments orally during his high school year and that those shared in the press in writing aren't unique.
    · Reply · Share
  • PepperJoPepperJo 303 replies11 threads Member
    I read the UChicago comment on the other thread (I believe it was some reference to low key UChicago) and I didn't understand it. I would love for someone to spell it out for me...
    · Reply · Share
  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2133 replies217 threads Senior Member
    Back in 2014, on a thread here at CC, the admissions office at UC wrote:

    "We rescind offers of admission in only very extreme circumstances-- failing to graduate from high school, Ds and Fs on the transcript, trouble with the law, academic dishonesty, etc. Suffice to say these happen rarely. We encourage you to maintain the strong grades and performance you've shown on your previous record if you have been admitted, and please don't "test the waters" to see what might or might not be acceptable (we DO check students' final records and ask for an explanation of any out-of-the-ordinary declines we may see)-- but you don't need to freak out over getting an extra B."

    But 5 (long) years have passed since then and it'd be interesting to know if the policy has morphed.
    · Reply · Share
  • PepperJoPepperJo 303 replies11 threads Member
    Our country's social views have changed dramatically over the past 5 years. I can't see this behavior being acceptable at any university.
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3740 replies77 threads Senior Member
    While it may not be acceptable, most universities either don’t have the ability to reach that deeply into someone’s past or those who know of that behavior don’t care to report it. Harvard on the other hand has both the resources and the notoriety to have people inform them about nefarious behaviors.
    · Reply · Share
  • intparentintparent 36292 replies644 threads Senior Member
    Why do these types of “it isn’t us, but what if?” threads keep getting started on the UChicago board? It isn’t...
    · Reply · Share
  • hebegebehebegebe 3000 replies44 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    The reason these threads start here is because UChicago thinks of itself as being different, in terms of the importance it gives to free expression. It considers that a core part of its identity, and viewed in that context, asking “What would UChicago do?” makes a lot of sense.

    This support of free expression was a key reason why my D chose UChicago over its peer, Columbia. Columbia was my D’s first choice going into senior year, as her favorite city is New York. But the Mattress Girl incident and the rush to condemnation by the faculty suggested more of mob mentality than a search for the truth. To put it into a current context, Columbia came across as the Oberlin of elite colleges.

    And from what I have heard, I think UChicago has set the right balance. A recent example is that graduate students were allowed to protest re wages, but they didn’t get to block all entrances to a building, or prevent students from crossing their picket line.

    Now, just how much free expression should there be, and does it apply here to the point that Kyle should not be rescinded? I say no, meaning I think Harvard made the right call. And my view here is based upon asking the question: “If this information was available in a teacher reference, what would the application decision have been?” And the answer is a clear rejection, not a deferral or waitlist.
    edited June 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    I think the University of Chicago would absolutely rescind a student's admission over the kind of recent public behavior Kashuv had in this case.

    First off, remember, as HydeSnark often reminds us, the undergraduate student body is far less enamored of free speech absolutism than the university administration. They would riot if a Kashuv were admitted with that in the public record.

    Second, the administration are not so much free speech absolutists as academic freedom absolutists. There is nothing remotely academic-freedom related about Kashuv's provocations.

    The whole special culture of the University of Chicago, where people really do talk to one another civilly across ideological divides, is dependent first and foremost on mutual respect, a sense of courtesy and modesty, and a commitment to intellectual discourse. Those are exactly the qualities Kyle Kashuv's behavior in high school showed him to lack almost entirely. Nothing in his recent behavior gives any indication that he has since come to understand how important they are, and how critical they are to sustaining a culture of academic freedom and non-censorship of unpopular ideas.

    I believe in redemption and second (and third, and fourth) chances. Kyle Kashuv has a right to go to college somewhere. At some point in the future, after he has done something to indicate his behavior has really changed, I could even be convinced that he should be eligible to be a student at Chicago. Now? No way.
    edited June 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • skieuropeskieurope 41687 replies8014 threads Super Moderator
    most universities either don’t have the ability to reach that deeply into someone’s past or those who know of that behavior don’t care to report it. Harvard on the other hand has both the resources and the notoriety to have people inform them about nefarious behaviors.
    In this instance, Kyle's comments were published in the Huffington Post the day before Harvard sent its initial letter to him requesting clarification. Presumably, some people at UChicago visit the same sites for business or pleasure.
    · Reply · Share
  • marlowe1marlowe1 1004 replies27 threads Senior Member
    I'm not quite ready to read the collected works of this young man, so it's possible I'm missing something there that many others have seen. However, I do take it as a given that the things he has said are bad - very bad - in the way just about everyone has characterized them. They could properly have been taken into account in considering his application, whether to Harvard or the University of Chicago. However, the rescission of an acceptance already given troubles me and makes me wonder whether Chicago could have seen things differently in light of its peculiar values:

    Is it really true that to be brash, discourteous, and offensive in high school was disqualifying in any kid who came to the University of Chicago? I knew plenty of them, I may well have been one of them myself. The profs at the U of C knew that a lot of polishing was required to shape us up. The question was whether the raw material was good enough to warrant the effort. I myself was constantly being admonished to think through the implications of extreme positions, consider the counterarguments and evidence, and tone down the prose. That was the hallmark of a Chicago education.

    Not all of that education went on in the classroom: Many a mighty argument, featuring raised voices and heightened passions, happened around dining tables and in dorm rooms. There were kids who were far from civil and nuanced who nevertheless had a certain spirit and magnetism that made you want to listen to them and perhaps lock horns with them. Our discourse may have aspired to that of a Platonic dialogue, but it usually began as a Rabelaisian joie d'esprit.

    I'm not ready to say that this fellow, who may be uniquely terrible, would in all his parts have been accepted by previous student bodies, much less the present one. His type would not, however, have been unknown, and it was a type - that of the flamboyant provocateur - with a place at the table. Not every U of C kid was like that, but we all knew plenty of them, and even the mildest among us - perhaps the mildest above all - occasionally profited from the stimulation and even abrasiveness of that kid's provocations.

    My suspicion is that an awful lot today's high-strung nervy types - who have just awoken in high school to the world of ideas - have given vent to utterances in private or in the wretched social media universe that they will soon find despicable. This young man's education is, however, being conducted in public, and he is a work in progess. As DeepBlue put it, that has made him too hot to handle by Harvard. The University of Chicago, had it faced Harvard's dilemma, might have come out at the same place and for the same prudential reasons. However, being luke-warm and handleable is not in Chicago's DNA, I dare to think. The result might have been different.

    · Reply · Share
  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1773 replies8 threads Senior Member
    I have been mulling this issue in my mind. I am a believer in redemption and change and that we all say and do stupid things, especially in adolescence, but for me there also needs to be proof/evidence of change before trust. So, I look at the question this way, would Chicago (or Harvard) have admitted this kid if they knew about these statements before hand? I would say the answer would be no, not because of his stance on gun control or other conservative political viewpoints, but because of the blatant racism exhibited unless there were intervening acts (and not just talk) to show true reformation. Here I think Chicago may even be less inclined to distinguish between knowing about the racist rants before vs after admission. If Chicago is holding itself out to be different than Harvard or the other historical elites because of the rigor of its intellectual honesty and consistency, the person they are evaluating is the same person no matter when they found out about the racism. Unacceptable before = unacceptable after. So then the only question is if Chicago would have a different admissions standard than Harvard over these writings. I can't imagine they would and agree with @JHS observations in post #8.
    · Reply · Share
  • BrianBoilerBrianBoiler 797 replies16 threads Member
    This is a tough reply for me to put words to, as I'm an engineer and not a social scientist or a philosopher, but here goes:

    I sort of have a different take to this. I think an argument can be made for bringing people into a discussion who haven't accepted the social norm of what is acceptable behavior. As long as this person is respectful, in this case there is no indication that he openly "publicly" acted out in a way that matched his hateful private language, he would have provided a different bias when talking about issues. Additionally, if this activity were to occur on campus in actual acts of hate to do harm (ie publicly calling someone a racial slur), then I suspect it would not be tolerated.

    From all the things I've heard from Pres. Zimmer on the UChicago way of approaching issues, I believe it is in line with those thoughts. Now, would he be accepted by the student body after this became public is a different issue, but in the spirit of Academic Diversity, I suspect this is right in what UChicago is open to promoting (the idea of different thought systems producing different ways of looking at an issue).

    I do wonder how these private google docs and personal text messages became public? Was it politically motivated? Was it out of jealously? Did someone wake-up and say "it just isn't right that Kyle got into Harvard, I'm going to do the world a favor and let Harvard know about some text messages I've received?" I fear the day when people not only can pull up past texts, but read past thoughts, none of us will be safe. In a way, if a person hated Kyle for his thought system/beliefs/upbringing and acted out on that, is it not a similar action? Taking action out of Hate? Is it ok to Hate the Hater? If it isn't ok to Hate, than should the people who went public with this information also have their motivation reviewed to determine if they also need to have their admissions rescinded as well? (I assume that the Google doc messages and the text messages were between students and also assuming a Harvard admitted student would communicate almost exclusively with other college bound students)

    We are entering a time when we are getting to be a very bi-polar society. Where traditionally accepted belief systems are clashing with other traditionally accepted belief systems as well as newer social norms. In many cases those differences cannot be resolved with a "you're both right" answer (this is not the case with Kyle's racist texts/private messages, few thought systems would call this an accepted behavior today). In our "Outrage" and "Doxing" culture, things like this situation are bound to happen more often and we as a society will need to come up with an answer. People need to learn to respect and tolerate each other's different thought systems, even if one's thought system is the polar opposite to the other and they need to realize it is a two way process.

    If an institution can propose that it believes in pure academic process that includes people having polar opposite views and those who participate in the process of academia play by the rules of tolerating and respecting the others thought system, would that not yield the best outcome?
    · Reply · Share
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 7867 replies28 threads Senior Member
    The comparison is straightforward.

    Harvard does place restrictions on association and, by extension, speech. Now we know that your past speech may be subject to their review. This might open a floodgate (as this kid is very likely NOT the first Harvard-acceptee in recent years to have offensive communication of some type documented and available for public consumption). We also don't know if H is being arbitrary in how they assess this sort of news - for instance, giving a pass to some and zinging others - but it would probably be within their right to do so, as a private institution. They can accept and rescind who they want to. An extreme frequency of doing so would not be wise, but the occasional booting of an offensive white boy simply won't raise much ire. Everyone agrees this was an easy decision on Harvard's part.

    UChicago, on the other hand, does NOT seem to place restrictions on association or, by extension, speech, and doesn't seem to rescind based on FB postings, Google Docs, or other "permanent" communication. Are all UChicago acceptees unoffensive little angels? Unlikely. Others on this thread have made the point that the two schools really aren't all THAT different. So, why should the incoming class of either be all that different from one another? Both are going to have their share of high achievers, leaders, and a few with an online comment-cum-skeleton in the closet just waiting for vindictive exposure (or exposure for other reasons perhaps).

    While we can't know for sure what would happen in this case, we can make some calculated guesses based on actions (or lack of actions) of both schools in recent years (ie the years of social media and Google Docs). Zimmer might make a comment about it, but it's unlikely this kid would get the boot. Whether he'd voluntarily withdraw out of shame or worries about being ostracized or other students making his life hell is another question. No doubt the current and incoming student body at Chicago would have something to say on the subject throughout the summer.
    · Reply · Share
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 7867 replies28 threads Senior Member
    As to the subject of "Redemption": Sorry if this is a repeat of prior comments but Redemption does not imply that you can use your "Get Out of Jail Free" card. One's redemption will typically be associated with pain or discomfort - that's how "redemption" works. Someone has to pay the price.

    In this case, public acts on this young man's part to show society that he's not a hater of AA's or an Anti-Semite seem appropriate. He will go on and have a good life. Whether he will have a life enriched by wisdom and humility will be entirely up to him.
    · Reply · Share
  • skieuropeskieurope 41687 replies8014 threads Super Moderator
    MODERATOR'S NOTE
    As to the subject of "Redemption": Sorry if this is a repeat of prior comments but Redemption does not imply that you can use your "Get Out of Jail Free" card.
    It's really off-topic for this thread, which should only focus on "do you think the University of Chicago would have taken the action Harvard took?" Other discussion should be on the other thread:
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/harvard-university/2147511-parkland-shooting-survivor-kyle-kashuv-rescinded-from-harvard.html#latest
    · Reply · Share
  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    @marlowe1 and @BrianBoiler If you haven't already, you really ought to read the piece on this by the Editor of Above the Law about what it's like to be Black at Harvard. It's nice and all to be generous in offering a chance at education to the brash and uncouth, even when they are really arrogant, but it's another thing to impose a disproportionate share of the cost of that generosity on a small, vulnerable group of students that the university has been trying, with very limited success, to get to flourish. It's no secret that the University of Chicago has terrible trouble recruiting African-American students even in its own back yard, so to speak. How much more trouble would there be if those students saw the university publicly endorsing the idea that it's a no-big-thing youthful indiscretion to use the n-word deliberately and provocatively to make your classmates uncomfortable.

    Of course, charity towards Kashuv militates in favor of not rescinding him. But charity towards other students whom the university has also accepted, but who are known to feel like they are always told they don't belong, militates very strongly in favor of telling him to do something else with his life than to take his act to Hyde Park. It's one thing to say "no safe spaces;" it's another to knowingly create one that's radically unsafe for no valid academic purpose.

    By the way, my understanding is that Kashuv's "private" writings were shared with his entire APUSH class. I would have more sympathy for him if I thought he were really callow and unsophisticated, but it really seems like the opposite is true. He is now, and was then, a highly educated, highly intelligent, deliberate provocateur who lacks any empathy with the victims of what he sees as his heroic nonconformity. No thank you.
    · Reply · Share
  • PepperJoPepperJo 303 replies11 threads Member
    I read his piece a few days ago and then went to his Twitter feed. A few weeks back he posted about wishing he had a wasp killing business. Not so sure he was talking about insects.
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 26935 replies270 threads Senior Member
    "The profs at the U of C knew that a lot of polishing was required to shape us up."

    Not the profs job here.

    "In a way, if a person hated Kyle for his thought system/beliefs/upbringing and acted out on that, is it not a similar action? Taking action out of Hate? Is it ok to Hate the Hater? "

    Sure it is. Folks need to stand up against racism. So many evil things have happened as a result of racism and bigotry. We can hate. We should hate that.

    Also, there are many reports that Kashuv has made similar comments orally in high school on numerous occasions.

    I find it odd to start a thread when you claim you haven't read up on the events in question, @marlowe1.
    · Reply · Share
  • marlowe1marlowe1 1004 replies27 threads Senior Member
    To be clear, @JHS , this is a thought-experiment about whether Chicago would have rescinded, not whether it should now accept, Kashuv. Nor am I at all concerned about whether Harvard's rescission will hurt Kashuv. What happened does invite thinking about the policy and mission of a great university. There can be different opinions about this, and different universities have different conceptions of mission. That is what we're talking about here.

    The piece you cited simply took it as a given that the University of Chicago was a place of "low-hanging racism". I know nothing about the black experience, but l do know when I am reading tendentious ideologically blinkered writing, no matter the race of the writer. The piece did nothing to convince me that the experience of ordinary black students would be much affected by the acceptance of a fellow like Kashuv, especially in light of the many hundreds of their fellow-students who would join them in condemnation of him if he perpetrated any similar eruptions while on campus (or probably even if he didn't).

    I agree that it wouldn't be the best p.r. for Chicago, but it sounds like this editor has already made up his mind about the University in any event. P.R. isn't everything. My own fond hope is that there are students of color who would want to come to the University precisely because of the same values that attracted me. I don't for a moment believe that such students would encounter anything approaching the racism the writer of the piece suggests, nor would I conclude that the University would be putting this action "on the backs of minority students."
    · Reply · Share
  • bluebayoubluebayou 28217 replies212 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    concur with bksquared.

    In addition to the social norms, there is a potential legal issue with this type of person. If a college knowingly admits racists/anti-semites, the college could be found for enabling a de facto hostile education institution. (Is if fair to Jewish kid to have to room with Kashuv?) Similar to admitting acknowledged misognynists. I'm guessing both are federal no-no's, but under different Titles of the federal code.

    I would hope that any private college that had prior knowledge would not accept and if informed after the fact, would rescind.
    edited June 2019
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity