Jay Evensen: Harvard's rejection of Florida student shows pitfalls of maturation in the modern world

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  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    July 3, 2019 8:59 a.m.

    I don't know what the kid said, so I'm inclined to cut him some slack. The teenage brain is not fully formed, hence teenagers say and do some very foolish things. I'd prefer Harvard put him on some type of probation to see if he repeats his misdeeds. If he truly is a bad person, he will be a repeat offender, and Harvard can then give him the boot.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    June 24, 2019 7:03 a.m.

    While I will agree that Harvard has the right to rescind this inviation. The fact that they did does echo of a double standard. Foul mouthed David Hogg was extended an invitation to Harvard as well. The difference. Kyle was top of his class in grades with an exemplary SAT score. He got into Harvard initially on his academic performance. Hog with an SAT score in the 1200's and only somewhat higher than average grades seems to have earned his enrollment due to his outspoken anti-gun activisim. often expressed via foul mouthed comments on twitter.

    Yet Kyle has his invitation revoked for something said a couple years ago as a 16 year old. While now 18 year old Hogg, continues to cuss out opponents in the gun debate and yet his questionably qualified invitation still stands.

    Hypocrisy thy name is Harvard. Two students from the same school, one with stellar grades gets booted for something said years ago, while the other with academics that shouldn't have let him anywhere near Harvard remains despite ongoing crudity of offensiveness.

    That is my issue with this disinvitation.

  • Astoria Jim Mamaroneck, NY
    June 23, 2019 10:26 p.m.

    When I was in high school...fifty years ago...I said some really stupid, evan nasty things. And some of them were about other people's ethnic backgrounds.
    I am ashamed of these comments. Ann cringe when I think of them.
    The difference? My stupid comments were like soap bubbles...they floated in the air for a few seconds, then disappeared forever, leaving no trace. And no evidence.
    I'm not saying hateful speech is worse today because it may be recorded for posterity...or infamy. But, if you post it, it's there forever.
    Besides, if you want to say uncomplimentary things about people of other backgrounds, why not use the same words you would use for someone of your own heritage? Like jerk, fool, clown, or moron. These words convey contempt, but not hate.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    June 22, 2019 12:46 p.m.

    "this kid did a very stupid thing. He has admitted it. He was 16. If he were a liberal with a liberal cause, this would have gone completely unnoticed. "

    Really..... So if he were pro-black lives matter, no conservatives would have any issues with that? If he were pro-choice, no conservatives would have said anything? Please.

    The kid said some really stupid things. Most 16 year olds do, largely because they aren't old enough to fully understand the context of their comments, and their true impact. There is a reason in the judicial system those under 18 are treated differently. Last year Harvard did the same thing I think to eight students. He wasn't being picked out and being treated differently. University of Alabama last year did likewise to a gal who was attending when she posted some very inflammatory racist comments. Schools do this all the time.

    This is only different because of who this boy is, so the media picked up the story.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 22, 2019 6:35 a.m.

    There seems to be a presumption that this kid's "rights" as a presumably conservative thinker are abridged because he said racist things.

    Now all conservatives are not racists and all racists are not conservative. However, a racist is a racist is a racist. It seems a personal tragedy for the young man to be denied entrance into this hall of study. However, there are others which will adequately prepare him, so it is rather foolish to cry alligator tears.

    And it is sad that he felt comfortable to make some really terrible pronouncements. (How does such a young person come to such horrific estimations of his fellow human beings?) However, despite his apologies for his "youthful indiscretions", his victimization by conservative thinkers is truly misplaced. There are many fine public and private institutions that might forgive him of his gross misbehaviors.

    One of life's prime lessons is accountability for one's actions. It may be that this "youthful indiscretion" was an aberration. But so are many other things much less inappropriate suffered by others less privileged than seems this young man.

    He'll be fine and get into another school. Maybe even a GOP elected.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 21, 2019 9:43 a.m.

    @ NoNames

    "Reversing positions to support Harvard while attacking bakers, photographers, BYU, and adoption agencies is no better."

    Describing the law as it stands is a statement of reality, not a reversal of position. The failure to understand or accept the distinction the law makes is on your doorstep, not others'.

  • Jimbo Low PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    June 20, 2019 3:18 p.m.

    @ottocrat:
    "There are plenty of kids with great academic and social/extracurricular records who apply to Harvard who don't make a point of spewing racist garbage."
    I think the libs and under-informed individuals (including Jay, for that matter) on the comment board are completely missing the issue. This kid did a very stupid thing. He has admitted it. He was 16. If he were a liberal with a liberal cause, this would have gone completely unnoticed. Since he is Conservative actively advocating for gun rights, the dirt digging began in EARNEST -- identical dirt digging that happened to Kavanaugh, Roy Moore, etc.. His sin wasn't doing something stupid when he was 16. His sin is conservative activism. The left mob wants to rid our society of conservatism. Period. They will target them mercilessly regardless of age when the "dirt" happened. If there is no dirt, they will make it up and bring a false witness to talk about it.
    THAT is the issue.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 20, 2019 11:36 a.m.

    In my religion the age of accountability is the 8th birthday.

    Born in a southern state, earlier in life, I remember using all the racist jingles and quips at play along with other children. Somewhere, well before I was a teen, conversations with my parents and actual experiences erased the notion that color of skin did not make the person good or bad.

    According to my life, a person is a product of his parents.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 20, 2019 11:35 a.m.

    In my religion the age of accountability is the 8th birthday.

    Born in a southern state, earlier in life, I remember using all the racist jingles and quips at play along with other children. Somewhere, well before I was a teen, conversations with my parents and actual experiences erased the notion that color of skin did not make the person good or bad.

    According to my life, a person is a product of his parents.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    June 20, 2019 11:09 a.m.

    @ridal
    So standing up to racism is now "liberal fascism"? I remember a time when we all thought racism was a bad thing.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 20, 2019 10:15 a.m.

    @Ranch and others: "difference between a private organization and a business operating in the public arena."

    @PDN: "scorecard"

    Reversing positions to support Harvard while attacking bakers, photographers, BYU, and adoption agencies is no better. What is legally permissible does not have to be socially acceptable. I'll support Harvard's rights exactly as I support BYU, bakers, photographers and adoption agencies.

    Harvard is multi-billion dollar private university receiving taxpayer funds. Those who love this decision by Harvard are have repeatedly attacked BYU, attacked religious tax exemptions. They impose legal penalties on bakers and photographers, and sue to eliminate private adotion agencies.

    Will you defend BYU's right to maintain their standards? Or will you continue to attack BYU's access to federal funding? Those who today claim to support BYU, have consistency demanded it not have access to federal education funds.

    So:

    Will you defend adoption agencies?

    Will you defend bakers and florists?

    Or:

    Will you demand credit card companies and drug companies provide service to all comers?

    Principled consistency? Or just "What I like is good; What you like is bad"?

  • PDN SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 20, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    Baker should be able to choose not to bake cake for gay couple?
    Private school should be able to eliminate candidate for alcohol, tobacco, pre-marital sex, sexual orientation?
    Private school should not be able to eliminate candidate for racist rants?

    Please provide a score card so that I can keep track.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 20, 2019 9:10 a.m.

    @NoNames;

    Read what others have said. There a difference between a private organization and a business operating in the public arena.

    But then, you already know that and willfully ignore.

  • T-money$$$ Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2019 9:06 a.m.

    Heaven forbid we use technology to help keep each other accountable and call out racism when we see it.

  • kshean Charleston, UT
    June 20, 2019 8:41 a.m.

    Harvard, and most institutions of higher learning, makes it very clear that admission is contingent upon the incoming student not having done anything to alter the conditions on which the acceptance was offered. Harvard, as well as BYU, makes it clear what those acceptance conditions are. BYU and Harvard are private institutions who have every right to set whatever standards and conditions they choose. If not behaving in a racist manner is one of the conditions, so be it. (I happen to agree with this condition.) If not having unmarried sex is one of the conditions, so be it. (I happen not to agree with this condition). My agreement or disagreement with the conditions is completely irrelevant. The private institution is fully within its rights to decide who can attend and who can not. This young man's life will not be ruined by not attending Harvard. It will be altered because of choices he made. That is the way life works and now is as good a time as any for him to learn that lesson.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 20, 2019 6:54 a.m.

    @ NoNames

    "That is a very different tune than you sing when it comes to bakers and photographers wishing to disassociate themselves from conduct they find offensive."

    The referenced bakers and photographers are operating PUBLIC businesses. Harvard is a PRIVATE institution - like your church is. And you don't want anyone to be able to come in and tell you what your church's standards must be, correct?

    This distinction - and not just one of opinion, but one of law - has been articulated ad nauseum for several years now, so it's hard to believe you haven't encountered it before. But whether your ignorance is innocent or willful, the reality is that the different tune is actually emanating from your position, not Ranch's.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 20, 2019 6:44 a.m.

    "Yet again, the only foundational principle some can muster seems to be, "I want what I like and I oppose what I don't like."

    A perfect summary of the principle chronically evident in all comments from nonames.

    Well said.

  • Frozen Fractals Paducah, KY
    June 20, 2019 5:40 a.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted
    "That is a very different tune than you sing when it comes to bakers and photographers wishing to disassociate themselves from conduct they find offensive."

    Private entities and businesses engaging in the public square have different rules. I don't like that BYU would kick out a student who marries someone of the same sex but that's something the school can do legally.

    Plus in this case there's no anti-discrimination statute for racism.

  • Puukko Orem , 00
    June 20, 2019 5:13 a.m.

    This is the libs world we live in now. Trial by media.

  • n8ive american Shelley, Idaho
    June 20, 2019 12:05 a.m.

    Just look at today's politicians. If you're a conservative, everything is held against you. If you're democrat, you get a free pass. Look at what Democrats have said and done. No repercussions. How many have done "blackface"? There are a few. Did they get booted from office? No. Barely a backpge story. Kavanaugh, that's a different story. He's conservative, so is treated differently. Even had people coming out of the woodwork with false charges (outright lies).
    Why are liberals and conservatives treated differently?
    Why are liberals forgiven but conservatives are not?
    Double standards by the people and the media.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 19, 2019 8:43 p.m.

    @Ranch: "Harvard also has the freedom of speech to disassociate itself from such speech as this kid posted."

    That is a very different tune than you sing when it comes to bakers and photographers wishing to disassociate themselves from conduct they find offensive.

    Yet again, the only foundational principle some can muster seems to be, "I want what I like and I oppose what I don't like." Freedom of speech and association must certainly be every bit as available to a small businessman/woman working entirely in the private sector as it is to a multi-billion dollar university accepting huge sums of government / taxpayer monies in both research grants and tuition payments assistance such as Pell Grants, and student loans.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 19, 2019 8:31 p.m.

    @shamrock: "Why does anyone think this supposedly reformed racist is entitled to attend the most exclusive college in the U.S.?"

    He isn't entitled to attend Harvard. But having been accepted--perhaps unfairly by some standards if his survival of a school shooting played any material role in the decision--he turned down other offers, including scholarships. Now, Harvard yanks the rug out from under him over a non-criminal, semi-private act that hurt no one. Highly offensive, but who was hurt?

    When a college admits--or a company extends a job offer--people make life changing decisions. These offers should not be rescinded over personal imperfections that don't affect job performance nor college success.

    @Joe Hilll: "you equating conservatism with racism?"

    Not at all. But, one suspects Harvard really rescinded his admission over his pro-RKBA position; that the racist rant from 2 years prior was just a convenient excuse.

    One notices that liberals can say and even do all manner of bad things and get a pass because they hold "correct" views and vote the "correct" way, while conservatives get escorciated for similar conduct. Clinton v Trump. Gov, Lt Gov, and SecState in Virginia.

  • Utahnareapeculiarpeople Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2019 6:24 p.m.

    Harvard withdrew the PRIVILEGE of being able to attend for what are at best bad choices. That's really not so bad in comparison to what happens to a lot of kids who don't come from the kind of background he, or Mr. Evensen or his junior high band mates do. An awful lot of kids (i) don't have the opportunity to go with a junior high band to disneyland, and (ii) ARE prosecuted for stealing).

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 19, 2019 3:49 p.m.

    @michaelitos;

    Harvard also has the freedom of speech to disassociate itself from such speech as this kid posted.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    June 19, 2019 3:34 p.m.

    @michaelitos - Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2019 2:58 p.m.
    Everyone seems so quick to judgment these days. What happened to freedom of speech and exchange of ideas?"

    What? Threatening to kill all Jews and using the "N" word a dozen times on social media is not an "exchange of ideas". It's hate. He still has "freedom of speech". He doesn't have "Freedom from Consequences" of his speech.

  • michaelitos Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2019 2:58 p.m.

    Everyone seems so quick to judgment these days. What happened to freedom of speech and exchange of ideas? I certainly don't agree with the 16-year-old's racist comments, but I still defend his right to say it. I want to preserve my own freedom of speech to engage in civil dialogue and convince him (hopefully) to not be hateful (admittedly Harper Lee would do a better job than me). It sounds like the 17 year-old version of the kid has repented. I'm not the judge of the sincerity of such repentance, but I guess Harvard is...

  • Joe Hilll Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2019 1:30 p.m.

    @rick for truth
    "This action only shows that conservatives are truly under attractive." So are you equating conservatism with racism? this kid got dis-invited fro his racist comments not for being a conservative. His political views including views on gun control were public knowledge at the time he was invited to attend. He was dis-invited when the racist comments surfaced.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2019 11:37 a.m.

    Why does anyone think this supposedly reformed racist is entitled to attend the most exclusive college in the U.S.? Hundreds of great kids with perfect GPAs, high SATs and awesome extracurricular activities don't get in. To me, he's just an entitled whiner who's upset because his past caught up with him. That's life, kiddo.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 19, 2019 10:57 a.m.

    It seems to me that this kid is sorry simply because he got caught. He's barely over 16 now, Jay. How little time do you think he's had to accomplish his "change of heart"?

    @Rick;

    Did you mean "ugly" by "under attractive"? Just curious.

  • aggiefather Fulton, MO
    June 19, 2019 10:36 a.m.

    Virginia's democrat governor, Ralph Northam, proudly selected a photo of him in blackface for his personal page in his medical school (NOT high school) yearbook. The fallout? Nothing.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    June 19, 2019 10:11 a.m.

    This action only shows that conservatives are truly under attractive by everyone and every institution on the left. A cold civil war. Conservatives need to wake up and understand this attack on freedom, liberty, and justice. The race for socialism by the left is now out in the open. Conservatives must beat them at the polls.

  • ottocrat , UT
    June 19, 2019 10:04 a.m.

    There are plenty of kids with great academic and social/extracurricular records who apply to Harvard who don't make a point of spewing racist garbage. Thing is, Jay, that these kids are digital natives; they know that every online interaction is permanent. They weren't born in the 1960's and don't have any expectation of privacy.
    On another note, Harvard is a private University that can accept or reject whomever they see fit and for what ever reasons they choose. Would you complain if B.Y.U. withdrew admission from a student who showed this utter and recent lack of character? Thought not.

  • Idaho forever South Jordan, UT
    June 19, 2019 9:38 a.m.

    I am sure I made racial "slurs" as an insensitive teenager growing up. I was the recipient of unkind remarks and bullying.......and may have returned the favor. Do I regret these things........absolutely, but it would not enter my mind to say or do such at this point in my life. At a recent high school reunion (55 years) a classmate approached me and apologized for initiating a "fight" that we had in the 50's. I felt bad that he even had to do that, and that he had carried that burden all through the years.
    Change, "repentance", forgiveness........all part of what this nation was founded on.
    Now.......having said that........it is crucial that the Harvard reject has had a real change of heart. If he has, then he should be able to be forgiven. If not, we will probably see more such "postings" from him in the future........and that will be truly sad.

  • milquetoasty Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2019 9:27 a.m.

    Honestly? Go ahead and judge me for the dumb stuff I did when I was 16. I was emotional, at times arrogant, and definitely pretty certain I knew the meaning of life.

    You might even be able to dig up my Myspace page and fine some embarrassing pictures, bad songs I liked, and face-palm worthy comments.

    But if a prospective employer or school admissions office were to get a hold of it, I might be embarrassed, but I wouldn't be afraid. Why? Because I didn't do or say hateful things when I was 16.

    The idea that "kids" need this grace period where they must be allowed to act hatefully free of consequences is unbelievable. How is it not fair for someone to be judged by their own actions? This young man didn't apologize for anything until he got caught, yet even with that information known, many demand his immediate forgiveness. How many parents would take that kind of apology seriously from their own kids?

    The suggestion that all or most or many 16 year olds are all guilty of this kind of behavior is insulting. Ignorant, arrogant, or wreckless behavior? Sure. Hateful & racist? No.

    I'm not losing any sleep over him losing his spot at Harvard. It's not like he was arrested.