Revoked Harvard admission not a free-speech case

Freshmen dorms at Harvard

Freshmen dorms at Harvard

First ran in Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

Harvard College has rescinded its offer of admission to Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people. No, it’s not because he’s a big fan of Trump who reveres the NRA, which Harvard knew about when it accepted him. Indeed, his articulate outspokenness and that he went to that tragic school probably got him into Harvard, which only admits about 6 percent of applicants.

His problem was that Harvard learned that he had made virulently anti-black comments (extensive use of the “N’’ word) and, oddly, since he’s a descendent of Holacaust survivors, anti-Semitic remarks, too, via text and group chat before the shooting.

He asserts now that he was just being, well, silly, and didn’t really mean it: “We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible,’’ and that despite, among other things, his links with Turning Points USA, which has a fair share of racists, he isn’t a racist.

Who knows? But his argument that his profuse apologies upon being found out, and his youth when he made his odious comments, should have been enough for Harvard to admit him anyway doesn’t wash. After all, all such institutions have to make judgments on the intelligence and character of teenage applicants. In the character department, his racist remarks look bad both for the overt racism expressed, however sincere or insincere it was, and for Mr. Kashuv’s apparent pathetic desire for the approval of his smug and maybe racist friends.

This is not a free-speech case. He can say or write whatever he wants, just as Harvard, as a private institution, can admit whomever it wants. Now we’ll see if Mr. Kashuv is truly regretful or tries to turn himself into a well-compensated “victim’’ on Fox News.