I was mildly surprised and pleased with the recent decision by Harvard College to “uninvite” 10 incoming freshmen after they started an “invitation only” Facebook group within their class that included messages joking about among other things: The Holocaust… sexual assault… that leveled racial slurs at minorities.
Free speech advocates were outraged. Law School lecturer Alan Dershowitz told the Guardian newspaper Harvard was "intruding too deeply" into the private lives of students, violating their free speech.
I posted a story about the decision online, looking for input. One person did agree with Dershowitz asking, “So now universities should impose values on kids?”
The answer came quickly from others who said, "Frankly, yes, they should if parents don’t do it." A university should set its own standards, code of behavior for students...after all, another said, Harvard is a private school, and there are always other schools.
It is a painful lesson those students should have learned long ago: your words posted on social media represent you, your values, so be very careful.
For me, and many of the others who commented, it’s even more simple. Shocking and outrageous actions usually have consequences.
Young people make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can be costly. But being held accountable for your actions, your words is something sorely missed in our society.
A college campus should encourage the vigorous intellectual pursuit of ideas, but history has already shown us that unlike people, not all ideas are equal.
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