Texas student defends merit of Harvard acceptance after question from former state official

A former Texas state official this week questioned a biracial California high school student’s Harvard acceptance, asking on Twitter if he was admitted on “merit” or “quota.”

Drake Johnson tweeted a photo of himself on Wednesday holding his Harvard acceptance letter and sporting the Ivy League university’s sweatshirt, adding: “It’s official, I’m Harvard bound.”

George Clayton, a former member of the Texas state board of education, according to the Dallas Morning News, responded to the tweet.

“Congrats,” Clayton wrote. “Were you admitted on merit or quota?”

Clayton, who says in his Twitter bio that he is again running for the board, declined to comment on the tweet to the Dallas News, saying that he has retired from public life.

The Marina High School senior responded to Clayton’s question with a “thank you” and a list of his accomplishments.

“Valedictorian, ASB President, World Champion, good SAT, and a couple handfuls of other involvements, so I would think merit?” Johnson wrote.

Johnson was accepted to 10 schools, including Dartmouth and Brown, according to the Monterey County Herald. He told the Dallas News that he wanted to craft a response to Clayton that would “civilly defuse” the situation.

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"I wanted some subtle way to prove him wrong, but not be aggressive," he said. "I thought that was the best way to civilly defuse the situation and clearly show I was accepted on merit."

“In case anyone else thinks I just got accepted to fill a quota, I did actually get in based on merit lol,” Johnson tweeted later.

Johnson’s mother slammed Clayton’s tweet, telling the paper that it was “frustrating” and racist.

"Why do you care, and why are you asking that particular question to a kid who is clearly of some type of mixed race?" she said. "That is just so frustrating."

She also praised her son’s response.

"He's this kid who really thinks about what he's doing and saying," she told the paper. "He knows how hard he works to get where he's at. He wants people to understand that that's why he's getting what he's getting, nothing's being handed to him."