Former Texas Official Asks Biracial Student If Harvard Admission Is Based on 'Merit or Quota'

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A senior from Marina High School who was admitted into Harvard was asked by a Texas state official if he got admitted into the Ivy League school based off of "merit or quota." Getty Images

A former Texas state official questioned a high school student from California's acceptance to Harvard University, and questioned if he was admitted into the Ivy League school based off of "merit or quota."

Drake Johnson, a cheerleader for the Cali Black Ops and a senior at Marina High School, took to Twitter on Wednesday to say that he had been accepted to Harvard University, wearing a red Harvard sweatshirt and holding his acceptance letter.

"It's official, I'm Harvard bound," he tweeted.

Following his announcement, George Clayton, a former member of the Texas state board of education, tweeted back at Johnson on Friday and asked how he was admitted into the university.

"Congrats. Were you admitted on merit or quota?" Clayton tweeted.

The Harvard bound student, who is biracial, did not hesitate in his response and made it clear to Clayton that his acceptance to the university was well earned.

"Thank you! Valedictorian, ASB President, World Champion, good SAT, and a couple handfuls of other involvements, so I would think merit?" Johnson wrote back.

Johnson told the Dallas News that he didn't really know how to respond to Clayton at first. He then decided to list his accomplishments in response to Clayton's question.

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

Newsweek has reached out to Johnson and Harvard University for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Johnson's mother, Jeanine Johnson, said she read the tweet as racist. She doesn't have any idea how Clayton came across the tweet and that the only affiliation they have with Texas is for Drake's cheerleading competitions.

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

Despite Clayton's response, Johnson's mother is very proud of her son and his response to the former state official.

"He's this kid who really thinks about what he's doing and saying," she told the publication. "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."

Clayton, who is a former member of the Texas State Board of Education, is running again for a 2018 spot, according to his Twitter bio. He declined to comment to the Dallas News, saying that "he has retired from public life and no longer speaks to the press."

Newsweek has reached out to Clayton for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Former Texas Official Asks Biracial Student If Harvard Admission Is Based on 'Merit or Quota' | U.S.