April 16, 1995 in Nation/World

Columbia Also Accepted Convicted Killer

Marion Davis New York Daily News
 
Tags:ethics

If they knew for sure why she killed her mother, or whether she lied on her college applications, they’d feel more comfortable welcoming her - or shunning her - on their campus.

But with all the uncertainty surrounding Gina Grant, the honors student whose admission to Harvard was rescinded after the school learned she had killed her mother, Columbia students weren’t sure how to react to reports yesterday that Columbia, too, had accepted Grant.

University officials confirmed that Grant had been sent her acceptance letter before her past was exposed. They did not say whether her admission status was in jeopardy.

“If she lied on her application, that’s really an honor thing,” said Becky Miller, a junior.

“Everyone came to the same conclusion: That they wouldn’t mind her coming to the school, but they wouldn’t want to be her roommate, either.”

Miller added, “I do feel that everyone deserves to get an education and to get on with their life, but at the same time, I’m uncomfortable.”

Grant, now 19, does not deny that she bludgeoned her mother to death with a lead crystal candlestick holder when she was 14.

At the time, she pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in a South Carolina court and served six months in juvenile detention.

Grant always has said she killed her alcoholic mother in self-defense, but prosecutors said the killing was motivated by Grant’s desire to be with her boyfriend, whom her mother disliked.

Many Columbia students said Grant had paid her debt to society.

“If they revoked her admission here, there would be protests,” said Ashley Stanbury, a sophomore, adding that Harvard’s treatment of Grant “makes them look stupid.”

Most said that the more important issue was whether Grant lied on her application.

“The only question is how she presented herself,” said Brian Lang, a senior.

Referring to a report in the Harvard student newspaper, the Crimson, that Grant had told an interviewer that her mother had died in a car crash, Lang said: “If she’s lying like that, then her character is suspect.”

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