MAGINE FINDING OUT THAT THE NICE GUY DOWN THE HALL FROM YOU IS
facing charges of statutory rape. Or that your brainy class project partner
spent time in a juvenile delinquency hall for arson. Or that your quiet new
roomie has a rap sheet the size of your grocery list. Impossible? Hardly.
Many universities unknowingly accept criminal
offenders or those charged with crimes because under
federal law, universities can only obtain juvenile criminal
records through parental consent. And really, when you
think about it, what parents are going to rat out their kids
and ruin their chances of getting accepted to college?
That's right. Ze-ro.
In an effort to weed out dangerous criminals, col-
leges are considering asking prospective students to
disclose criminal activity on their application. In fact,
the problem of what to do about student criminals is
being addressed this month at the Illinois Association
for College Admissions Counseling Annual Conference.
One scenario sure to come up at the conference
involves a prospective U. of Michigan student who was-
n't admitted because of a pending criminal charge.
Mind you, the student hadn't been found guilty of any
crime. UM's action has resulted in a national debate
surrounding a university's
right to judge students
before the law does.
Everything was going
great for 18-year-old
Daniel Granger. He was
president of his high
school senior class and
looking forward to taking
that big step into college.
He was really pumped
T A l CAi M
David Cash com-
mitted no crime, yet
many of his class-
mates at the U. of
want to see him booted
off campus. Why? They believe Cash committed a
moral crime because he didn't report that his
friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer, sexually molested and
killed a 7-year-old girl in a Nevada casino.
Strohmeyer pleaded guilty to the charges and
will spend the rest of his life in prison without
parole. But what about Cash? He's on his way to an
engineering degree at a prestigious university. And
it has no plans to investigate or expel him.
"This student has not been charged with any
violation of criminal law or the campus student
code that would provide a basis for any such
review," Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl
remarks in a statement.
What's got students all riled up is that on "60
Minutes," Cash showed no sympathy toward the
slain girl's family and even told the Los Angeles
Times that the publicity made it easier to pick up
women. "It wasn't just some scared kid who froze,"
says Preston Taylor, president of the Associated
Students of U. of California. "it was a 17-yearold
arrogantly boasting he had done what he did. That
attitude is what really ticked us off."
Still the question remains.: should he stay or
should he go?
when he got one of those fat envelopes from UM, admit-
ting him for the fall of '98.
But Granger's college plans took a wild turn when
three 14-year-old girls claimed that he and a few of his
friends gave them alcohol and had sex with them. He
was charged with statutory rape and when news of the
allegations hit UM, administrators demanded that he
attend a meeting to discuss the events.
"They asked him direct questions like, 'Did you do
it?' that he wouldn't have to answer in a court of law,"
says his father, Richard Granger. "If our system of jus-
tice states he is supposedly innocent, putting him
through that procedure made him guilty."
After the intense and grueling interview, Granger
received notice that his admission had been suspend-
ed until UM could complete an investigation.
In September, Granger filed a plea bargain - a mis-
demeanor charge of conspiracy to contribute to the
delinquency of a minor. This kept him off the sex-offend-
ers list but earned him four and a half months of jail
time and two years probation. It also dashed Granger's
hopes of joining the ranks of college freshmen - fol-
lowing the sentencing, UM revoked his admission.
According to the university's report, "Daniel's
matriculation poses a threat to the health and safety of
members of our community, and his matriculation is not
appropriate in light of the university's standards for the
judgment and character of the incoming students."
UM students claim that administrators acted as if
Granger had committed the crime before he entered the
courtroom. "The investigation was completely unfair," says
freshman Dana Kelly. "The university should have waited.
Who knows? Those girls could have been making it up."
As for Granger, the dark cloud cast over him at UM
might hamper any chance he has of joining the ranks of@
college freshmen. Wayne State U. has denied Granger
twice (before and after the plea bargain) and Bowling
Green State U. suspended his admission.
It's a serious dilemma - how to ensure the safety
of the student body, while at the same time preserving
an individual's right to an education. And as universities
continue the debate, it's unlikely that Daniel Granger
will be the last student whose education gets caught in
ARE THERE CIMINALS AMONG US?,
BY RYAN COLEMAN
8W WWw.agazrie.Com * April/May 1999