Rally Planned to Support Grant

Grant Makes Statement of Appreciation Through Uncle

After learning that students in favor of her admission to the College plan to rally today, Gina Grant yesterday issued her first public comment since news of Harvard rescinding her offer of admission broke last week.

Speaking through her uncle, Curtis M. Dickson, the 19-year-old Cambridge Rindge and Latin School senior said: "I appreciate all of the support that the Harvard students have shown me, but I believe that it is in my best interest to remain silent, at this point."

Dickson contracted Grant in Cambridge for The Crimson from his Lexington, S.C. home yesterday.

Yesterday, led by Undergraduate Council President Joshua D. Liston '95, undergraduates hastily planned a rally outside the Admissions Office at Byerly Hall to demand that the faculty reverse its decision, made last Monday, to rescind its early-admission offer to Grant. The rally is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. today.

The Faculty Standing Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid voted to annual Grant's admission after learning she had slain her mother in their Lexington, S.C. home in 1990.

"All indications from the University indicate this is a closed matter," Liston said. "I think it takes a more drastic step to overturn that [decision] than merely a letter or a telephone conversation."

Liston estimated that between 20 and 100 students will attend the rally, possibly including students from Rindge and Latin.

News media swarmed through the Yard and the Houses yesterday, interviewing students and administrators. The Grant case was the subject of ABC's "Nightline" last night.

In an additional development, Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz--the most visible faculty member yet to comment on the case--alternately accused Grant of not being more forthright on her application for admission and blamed the faculty committee for being premature and hasty in annulling its offer of admission.

"What I think Harvard should have done is say, "We learned new information about you; we'd like you to come in for an interview," Dershowitz said in an interview earlier this week.

University officials did not meet with Grant prior to the decision to rescind her admission offer.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R.Fitzsimmons '67 and Vice President and GeneralCounsel Margaret H. Marshall informed Grant ofthe University's decision last Wednesday.

"I hope in the end that [Harvard] will be ableto admit her, even though I don't believe ahistory of verbal abuse gives you the right tokill your mother and then cover it up," Dershowitzadded, referring to the years of emotional abusefrom her mother Grant's attorneys say shesuffered.

The controversial attorney argued heatedly withGrant's attorney, Margaret A. Burnham, in afurious give-and-take moderated by "Nightline"anchor Ted Koppel.

Dershowitz criticized Grant's decision to check"no" to a question on the Common Applicationasking whether she had been placed on academicprobation, been removed from school or voluntarilyleft.

Grant had "the legal technical right to sayno." Dershowitz said, but should have been morecandid and told the admissions office of herinvolvement in her mother's death.

"You don't want to be in a situation whereHarvard thinks you've covered something up,"Dershowitz said. "Harvard's entitled to know."

"Harvard was not wrong in being concerned whenit received new information" about Grant,Dershowitz said. An anonymous person two weeks agosent a package containing newspaper clippings fromGrant's 1990 trial to her high school, the Harvardadmissions office and the Boston Globe.

Grant's supporters, however, have contendedthat the intent of the juvenile justice system isto seal the cases of young offenders so that theycan get on with their lives.

Burnham said Grant's case ended with heradjudication for voluntary manslaughter inJanuary, 1991, and should not be furtherdiscussed.

"The judge [in the case] looked more carefullyat this than any of us have," Burnham said.

"We rely on individuals in whom we entrustauthority to make decisions like that," Burnhamsaid. "But you can put that [past] behind you."

Boston University President John R. Silber alsodefended Grant on "Nightline."

"This society professes redemption in two ofits major religions, Judaism and Christianity,"Silber said.

Silber said if every school were to takeHarvard's position in rejecting Grant, "we wouldsentence her to a life without higher education."Boston University has indicated it would acceptGrant if she applied.

The issue continued to divide students andfaculty yesterday. The Institute of Politics hasscheduled a student panel on Wednesday, April 19to debate whether Grant should be admitted to theCollege.

The panel will feature moderator E. MichelleDrake '97, chair of the Civil Liberties Union ofHarvard; David B. Lat '96, associate editorialchair of The Crimson; Stephen E. Frank '95, formereditorial chair of The Crimson; and Scott L.Shuchart '96, an editor of the liberal monthly,Perspective.

"She doesn't belong at Harvard." Frank saidyesterday. "She murdered her mother brutally andin cold blood by bashing her skull in, that speaksfor itself."

Frank said he was "not sure" whether Grantlied in not disclosing her past on her applicationfor admission, but said "there's no doubt shemisled the community" in not being fully candid.

Liston disagreed.

"However you decide whether Gina Grant shouldbe admitted, Harvard made a hasty decision afterthey received the package of news clippings,"Liston said. "In fairness to all sides, theadmissions process should be reopened."

Liston added: "The second issue is that Harvardshould explain specifically why the offer wasrescinded in the first place."

The University has repeatedly refused todiscuss Grant's case specifically, only sayingthat an offer of admission had been rescinded.Harvard acknowledged that the rare decision torescind an admission can be made if a studentmisrepresents facts on their application or if astudent's behavior brings his or her "moralcharacter" into question.

Liston said he did not think the U.C. "isrepresentative enough" to take a formal positionon the issue.

A spokesperson for the American Civil LibertiesUnion said yesterday the organization had no plansto become involved in Grant's case.

But CLUH chair Drake, who is a Crimson editor,said Harvard may have violated Grant's rights inpublicly conceding that it had rescinded heradmission through its press release last week.

"I tend to think this is more a moral issuethan a civil liberties issue," Drake said.

Students also disagreed over whether Harvardshould have expected Grant to reveal the contentof records which had been sealed in family court.

"Perhaps by legal standards she was O.K., butHarvard's standards are obviously in this casemore stringent than the legal standards," saidformer U.C. President David L. Hanselman '94-'95.

"All of the people who are in favor of GinaGrant are sort of taking the act of beatingsomeone to death a little bit too leniently,"Hanselman said. "It may reflect on some aspect ofher character than any ordinary person...may nothave any comprehension of."

Hanselman said he supported Harvard's decision.

U.C. Parliamentarian Elizabeth A. Haynes '98did not agree.

"She deserves at the bare minimum a chance todefend her position and a re-evaluation of heradmission." Haynes said. "It's obvious that thebenefits she would gain from coming here areextraordinary. She has an amazing amount ofability and tenacity and drive."

Dershowitz appeared to be of two opinionsyesterday as to whether Grant would pose a dangerto University students and faculty if admitted.

"Harvard has the right to make its ownindependent decision to see if she is safe enoughto be in a dorm and with other students."Dershowitz told Koppel on "Nightline."

But the law professor told The Crimson in aninterview earlier this week that he would notobject to her enrollment in the College. "I wouldlike to see her next year if she can prove to theadmissions office that she's not at risk,"Dershowitz said. "But the burden of proof hasshifted to her."

Dershowitz also argued both sides as to whetherGrant's abused childhood was sufficientexplanation, if not justification, for heractions.

"It sounds to me like it was an abuse excuse,"he told The Crimson. But he later added: "I dothink the fact that she's a juvenile makes adifference."

Curtis R. Chong and Sarah J. Schaffercontributed to the reporting of this article.