As Gina Grant began classes last Tuesday at Tufts University, students there called for an end to the media circus that has dogged her since Harvard rescinded its offer of admission to her last spring.
Harvard College revoked its admission offer after an anonymous package of news clippings informed admissions officers that she pleaded no contest to the killing of her mother in 1990.
Kim F. Volkman, a first-year student, said that the Tufts student body is largely supportive of or indifferent to grant decision to attend the university.
"I believe she deserves a chance, but if it was me, I really don't think I'd feel comfortable rooming with her," Volkman said.
Grant allegedly killed her mother Dorothy Mayfield by bludgeoning her with a lead crystal candlestick. Her attorneys argued that she had suffered years of emotional abuse while living with her mother after the death of her father.
The judge in that case allowed Grant to serve six months in a juvenile detention center near her home in Lexington, S.C. and then allowed her to move to Cambridge to start over.
Grant graduated with honors from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School and this summer made the decision to attend Tufts after Harvard and Columbia rescinded her offers of admission.
Just as media coverage exploded following those decisions in April, television crews and reporters flocked to the 144th Matriculation Day at Tufts on August 31.
In response to Grant's presence on campus, Editors of the Primary Source, a conservative biweekly Tufts publication, plastered the campus with posters that read: "Blue Lights, Safety Shuttles, Killers."
The posters included photos of Tufts President John DiBaggio and Dean of Admissions David Cuttino.
The terms "blue lights" and "safety shuttles" were references to measures that the school administration had taken to improve the safety of its students, said Colin Delaney, editor-in-chief of the Source.
Blue lights mark the locations of emergency phones on the Tufts campus; the safety shuttles bus Tufts students at night, according to Delaney.
In a telephone interview last week, Delaney said the posters were intended to criticize the university for attempting to improve campus safety while at the same time admitting a student who had plead no contest to killing her mother, Delaney said in a telephone interview last week.
"We [put up the posters] because we had every expectation that the university would not tell incoming freshmen what it had done," Delaney said.
Delaney said the Source had a responsibility "as a member of the free press" to inform students and their parents of Grant's presence on campus.