July 20, 2011

University of Connecticut Reneges on Commitment to 13-Year Old Autum Ashante

This blog shared some good news about 13-year old Autum Ashante being accepted to the University of Connecticut last month. Autum is reported to have an IQ of 149. We are very sorry to learn that UConn decided to renege on their commitment. [SOURCE]

Ben Ashante, Autum's dad, says that the institution has caused his family a lot of grief for “going back on their word,” and as a result have been dragged through the media. He said that he was told that he and his daughter needed to formally enroll, but upon doing so, the admission’s office told him that Autum was not “academically” ready.

Ashante condemned the institution and accused them of “covering their ass."

Meanwhile, the Ashante’s had to halt initial plans to relocate to Connecticut, as they originally were under the impression that Autum would begin classes at UConn this fall. Instead, Mr. Ashante is looking into enrolling Autum at other institutions such as Hampton University, a historically Black college in Virginia, and the University of Bridgeport.


Carolyn Moon said...

This incident reminds me of an anecdotal story Randall Robinson wrote in his book "Defending The Spirit" about his then school aged daughter. She and three other black girls in the class were put in routine time outs although they weren't discipline problems.
BTW; she attended a private school with a good reputation and tested gifted. At a Parent-Teacher conference, his wife inquired about the time outs on her record. She had been told that her daughter and the 3 other black girls were the only ones put in time out. The teacher's reasoning was "studies show that black parents rear their children to be more aggressive". Thus I guess it was a preemptive move on her part.
Later there were apologies and tears but the damage had been done.
Mr. Robinson said that this incident in a personal way "mirrored" the problems we face on a global scale.

The connection? This young lady was accepted initially because she was gifted and recruited for early admission. The university then reneged on the invitation citing that she wasn't "academically" ready. I would wager that someone else of power and means in the dept. just couldn't fathom this sort of thing with a 13 yr. old female black adolescent.

As Mr. Robinson stated after the incident with his daughter "where does a black soul go to rest".

Well...Autum Ashante with the support of her family is going to another university where she will be well received and will excel and opportunities will abound in spite of the Univ. of Connecticut's renegement!

Yes...I'm upset.

Unknown said...

Shame, shame on UConn for reneging on a promise. Institutions of higher learning are tasked with not only inspiring students to enrich their minds but for setting an example of principled leadership. UConn has failed. Did she suddently become "unready" after acceptance. I know that Autumn will do us all proud at another institution smart enough to accept and cultivate her gifts.

Unknown said...

Amina and Karen - It is a shame when a 'good news' story is turned into a 'bad news' story as this one has been done by UConn. My hope is that the young lady takes full advantage of the next opportunity that presents itself. It will be tough for a 13-year old to succeed in a college environment and culture ... hopefully she has what it takes!

Carolyn Moon said...

To Villager:

You make a good point about the challenges of collegiate life. I was so upset by the slight that I overlooked some realities. I remember my freshman year in college and it was quite a transition and a social challenge. I was 18.

Academic gifts aside--navigating the social milieu will require support from trustworthy folks.

I, too, hope that she not only has what it takes to garner a supportive network but has a successful experience doing so.