The story was compelling when it was first broken several weeks ago by the New York Daily News–a 13-year-old Black whiz-kid named Autum Ashante accepted to the University of Connecticut, only to have that acceptance rescinded, and her fraught father calling for justice.
But the story might be a work of fiction.
The University of Connecticut spokesman cited by the Daily News as having confirmed Autum’s acceptance, Richard Veilleux, tells NewsOne that he never told the paper’s reporter any such thing.
Tanyanika Samuels reported in the Daily News that Autum–described as a home-schooled genius–had been admitted to UConn and would be enrolling in the fall. Samuels later published a follow up story reporting that UConn had rescinded Autum’s acceptance. In the article, Autum’s father, Batin Ashante, said the university told him that she was not “academically ready.”
When asked if he could produce a document to prove Autum was accepted to the university, Batin Ashante didn’t answer. Instead, he maintained that UConn is “closing ranks” because of the potential success of a petition, started by UConn alumna Josephine Minnow, to sway the university’s alleged decision to rescind Autum’s acceptance.
“I’m done with you and all media,” Ashante told NewsOne. “I’m saying [expletive] UConn right now.”
[Editor’s Note: To read more about this child prodigy, see the May 2006 AR issue here and scroll down to the “Black Power Poet” story.]