UConn Says Bronx Prodigy Autum Ashante Was Never Accepted

Controversy's brewing over who's telling the truth. Did a reporter leave out critical information from the story? Or did the girl's father make the whole thing up?

By Jorge Rivas Jul 25, 2011

Last week, the New York Daily News published a story titled "Move over, Doogie Howser, 13-year-old Bronx girl heading to college" that profiled Autum Ashante, a home-schooled child prodigy from the Bronx who was headed to the University of Connecticut. The story made headlines when the Daily News reported Ashante’s admission to UConn had been rescinded.

But the spokesperson cited by the paper as having confirmed Autum’s acceptance, Richard Veilleux, tells NewsOne that he never told the paper’s reporter any such thing. 

"She applied, and her application was denied. It was not accepted. Nothing was ‘rescinded,’" Michael Kirk from UConn’s communications office wrote in an email to NewsOne.

Now controversy is brewing over who’s telling the truth: did the Daily News reporter leave out critical quotes from UConn’s communications office? Ashante’s father and the Daily News are standing by their statements.

The paper’s director of communications, Jennifer Mauer, told NewsOne that it "stands by the original story," and that Veilleux did indeed confirm Autum’s acceptance to Samuels.

NewsOne reported that they asked Ashante’s father if he could produce any records of his daughter’s acceptance to the university, but he didn’t respond with a direct answer.

"I’m done with you and all media," Mr. Ashante told NewsOne. "I’m saying [expletive] UConn right now."

He suggests UConn is "closing ranks" because of the potential success of a petition, started by UConn alumna Josephine Minnow, to pressure the university to admit Ashante in to the University this coming fall.