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Kent State's About-Face

The school reinstates two students, but won't say why.

Last spring, after hearings fraught with more protests than the 2000 presidential election, Kent State Judicial Affairs expelled Malik Griffin and Tyrone Wright from the university.

Campus officials ruled that Wright had violated his probation when he allegedly told a security guard to "fuck off."

In April, Griffin was accused of maliciously hitting another student with his car, leading officials to claim that he was a potential felon and therefore dangerous to other students.

But black students contend that the two didn't get a fair shake. For one, the security guard who reported Wright never approached the student or asked for his ID. There was no way he could definitively know that Wright screamed the expletive. Moreover, Griffin's accuser didn't even show up at the hearing to testify.

Black student groups called the rulings "racist" and rallied in front of the president's office, demanding the students' reinstatement. They heard nothing back.

But last month, Kent State officials sent Malik and Griffin a one-paragraph letter, offering them reinstatement. Administrators didn't apologize or offer any explanation for their change of heart. Nor did they respond to numerous interview requests from Scene, apparently believing that stonewalling might lead to better jobs at the Cleveland schools.

"I got pissed off looking at the length of the letter and threw it away," says Wright. "I feel cheated and insulted."

He won't be returning to Kent this fall.

"I did have thoughts about going back," he says. "I owe it to people who protested for me to go back . . . But I know that if I so much as sneeze the wrong way, they'll kick me out again."

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