Kurt Mitman, the Economics graduate student who took a leave of absence from Penn last January when his academic-release privileges from a Bucks County prison were revoked, has resumed classes after having been paroled in September.
"He's back in his graduate program," said University spokeswoman Phyllis Holtzman. "He requested reinstatement from the Economics department and that was accepted."
Mitman was convicted in 2005 of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old boy and was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison.
He was granted academic release and was admitted to Penn's Economics department, commuting daily from the Bucks County facility.
"I thought that was the best use of my time," said Mitman, who had been studying the use of condensed-matter physics principles as a tool for modeling financial markets as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University before his conviction.
"Penn is a great school . so that was really appealing to me," he said.
Mitman will now have to meet behavioral standards set by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, as well as internal University conditions.
He will not be serving as a teaching assistant nor living in campus housing, Holtzman said. She did not disclose other restrictions for privacy reasons.
The transition back to academic life has been uneventful, Mitman said.
"I'm thankful that I have supportive friends . [who have] helped me reintegrate into the program," he said, adding that he has accepted "full responsibility" for his past actions.
Provost Ron Daniels said the University felt it was appropriate to grant Mitman's request for reinstatement.
"People deserve a second chance," Daniels said. "Imposing additional sanctions on parolees after they have served their time ... will only keep them marginalized from society and increase the risk of repeated crimes."
Mitman said he looks forward to resuming his studies.
"I'm really thankful to the University for giving me the opportunity to return and to pursue my education," he said.
At the time Mitman applied, the graduate student application did not ask about criminal background, and the University was not aware of Mitman's criminal record when he was accepted.
However, since the University discovered Mitman's status last January, Penn has reviewed both its faculty and staff hiring procedures and student-admissions processes.
A self-disclosure question about criminal background is now on the student application form.Comments powered by Disqus
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