A MAN WHO fabricated his academic record and swindled Princeton University out of a $22,000 scholarship pleaded guilty to theft by deception and could spend up to nine months in prison.
Then again, he may not. New Jersey prosecutors, who were irate about the swindle, dropped charges of forgery and falsifying records against James A. Hogue, 32, under a plea bargain.
Hogue had outfoxed Princeton. He entered the school in 1989, calling himself Alexi Indris-Santana. He had claimed to be a self-educated Utah ranch hand. University officials said
interviews, documents and his youthful appearance seemed to support his story. They don't get many applicants like that. It probably fit in with the university's push for diversity in its student body.
Last year, however, local police, acting on a tip, pulled Hogue (Indris-Santana) out of class to answer a Utah warrant for jumping parole after serving six months for stealing racing bicycles. The university has expelled Hogue. The prosecutor said New Jersey would recommend five years' probation, no more than 270 days in prison, 100 hours of community service and restitution.
But maybe the university should reconsider its expulsion. Anyone smart enough to fast-talk his way into a high-falutin' school might just be smart enough to stay in. It could add true diversity to the academic scene, too.
* * * STREETCARS WILL return to Baltimore this spring after an absence of 28 years. We mark this momentous event by reprinting an 1873 poem from Towson's Maryland Journal. Credited to the "Bard of Waverly," it was penned in honor of the horse cars of that era:
Tinkle, tinkle, little car
How I wonder there you are!
Be you far, or be you nigh,
There are you and here am I.
All along the dusty road,
Past the gate of my abode,
You go up, and you go down --
Baltimore and Towsontown.
Good conductor from afar,
Sees me stand and stops the car,
Greets me with a friendly grin,
Takes my hand and helps me in.
What a noble man was he,
Built this pretty car for me!
Not to call him great and good,
Would be base ingratitude.
* * * FOR WOULD-BE car buyers who want to "Buy American" and worry their Chryslers, Dodges and Chevrolets may be made in Japan, here's a solution: "Buy Baltimore." The minivans built exclusively at the General Motors plant on Broening Highway are made in Maryland by Marylanders for the whole wide world. These GMC Safaris and Chevrolet Astros have been hot market items since their debut and should satisfy any American's chauvinistic urges.