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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Kevin Crane is an inappropriate commencement speaker

By Michelle Howard
May 16, 2013 | 12:18 p.m. CDT

An open letter to Dean O'Brien of the College of Arts and Sciences about his decision to allow Kevin Crane to speak at commencement.

I am a 2010 graduate of the MU College of Arts and Sciences. I am active in the alumni association, so far as representing the university at the Legislative Day in April. There are not enough words to illustrate how disgusted I am by your decision to allow Kevin Crane to speak at commencement. Kevin Crane is a monster. I believe he is single-handedly responsible for keeping an innocent man, Ryan Ferguson, behind bars.

I assume you must have lived oblivious to more than 10 years of legal proceedings based on your decision. Ryan was a Columbia resident who was convicted of the murder of Kent Heitholt, who was a sports writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune, with no physical evidence and a case I believe was built on lies. There was no murder weapon and no DNA. Ryan has been sitting in the Jefferson City Correctional Center since October of 2005. I cannot tell you how angry it makes me every time I go to mail Ryan a letter and have to write “No More Victims Road” on the envelope. I believe Ryan did not murder Kent Heitholt. Ryan never hurt anyone. Ryan was a teenager living his life, exploring everything the world had to offer when had his life turned upside down by a lying “friend” and a crooked lawyer.

MU’s support of Kevin Crane is sickening and heartbreaking. As an alum myself and the child of two MU alums, I have always been incredibly proud to show my black and gold spirit. Not anymore. MU is no longer a school I am proud to represent or support, and I will not in any way. Ryan has thousands of supporters, in Missouri and across the world. I can only hope that enrollment at MU will be affected by the university’s clear lack of judgement, research and integrity.

Outside of the Journalism School it reads, “Wise Shall Be The Bearers Of Light.” For the first time in my life, I believe that no longer applies to MU.

I hope the university will more carefully consider decisions in the future.

Michelle Howard is a graduate of Arts and Sciences and has been supporting Ryan Ferguson since 2005.