Duluth News Tribune | 10/01/2005 | Swenson wants to offer scholarships to vandals
James I. Swenson, chief financial backer of University of Minnesota Duluth's new science building, says he is turning the other cheek. Swenson said he and UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin have talked about offering the vandals, who caused $8 million in damages to the new science building November, scholarships to the university. Swenson said the idea is to give the young men a tour of the science building, let them talk with some students and then offer them some incentive to get their lives in order. The juveniles have pleaded guilty to felonies: first-degree criminal damage to property, and burglary charges ranging from first to fourth degree. They have been sentenced to time at Woodland Hills residential treatment center, community service, and were ordered to pay a total of $233,258 in restitution. They are also banned from the UMD campus unless accompanied by someone from Woodland Hills. While the boys still have several years to go before they reach college age, "actions like this mean we are offering these young men a chance to be better people," said Emily Gaarder, assistant professor of sociology at UMD. "The community is giving them a chance to succeed."