A defacto bodyguard lived at Princeton with Griff Harsh to assuage the kidnapping fears of his mom, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, according to a longtime Gawker commenter close to the university. And the rich kid's suspension? Probably academic.

As we reported last night, Harsh — full name Griff Harsh V — was forced to withdraw from the university for a year, moving from the class of 2008 to the 2009 (thus presumably graduating last May. (The Daily Princetonian's seems to confirm the timing; the campus paper last year said ID'd him as a member of the class of 2008 but in January this year ran a correction saying he's really in the class of 2009.)

Our tipster, who lives in Princeton, NJ and says he knows the university well, says that the suspension appears academic, given Harsh's reputation as a not-so-bright legacy.

The Whitman kid does sound more like a boor than a bright light, given the party antics described in a campus magazine, which had the heir bragging that his wealth protected him from obnoxious behavior.

But the heir may have another reason for his brashness: According to our tipster, the university assigned one of the toughest guys on campus to be his roommate, the lacrosse-playing son of a New Jersey real estate developer.

The bodyguard roomie was probably the doing of Momma Whitman, who is very concerned Griff might be kidnapped, our tipster claims. Having donated at least $30 million to the university, she wouldn't have much trouble wielding influence with the housing office. Her fears would also help explain why we haven't been able to find any pics of her son on the internet, save for the tiny thumbnail above.

Genuine or not, Whitman's protectiveness over her son provides a ready-made excuse to avoid all discussion of and appearances with him on the campaign trail. Whitman can hardly be expected to answer questions about hearings and suspensions when she's trying to prevent an honest-to-God kidnapping, right? If only the Republican had some similar excuse to avoid answering questions about gay marriage rights.