Another Degree Faker Forgets the “Below the Radar” Rule.

As UD has long noted on this blog, if you’ve bought your diploma(s) from a diploma mill, or if you’ve forged your diplomas, you stand a chance of getting away with it if and only if you content yourself with a middling sort of place in the world. The minute you begin to rise, people start checking your credentials. If you want to go undetected, you must figure out a way to avoid or reject any career event that will make you an object of bureaucratic interest.

And yes, I’ve got a current example.

One Kimberly Kitchen practiced a little estate law out in the boonies for years without attracting any attention. Unfortunately, she did it so well that her firm decided to make her partner. The people reviewing her noticed certain, er, discrepancies in her paperwork, and began looking further.

According to her resumé, she graduated summa cum laude from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh and had taught trust and taxation law at the Columbia University School of Law.

But the state attorney general’s office and a criminal complaint say none of her credentials hold up. Kitchen allegedly forged numerous documents attesting that she was a licensed attorney, including an attorney’s license for 2014, supposed bar examination results, supposed records of her law school attendance and a check purporting to show she’d paid her registration fees.

A forger’s work is never done. But Kitchen could have stayed in Permanent Forge mode for many more years were it not for her apparently unblockable worldly success. That’s what did her in.

Here at University Diaries, we don’t cover diploma mill grads unless these people are outstanding, extensive, users of diploma mills…

… and unless these same people have achieved high-level jobs in education and related fields.

Cindy Holguin, CEO of a New Mexico charter school, seems more than amply to fit the bill:

Holguin is … fighting back against allegations regarding her qualifications to lead the school as CEO.

[D]egrees held by Holguin from Belford University, … a proven diploma scam, [are] invalid and did not meet standards set by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Holguin told the Current-Argus the only degree she used in applying for her position was an associate’s degree obtained from the Carlsbad campus of New Mexico State University in 1995.

The university was unable to find a record of that degree when requested by the Current-Argus.

In addition, Holguin said she has an MBA from New York State University Online from 2007.

Holguin said she would not cite her degrees from Belford University, saying those were not degrees she was “proud of.”

The I didn’t cite them or We didn’t use them in assessing her qualifications for the job are classic diploma mill-revelation moves… Yes, yes, she got two PhDs from East Ipswich Institute of Holistic Theology… But those are totally irrelevant to her work as superintendent of schools, so they don’t count… I got those degrees when I was a single mother subsisting on dog food and I was desperate…

But Holguin, if these reports are accurate, goes way beyond that. According to my count, she’s got at least four degrees, and it’s possible that none of them exists. I’ve never heard of New York State University Online. New Mexico State University has never heard of Cindy Holguin. And for all we know, there are several other degrees she’s not proud of and doesn’t list for certain jobs…

This is one of the most impressive diploma mill hauls UD has seen, and she’s seen a lot. She has speculated on this blog before about how this happens – how you accumulate not one or two but four or five bogus degrees. Her theory is that once you enter the twilight zone, the outer limits, of university degrees, you are in danger of being lured even deeper into the universe. Why stop at Calaspia when you can take your spaceship to Deltora and then Eternia?

“I think I do a fantastic job,” Ferraina said when asked about his $245,000 salary; he took home more than $600,000 in additional income over a decade of service — payouts for unused sick and vacation days. “I don’t apologize for what I make.”

Women could learn a lot from guys like these. The Jersey Honors List includes an old familiar face around here – James Wasser, diploma mill grad par excellence – but it’s good to get acquainted with his fellow scholars.

In the old days, this blog used to cover a lot of diploma mill stories.

For whatever reason (no really big stories? you’ve seen one you’ve seen ‘em all?), University Diaries doesn’t do much of that anymore. But the business of buying degrees online, or just saving money and making them up out of thin air, continues to thrive. Local blowhard politicians – like this guy in California – remain a rich source.

Accepted to Cornell at age 16. A Ph.D. by age 21. A degree from UCLA Law School and membership to the state bar.

I sat down with him at his restaurant and presented evidence that he’d never attended those schools or passed the bar. He brushed my findings aside, stuck to his claims and a couple weeks later even posted online what appeared to be his Ph.D. from Cornell. … [T]he signatures of the dean and president weren’t those of anybody who’d ever been dean or president at Cornell.

For-Profit Education in America: It’s exactly like a sausage.

Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit online school that has been under scrutiny for what Mr. Miller, the Iowa attorney general, called “unconscionable sales practices,” turned to [a lobbying firm] to set up meetings with [Florida Attorney General Pam] Bondi’s staff, to urge her not to join in the inquiries underway in several states. Again, her office decided not to take up the matter, citing the small number of complaints about Bridgepoint it has received.

You do not want to know what goes into it.

‘What benefit to administrators, faculty, staff and students could possibly be derived by the sullying of what is left of Chicago State’s “reputation”?’

This blog has followed the ever-tanking fortunes of dropout factory Chicago State University forever. So scandalous is this joint that its faculty have begged for the entire board of trustees to be dumped.

Faculty members have also started a great blog, Crony State University, where the endless degradations of life under a North Korean style dictatorship are chronicled.

One of many similarities between CSU and the DPRK is their shared belief that their university/country is the best in the universe, that life there is glorious, that other universities/countries look enviously upon their magnificence and seek to emulate them, etc.

This attitude makes the troubling persistence of internal dissidents an unendurable insult to the Mothercampus. The dissidents (as one of the CSU blog writers – attempting to respond rationally to the charge of sullying – notes in my headline) must be publicly shamed. They cannot be allowed to continue making slanderous statements such as this:

[B]y the end of [CSU’s latest] disastrous presidency in 2016, the school’s enrollment should decline to around 4,000. Obviously, the question of how long the state will allow Chicago State to exist as it hemorrhages students is one that all of us should consider.

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Today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed (UD thanks a reader for forwarding this) (oh, and you need to have a subscription to read the article in full) takes note of the the latest hilarity at CSU: The trustees have closed the faculty senate.

That’s it. Out of business. Shut the fuck up forever.

Onward, brilliant peace-loving masses of CSU!

“No matter what the football rankings show, FSU is far from No. 1 in Florida.”

Shocking. Wins on the field, we’re always told, translate into wins at the admissions office… Yet in one of our most educationally pathetic states, Florida State University is the worst of the lot…

So what they need as president is a man who, as FSU board chair, pushed for a chiropractic school there (he was shouted down by legitimate scientists), and who has been a pretty routine pretty corrupt politician for America’s most corrupt state.

John Thrasher has now been elected president of Florida State University. When he was one of the finalists, he met with students.

Asked about evolution, Sen. Thrasher talked about his religious beliefs, saying: “I have a great faith in my life that has guided me in my life in a lot of things I believe in.” The implication is that science and faith cannot co-exist.

Sen. Thrasher also declined to give a specific answer when asked about the science behind climate change, and then threatened to walk out of the room when two students giggled at his answers…

You and I know that the most important problem with Thrasher’s answer isn’t that, at a university, he refuses to discuss (is incapable of discussing?) evolution and climate change. It’s that any institution that thinks someone who can barely speak English should be its president needs to have its head examined.

“Brian Haas, the chief assistant state attorney, said the State Attorney’s Office received a complaint about the professor’s academic claims as the result of a separate dispute in Palm Beach County over coins Broxterman sold to a collector.”

Once a fraudster, always a fraudster. For some people it’s a way of life. It’s the way they roll.

As with that subset of fraud we routinely cover on this blog – plagiarism – the danger in being a fraud is that you will eventually get caught because you keep doing it, and each time you do it you run the risk that someone’s going to figure out what you’re doing.

David Broxterman, ex-business professor at Polk State University, appears to be a case in point. Like Mathew Martoma, Broxterman allegedly stitched together official university materials and got his job at Polk based on them. He’s been teaching there for five years, snug as a rat in a rug. But then he went and (allegedly) defrauded someone else – a coin collector – who complained to the attorney general, who turned around and asked Polk to reexamine Broxterman’s papers.

Broxterman will possibly have to pay back his years of salary. He might also go to jail.

But the real problem here lies with Polk. Apparently Broxterman’s stitched together materials were laughably amateurish. Any idiot should have been able to detect the fraud.

‘[Llorenç] Huguet said criticism about the procedures followed in granting [an honorary doctorate] to the 27-year-old tennis star from the city of Manacor really “masked” the real reason opponents did not want him to receive the honor. The UIB president, however, declined to comment further on why there was opposition to [Rafael] Nadal being honored with the doctorate.’

Nadal has turned down the University of the Balearic Islands doctorate because of the murky controversy to which its angry president alludes.

What possible basis could there be for a faculty and student body hesitating to award an honorary doctorate to a 27 year old who “left conventional schooling after he turned pro at 15″, and who is famous for “his habit of biting the trophies” he wins?

In the tawdry, Orwellian land of diploma mill graduates…

… everything’s topsy-turvy. The spokesperson for a Los Angeles school board candidate who boasts a degree from “America World University” says the city’s “children deserve better.” He doesn’t mean they deserve better than a bogus PhD holder in charge of their education. He means they deserve better than to live in a district where people have the gall to point out that someone who wants to be in charge of their education has a bogus PhD.

And not just a bogus PhD. On her cv, the candidate renders America World University American University. Classic diploma mill holder move. Mess with the name a little and everything comes out all right.

EKSPRES DOKTORATURA 3 MIN.

Bravo, students at Pristina U. The place is run by unspeakable hacks, and you’re doing something about it.

All UD can do from here is pay attention to you, write about you, and of course write a limerick.

There’s the sort of research that is splashy.
There’s the sort of research that is trashy.
But if you want to go
To the lowest of low
Then you need to read Ibrahim Gashi.

For details on where the hack got his stuff published, go here.

A diploma mill grad representing a district whose major presence is a university…

… would definitely be weird and embarrassing, but this is America, where anything is possible.

On the other hand, this is also the land of evil elites who might try to deny bogus degree-holders the right to represent legitimate universities in state politics…

Carol Ammons is running in Illinois to be the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives in the 103rd District, home of the University of Illinois. Ammons is quite sure all this talk about her Walsingham University degree being bogus amounts to “the elites” smearing her for being a woman of the people, but so far, try as he might, Erik Jakobsson has not been able to find any evidence that Walsingham is anything other than a scam.

“When I thought about the relationship between what she had done and the possibility that she would represent the district that has Parkland College and the University of Illinois in it, that seemed to me to transcend politics as usual,” he said.

… “One of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is because I’ve spent my whole career at the university, and diploma mills totally undercut and undermine and devalue what real institutions of higher education do, like Parkland and the University of Illinois. We just can’t have someone in Springfield who doesn’t value that.”

Lie La Lie, Lie La Lie Lie Lie Lie Lie, Lie La Lie…

… is the chorus to Paul Simon’s The Boxer; it’s also how the University of North Carolina is responding to reports that some of its highest-profile, most-celebrated athletes over the years have been illiterate, or semi-literate. In the wake of the Nyang-oro scandal, UNC’s chancellor ran away; its faculty lay low (which is what faculty at sports factories almost always do); and the school shoved its admissions director onstage to lie for it.

[W]e do not admit students who we believe cannot read or write.

UD is quoted on the subject of diploma mills…

… in this article about a fake PhD who gets paid handsomely — on the basis of his pretend degree — to fuck up people’s lives in South Dakota.

“Amazingly, this place continues to be accredited by the state of California, meaning students there are eligible for federal loans.”

Paul Campos, one of this blog’s heroes, takes note of Southern California Institute of Law (bar pass rate 2012: zero), a shining example of what you get when your state bar will accredit anything.

SCIL has, understandably, sued the bar association for making it post pass rates on its website.

Its complaint also complains about a new requirement that accredited California schools maintain a pass rate of at least forty percent.

Think about it. Your tax money pays for SCIL student loans.

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UD thanks Jeremy.

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