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These two headlines, from the New York Times and The Gothamist, give you a sense of how the mainstream and non-mainstream press are framing this one, an expansion of the Cecilia Chang story [earlier charges against her here].

As the dean of the Institute of Asian Studies at St. John’s, Ms. Chang had the authority to grant 15 scholarships a year. The recipients, most of whom were from overseas, were told they had to work 20 hours a week under her supervision.

The students thought they would be doing work related to the university. Instead, according to the prosecutors, she forced them to perform menial tasks at her home in Jamaica Estates, Queens.

She’s been charged with forced labor and bribery. On top of embezzling.

Slave does seem a bit over the top, though it’s possible yet more lurid coercions and uses could emerge…

St John’s, a Catholic institution, does need to do some thinking. Its 2008 Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award winner is on trial for fraud and bribery; one of its vice-presidents turns out to be – allegedly – quite a monster. She did her thing for years, unimpeded.

Asleep at the wheel is the phrase that comes to mind.

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