The Degree Mill Next Door

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by marcuscarey, May 30, 2005.

  1. marcuscarey

    marcuscarey New Member

    I have a friend of a friend that a come across from time to time. He is one of the most articulate and respectful persons I've met. I just knew he was well educated by the conversations we've had in the past. He had mentioned his undergrad school before and I thought it was like Ivy league level or something.

    I saw his credentials one day online and out of curiousity wanted to know where geographically the school was located. I couldn't believe it, it was a degree mill that has been mentioned on this site in the past. It's faker than anything going.

    Inner Voice:

    I wonder if he knows its a mill? Does it change my opinion of him? We talk about academics and he's always supported it? Dang, does he know its a mill? Should I mention anything? Is he a "victim"? Does he know its a mill?

    I'm in shock! I've seen some "Degree Mill" outings of high ranking people in goverment and in the industry. This is a shocker to have it so close and personal.

    What would you do?????
  2. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    For what does he use the degree? Have you any reason to pursue the matter?
  3. marcuscarey

    marcuscarey New Member

    Re: Re: The Degree Mill Next Door

    For the field he's in you don't really need a degree. But he is involved in a contracting situation may have educational requirments. I'd never want to put him on blast or anything. I like the guy. I want to believe he doesn't know its a mill. It could hurt him down the road if someone finds out. It could damage his reputation. I was looking at it from that point. Ideally I would want to pull him to the side and talk about. That would be a VERY awkward situation I must say.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

  5. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Being personable and articulate doesn't necessarily imply that one has technical knowlege and expertise.

    Does he know if it's a mill? Well, if it's degrees-for-dollars deal, then of course he does. But if it's an (arguably) credible non-accredited school, then maybe he really got a decent education.

    Should you mention it? That depends on how much confrontation you want. Assuming that the degree isn't defensible, I'd say that he's probably sensitive about his failure to earn a degree, so he felt that he had to go out and buy a phony one to paper it over. If you criticize him, you will be hitting him right where he hurts. He's apt to resent you for it.

    Will it change your opinion of him? Only you can answer that. If it were me, the answer would depend a great deal on what I thought of the degree and the institution that granted it. If I considered it a mill, the answer would be 'yes'. Whether or not my new opinion would lean towards compassion or contempt would depend on whether the guy was being a jerk and parading his phony degree around to demand respect. If he wasn't, I guess that I'd figure that I'd located one of his human weaknesses. We all have them.

    If I believed that his false educational claims might make him a danger to other people or to his organization, then I'd think seriously about informing others. But doing that could create trouble for you as well as for him.

    But if he isn't doing any harm, then I probably wouldn't say anything to anyone.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2005
  6. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Rich's advice is right on.

    Your friend probably knows it's a mill or at least strongly suspects it. Although there are a few diploma mills that seem to fool a lot of graduates into believing that it's a real school like Kennedy-Western University or Pacific Western University. Anyway, it would be much better for him to stop being an academic fraud. People that he comes into contact with at work may not and the general tendency, I believe, is to not mention it. Instead the person will probably tell everyone else that so-and-so is a fraud. Academic frauds can be very touchy and get very defensive when discussing their school.

    One possibility is to just point him at some links that call his school bogus, like this website or the ODA.
  7. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    ..if it really bothers you and it appears it does (as you'll be thinking about the Mill part everytime you speak to him), perhaps you can bring education up as a conversation topic and exchange stories...

    There are subtle ways to get into the topic but if he avoids it or changes the topic, he's aware of the Mill and doesn't want to talk about it.

    Frankly, however, it is his perogative to have a degree from a known mill as part of his credentials, and since he's a friend rather than a colleague, perhaps you should leave well enough alone?
  8. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    If he doesn't know -- or if he considers the school valid -- outing him may have the same effect as trying to tell a woman her boyfriend is a jerk.

    He'll get defensive, very defensive, and probably want to shoot the messenger.

    Many people are prepared to defend the Alma Mater (even if it's a mill) -- this is true of DL and B&M and is obvious from the tone of some of the posts on this board.

    If he's your friend then you do owe it to him to share your knowledge of such issues -- you're just going to have to do so very carefully. This one could start the same kind of problem as if you knew his wife was fooling around and didn't tell him.

    He'd get defensive if you did tell him (and probably be angry at you for knowing) and yet if he found out later that you let him hang on a limb when you knew... damned if you do - damned if you don't...

    See if you can get him in a discussion of diploma/degree mills and get his take. If he's fully aware then thre is no need for you to tell him. If he says "what's a diploma mill" then you may well have a chance to help your friend out and keep him from suffering later.
  9. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Re: The Degree Mill Next Door

    If possible then you might mention to him some less-than-wonderful school you've looked at. Or, perhaps, a DETC school. How you decided to go RA for the greater utility and so on. That would broach the subject and leave the rest up to him.
  10. iquagmire

    iquagmire Member

    I have two similiar scenarios that happened to me as well.

    1) I worked with an building maintenance engineer who was a virtual genius and talked the talk. He even had a side contract to do building construction of a bank for an island government. This was in 1993 and he told me that he was getting his doctorate from Columbia State University. I was immediately impressed until I found the ad for CSU in the back of the Enquirer and saw that it was a diploma mill. Did I tell him, no. I figure he knew what it was since it said you can get your entire degree for life experiences.

    2) I was managing a political campaign for a local politician last year and this person put that Bachelors degree from Almeda College. I was stunned and upset that in this day and age people are still buying and using these diplomas. I told her that there were people in the educational system that were being fired left and right for using diploma mills and she had enough experience and charisma to not even need that credential. That advice fell on deaf ears and she used it anyway.

    just thought I'd share my experiences.
  11. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    If I truly didn't know I had a degree from a mill, I would hope that my friend would tell me, if he knew.
  12. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    The former CEO of my company had a fake MBA and PhD from a mill.

    I arrived on the job right after his firing and inquired about his Doctoral degree out of curiosity.

    I was told that it was from a certain well known fake diploma mill.

    They had no idea that it was fake and didn't seem to really care.

    He was fired for reasons other than the degree.

  13. DesElms

    DesElms New Member


    This is a most ridiculous discussion; and I'm irritated by all the pussyfooting around this issue that everyone's doing here.

    Of course he knows it's a diploma mill! Let's just get that one off the table right now.

    And perhaps all you holders of impressive degrees who know that you're still the same ol' guy who puts his pants on one leg a time like everyone else; and who can so easily compartmentalize your academic lives from your everyday lives, have forgotten that people without any degrees (or who have lesser degrees) sometimes respect or admire or look-up-to -- or, at the very least, give a bit more credence to -- the thoughts/words/ideas of people who are "college educated."

    In this society -- in fact, in most societies -- a degree is (or at least can be) more than just an academic or work-required "credential;" and the argument that if the degree isn't a requirement of one's profession is just silly and inappropriate given all the other places in life that one's degree can matter in the eyes of those who may be choosing between him and others for major or minor leadership roles. To those who either don't have a degree, or who have a lower one than that of the person in question, it is a thing -- almost no matter what it's in -- which can bring to its holder a higher social standing; or which can imbue his/her words, thoughts, ideas or suggestions with a credibility which may or may not be deserved on their merits, but to which those with either no credentials or lesser credentials may defer in both work and non-work situations, social situations, town meetings, volunteer organizations, church, etc., etc., etc.

    If a person or his/her words, ideas, suggestions, etc., is/are going to be deferred to in part because of his/her degree in whatever situation, then s/he damned well better actually have said degree!

    The flame-thrower of fraud scorches landscapes, not tabletops.

    There's a reason why one's college record, both the good and the bad, is worn for life; and why a poor performance in pursuit of an incomplete degree at one (or more) college(s) is(are), nevertheless, always factored-in to one's transcript at whatever college from which one finally obtains one's degree. It's a part of a person, like the color of their skin. It speaks to such things as their discernment, discipline, character, fortitude, tenacity and integrity, just to name a few.

    This is an ethics issue, not a dance-around-it social faux pas; and one which potentially permiates all aspects of life, and not just the workplace or academe; and one that gives the reckless degree fraudster an advantage in life over others in ways and in places which are sometimes difficult to recognize and articulate, but which are, nevertheless, real and present.

    You want to show this degree fraud some kindness? Fine. Give him the opportunity to throw into the incincerator his fake diploma and the fake transcript which accompanied it (and that's, no doubt, in his desk drawer, at the ready, whenever and/or if ever he needs to show it to someone); to remove it from his resume; to stop claiming and referring to it; to correct others in the future who are obviously remembering it and giving it and/or him undue respect for it; and to, in effect, repent (though I hate the religious overtones of that word in this case) for his fraudulent behavior in any and all other appropriate and called-for ways and situations...

    ...all in exchange for your not telling everyone he knows, starting with, and including, his mother, his children, his grandchildren, his fellow church members, his employer, his neighbors, and anyone and everyone with whom you happen to know he comes into contact for any and every reason. Hell, if it were me, I'd threaten to take out a full-page at in USA Today if he didn't comply. I'd threaten an outing of the sort that would make Quinn Tyler Jackson write about it for decades!

    Whether it would mean the end of a friendship (or, more likely, a mere acquaintanceship, since I tend to pick my "friends" too carefully for any of them to end-up being a fake diploma fraudster) would be the least of my concerns!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2005
  14. Jake_A

    Jake_A New Member


    This is a tough, soul-wrenching one. Ultimately, my response would depend on the kind of person he is, not the kind of friend (he thinks) I am.

    Three scenarios (though I am sure there are many more .....):

    If he is:

    1. A pompous jerk or safety of others is an issue:

    Then I would tell him/warn him), thus agree with BillDayson: "..... would depend on whether the guy was being a jerk and parading his phony degree around to demand respect."

    2. An unknowing "victim," not a flagrant co-conspirator"

    Then I would agree with decimon to: ".... If possible then you might mention to him some less-than-wonderful school you've looked at. Or, perhaps, a DETC school. How you decided to go RA for the greater utility and so on. That would broach the subject and leave the rest up to him."

    3. A jewel of a human being or a Mother Teresa through-and-through:

    Then I would agree with BlueMason that "... since he's a friend rather than a colleague, perhaps you should leave well enough alone?"

    Somehow, I am apt to agree with Dr. Richard Douglas when he surmises that "...... Of course he does" know that his degree is from a mill or a substandard, un-wonderful school.

    Pray/meditate for him .... and for you, too ... that both of you end up doing the right thing. It does not hurt to, at least, try.

    Wish you well.

  15. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Oy.

    I wouldn't be so sure. The original poster hasn't identified the school, so "faker than anything" is wide-open to interpretation. It could be Kennedy-Western or some other school that does require some work, so maybe the person does think it's legitimate?

    Without knowing which school it is, I'll withold comment as to what I'd do.
  16. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Maybe he thinks there's nothing wrong with it; that you get away with what you can. That everyone gets away with what they can. Bruce is probably familiar with that mentality ( I mean the criminals, Bruce :) ).

    Maybe he sees it as merely some pro forma testament to his knowledge. Ya never know.
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Double-check the school

    Note also that diploma mills are known for selecting names that are confusingly similar to those of legitimate institutions. For example, "Hamilton University" vs. "Hamilton College", "James Madison University" vs. "Madison University", "Century University' vs. "Century College", "Columbus State University" vs. "Columbia State University", "Excelsior University" vs. "Excelsior College", etc. etc.

    Are you absolutely certain that your friend has a degree from a bogus school -- and not from a legitimate school that has unfortunately been copied by a similar-sounding bogus school? It's very easy to be confused.
  18. marcuscarey

    marcuscarey New Member

  19. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Re: More Info

    Ah, yes... one of the real stinkers.

    I stand by every word of my earlier posting herein... in fact, even more so now.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    No listed faculty. Fake accreditation. No curricula listed. No physical address. (Says it has "several mailing options in the US for your convenience.") No legal authority to operate. Have given itself the right to award degrees. Provides a "verification" service. Co-opts the name of a legitimate school (University of Hartford).

    Oh, no, no degree mill here....:rolleyes: (Of course, this is the kind of "school" that would get the "if it's good enough for you, what's the problem?" treatment at Degreeinformation DL. :cool:

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