Time bomb goes off in Oregon

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by John Bear, Feb 3, 2001.

  1. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    The following is part of an article from The Oregonian. It is clear from the article that Oregon can actually file criminal charges against people who use degrees from places not approved by their Office of Degree Authorization (and those specifically include, according to the list at www.osac.state.or.us/oda places like Kennedy-Western, Berne, California Coast, and Rushmore.
    Diploma mill degree sinks DEQ finalist

    Coast Guard Capt. Mike Hall withdraws his application to lead the state environmental agency

    By Jonathan Brinckman of The Oregonian staff

    U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mike Hall, one of three final candidates to head Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality, withdrew from consideration Wednesday following the disclosure that his bachelor's degree was from a defunct diploma mill that never had accreditation.

    Hall's bachelor of arts degree in sociology, listed on his resume and issued in 1975 by Northwestern College of Springfield, Mo., "is a worthless piece of paper," said Alan Contreras, who checked on Hall's degrees for DEQ commissioners as they close in on their final choice.

    Presenting a degree from a nonaccredited institution in a job application is against Oregon state law, said Contreras, who serves as administrator of Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization. But he did not plan to ask the attorney general's office to bring criminal charges against Hall.

    "We don't have any reason to believe that Mr. Hall was intentionally trying to use an illegal degree to scam somebody," Contreras said. "He probably just didn't know what the law here is."
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Concerning various school's acceptance in Oregon, I corresponded with Alan Contreras, administrator of Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization, concerning Potchefstroom University in South Africa. He stated that a degree from PU was recognized, legitimate and valid. Just a note on how foreign degrees (GAAP) are viewed in the states. Also, University of Texas-Austin registrar,
    Robert Watkins, stated that a PU degree would be recognized by UTA as equal to a RA degree.

    I am currently enrolled in a Ph.D. in practical theology program at PU, which is offered via their accredited UK institution, Greenwich School of Theology. Tom Head is also planning to enroll.

    Thanks to Dr. Bear for recommending the program, who called it a "splendid opportunity" to earn a credible Ph.D.
  3. blahetka

    blahetka New Member

    Is the illegality of using an unaccredited degree in a job application only for public sector positions? I would be surprised if they could make something like that stick in the private sector.
  4. Jeffrey Levine

    Jeffrey Levine New Member

    I believe a few years ago, Florida made it a crime to use the title "doctor" if the degree was earned from an unaccredited school. For example, even people who graduated from a California State approved school and who successfully sat for the CA licensing exam in, say, psychology could not use the title "doctor". This would be true whether or not the individual was or was not providing mental health services under a FL license. As I understand it, that person could not use the title at all, so I would assume they could not list it in a resume without a disqualifier.

    I do not know whether or not the law was altered or modified.


  5. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I can't imagine how a law like that would be enforced. Many people are hired informally, by friends or on the recommendations of acquaintances.

    What if you are at a party and you use a phony degree to puff yourself up. Are you committing a crime if others are impressed? What if someone offers you a job?

    My guess is that this is basically on the books for civil actions. In a lawsuit where a person's qualifications were an issue, from wrongful termination to fraud, there would be no need to prove that the person's degree was illegitimate as that would already have been established by law. Hence there would be no need to fly in Dr. Bear as an expert witness.
  6. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Jeffrey Levine wrote, regarding Florida's law banning use of unapproved degrees, <<I do not know whether or not the law was altered or modified.>>

    As I mention in the "State Laws" chapter of Bears' Guide, the 1988 Florida statude 817.566-7 was found unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in 1995. Although the court suggested that they agreed with the principles, they felt it was not written well, and invited a resubmission which, as far as I know, has not happened.

    John Bear http://www.degree.net
  7. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    My understanding as explained to me on a newsgroup by persons that claimed to be lawyers was that it was unenforcible.

    The problem with it was that the law stated flat out that you could not claim a PhD unless it was earned from an accredited school. There are legal unaccredited schools that offer real PhD's therefore the law was held to be unconstitutional in that it went too far. The justices went on to state that they felt the intent of the law was valid and would hold up in court but that one portion would have to be rewritten.

    I'm not a lawyer so keep that in mind.
  8. SPorter

    SPorter New Member

    Perhaps a case could be made that it violates the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution (Article IV)?

    If the state of California, eg, by law authorizes a school to award a Ph.D., the laws of another state should not be able to contradict that.

    Just a thought from another non-lawyer. [​IMG]

  9. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

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