Patterico's Pontifications

6/18/2010

Resume Fraud

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A top administrator at Texas A&M University has resigned following disclosures about his resume.

This seems to be happening more, especially in higher education, although it could be that these stories are just getting more press. If it is more common, is resignation the solution or should something more be done?

— DRJ

27 Responses to “Resume Fraud”

  1. It is certainly a comment on those credentials. In medicine, we call it “the placebo effect.” They thought he had all those degrees and experience so they thought he was doing a good job. Then they found out that the degrees were bogus and they realized that he hadn’t been doing a good job after all.

    Mike K (8df289)

  2. Q: What do you do when an Aggie sends you a resume?

    A: Nothing

    —–

    In this case, he’s actually claimed to be a SEAL. Why would someone lie like that? If you’re able bodied, you can join the Guard and people will respect you plenty. What kind of deficit did this man feel that he couldn’t fix without being a freaking supercommando?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  3. I may not be the Secretary of State but I stayed in a hotel that Hillary Clinton once visited.

    That’s good enough, right?

    jakee308 (ace517)

  4. Were in in Delta Force, Jakee?

    I was a cybernetic ninja for the CIA. Damn Charlie in the trees.

    I think a Stolen Valor prosecution makes sense, because he pocketed a ton of money with his lies. It’s hard to say he should pay TAMU money if they were OK with his performance. But perhaps they should hire someone with far less credentials at a far lower salary.

    I think most Texas Universities are trying to cut their budgets by a couple percent for Rick Perry, so this would save a few jobs.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. OT, but I want to know why (even) the top adviser to A&M’s president makes 300 large.

    Mitch (890cbf)

  6. DRJ, the problem here is that the person is done, after the truth becomes known. Oh sure, the claim can be made that they can fool someone else, but that generally doesn’t happen.

    It’s a form of mental illness, I think, to lie that way. You will get caught, and then you have nothing. What do you say to your next employer?

    It’s all nerdish, but here is a horrifying example from science:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,953258,00.html

    I remember this happening, while I was an undergraduate.

    No one doubted that Spector had real lab skills. But he was done. In fact, no one I have talked to knows what happened to him after the disclosure.

    To be sure, Racker should have done his job as lab boss and mentor. But Racker wasn’t the person making up data.

    So such fraud—at the lab bench or with the resume—must be some weird form of mental illness.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  7. Doesn’t anybody do a degree search on a candidate for a job before they’re hired?

    Socratease (e8c4e1)

  8. If it is more common, is resignation the solution or should something more be done?

    A trip to The Catherine Wheel or The Rack would be appropriate. I’ll even go so far as to go with something a little less tortuous, like cutting out their tongues.

    RickZ (41d0ce)

  9. Socratease: they normally do. At least, in the job searches I have been involved with on either side. The problem becomes asking for transcripts (as a way of “seeing” the diplomas).

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  10. Doesn’t anybody do a degree search on a candidate for a job before they’re hired?

    Most businesses do these days – they also do credit checks often (I’m not comfortable with that new protocol). But apparently, the political and academic communites have yet to catch up – shame on them.

    Dmac (3d61d9)

  11. “citing a desire to spend more time with his family,”

    OMG, they still use that one?

    cassandra (6e562f)

  12. Mitch,

    “OT, but I want to know why (even) the top adviser to A&M’s president makes 300 large.”

    Good question – especially since I’ve been paying the tuition for two aggies (one just graduated, though). And, Dustin, he has a job.

    SER (2e5281)

  13. Eric,

    I realize his academic career is over but what about the person who would have gotten his job if his resume had been accurate? That person’s career was presumably damaged because s/he never had a chance. That’s why I wonder if something more is warranted, especially since the possibility of being found out apparently hasn’t stopped this from happening.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  14. Congrats to you and your employed Aggie, SER. I hope it’s a Texas job.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  15. Doesn’t anybody do a degree search on a candidate for a job before they’re hired?

    Not even for Presidential candidates which we are now paying the price for…

    Gazzer (d79016)

  16. he should be prosecuted for some type of embezzelment. what he did was no different than any other type of fraud. 300k a year might lead to a pretty stiff sentence.

    BradnSA (ddf75a)

  17. Heh!

    nk (db4a41)

  18. Wonder how they found him out. Guess they maybe did a background check for his promotion, tho’ not his hiring?

    And EB, this fella has a moral, not mental illness.

    ManlyDad (060305)

  19. haiku in Guam
    hide in cave twenty eight year
    they give me Datsun

    ColonelHaiku (2ce3dc)

  20. May I say, as a graduate of this fine university, that this really p***, I mean makes me upset.

    It’s not because I loved my time at the school. It’s not because of the valuable education I received, because of the hard work and toil of my parents.

    It’s not because of the fine people who have graduated and contribute much to this society. It’s not even because of the insult that this represents to the fine officers my school has provided to our armed forces.

    It makes me mad because a university that is competing to attract and graduate the finest in the state and the nation can not vet a top administrator’s qualifications.

    Unfortunately, that indicates to me that something is institutionally corrupt.

    When I was in college, many years ago, we had a code of conduct. It’s called the Aggie Honor Code. It’s simple:

    “An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do.”

    How can an Aggie honor that code when the administration doesn’t even take the time to assure administrators work and live by it?

    Ag80 (1b8eea)

  21. “And, Dustin, he has a job.

    Comment by SER — 6/18/2010 @ 4:09 pm ”

    Good for him, and not surprising. I like to give Aggies a hard time, and this is a nice chance to do so, but that’s a very strong school with a lot of non-bull majors like engineering and agriculture.

    Congrats.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  22. O say Repubs make
    life harder for the jobless
    who he think he kid?

    ColonelHaiku (2ce3dc)

  23. Let me have shot at that job.I have three degrees
    from two flagship universities. I am a product of parents without high school educations and I am not a bomb throwing radical ala Bill Ayres. Thirty-seven years at one place-now that’s stability.Bring it on,Bubba.

    Everett (3f09be)

  24. Everett….Obviously over qualified!

    AD - RtR/OS! (4ae013)

  25. It’s not that these people are not vetted or that the university doesn’t know how to vet — it’s that they are friends of the people doing the hiring; therefore: no vetting allowed.

    I, too, would like to see some criminal prosecutions when this happens. But maybe we need a new federal law or something, to tell law enforcement that taxpayers are fed up paying out millions in salaries and benefits in state universities (and K-12 public school districts, by the way, where this happens even more often).

    The jobs are usually not even advertised. So, the position opens, or is created, no one else has the opportunity to apply; and, the friend, who is not vetted, gets in, without any qualifications.

    It is no surprise to those who hired him that he did not have a doctorate, did not have a Masters, and was not a Navy SEAL.

    It is very upsetting to me just how often this happens.

    The women’s groups should be up in arms, filing lawsuits everytime it happens, because women are not allowed to compete for these jobs.

    The blacks and other minorities should also be up in arms when this happens, because highly qualified minorities are not allowed to apply or compete when this happens.

    And, while males, who are qualified, should also be up in arms, because this is like reverse discrimination: if you have the qualifications; you are not eligible for the job.

    Because the only actual qualification becomes: your friendship with the hiring authority.

    Kudos to this small local newwspaper, the Eagle, for digging and publishing this article.

    Most local newspaper reporters do not recognize this type of story is of great interest to taxpayers and voters, do not go after these stories, and are too intimidated by the high level titles of these high level frauds to ask any questions in the first place.

    I have no doubt there are thousands of these kind of frauds employed in 6-figure jobs throughout higher ed and K-12 public education.

    And, the real tragedy is not just that they are getting away with the theft of taxpayer money by false pretenses, but that the qualified people who work so hard in school — whether women, minority men and women, or white males who are qualified — are out of luck.

    Hard work and qualifications count for squat in education. It’s who you know.

    Then, you just lie your *ss off re your qualifications.

    That’s the sad truth.

    Local reporters are our only hope. Maybe someday more will wake up.

    an observer (300145)

  26. PS I should add, that’s the process by which this fraud happens in K-12. In higher ed, as in this matter, they did solicit other candidates, but in the end, the pal was the sole decider — and no one was vetted because he knew his pal could not be vetted.

    In K-12, in the FL district where I live, right now, there are two frauds in the top two positions. ONe collects $250K per year as superintendent and the other collects $150K per year (his “chief deputy”) and I have good reason to think they are both high school drop outs.

    It’s very depressing.

    an observer (300145)

  27. Ajso note this updated article about the current resume fraud from Texas A&M and re procedures:

    http://www.statesman.com/news/local/a-m-official-out-after-false-claims-on-756724.html

    A&M official out after false claims on degree, service

    ——–
    http://www.theeagle.com/am/Some-applicants-degrees-aren-t-verified–officials-say

    Published Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:07 AM

    Some applicants degrees aren’t verified, officials say

    By VIMAL PATEL
    vimal.patel@theeagle.com

    Texas A&M University does not routinely check academic credentials of applicants for staff and administrative positions, officials said Friday after it was revealed that a top university administrator did not have the master’s degree or doctorate that he claimed to have.

    Staff and administrators — including Alexander Kemos, who resigned Friday as senior vice president for administration — only have criminal background checks when hired.

    Faculty members, meanwhile, are required to have their academic degrees verified.

    The hiring policy is similar at the University of Texas at Austin, according to the school’s human resources office.

    At Texas A&M, the policy allowed Kemos to falsely claim a master’s degree and doctorate and rise to the top-level post, where he earned $300,000 a year and served as Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin’s top adviser.

    “I’ve known him for over 12 years,” said Russell Cross, a longtime administrator who announced Kemos’ hiring in February 2009 and will now serve as acting senior vice president for administration. “I never even thought to go back and check his credentials. It was just assumed. I think that’s the case for a lot of hires around the country.”

    Loftin, who was on vacation, could not be reached for this story.

    Kemos was hired in his current role after he was selected as one of about three finalists by a search committee that was headed by Jeffrey Seemann, Texas A&M’s vice president for research. From that list, Loftin made the final call.

    Seemann said it wasn’t the responsibility of the search committee to verify the academic credentials of the applicant. At that time, Kemos had already been hired by Texas A&M and was serving as Loftin’s chief of staff.

    “He presented himself to have a set of qualifications and skills and ability and knowledge that were entirely consistent with our needs,” Seemann said.

    For faculty, the rules are tougher. In fact, last week, Texas A&M’s dean of faculties, Antonio Cepeda-Benito, sent a memo with the subject line of “Immediate Action Required” to department heads stating that proof of a degree is not enough to satisfy accreditation requirements. The university must have an official transcript for each faculty member that lists the highest degree earned, the memo stated.

    “For non-academic positions, people just don’t have the thought of doing that,” Cepeda-Benito said Friday evening. “It’s as simple as that. It’s not limited to Texas A&M. I think that’s going to change after today.”

    an observer (300145)


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