Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Some background about Linda West's (Elmwood Transcona) university

As we saw in the last post, Linda West, CPC candidate in Elmswood-Transcona includes as part of her educational background a PhD from "Washington University" (here). This is not the Washington University of St. Louis (which is a top University), but Washington International University, a mail-order outfit in Pennsylvania with a faculty of seven.

Over at the CBC Forum for Elmwood Transcona, West herself tried to clarify matters
The University of Washington, as it was called when I attended is a degree granting institution in the United States and when I graduated it provided my with a diploma that was notarized by the state.
A little digging around confirms. Here I've archived a news story about how the institution came to have its present name: it was originally Washington University, but it was sued by the real Washington University in St. Louis. Especially noteworthy quote:
"We are entrepreneurs, we are not educators," says Yil Karademir, the Lower Merion businessman who, with his wife, runs the university and readily acknowledges it is not accredited. "I'm in it for money. I'm not in it for education."

Karademir and his wife founded Washington University three years ago. It's incorporated in Hawaii and the British Virgin Islands - and, no, it's not connected to the better-known Washington University, the one in St. Louis. That school is suing Karademir's, claiming trademark infringement.
In an article in the New York Times about degree mills, the outcome of the suit is reported (the full article is archived, here):
An unaccredited school called Washington University, which has an office in Bryn Mawr, Pa., but is incorporated in Hawaii and the British Virgin Islands, settled a suit in June filed by the more established Washington University of St. Louis. The suit charged that the unaccredited school infringed on its trademark and engaged in unfair competition.

The details of the settlement are confidential, but the consent judgment entered by the court told the school to come up with a new name, and one that separated the words "Washington" and "University" with a word of at least 10 characters.

Yil Karademir, who owns the unaccredited school, chose Washington International University. (Unaccredited schools tend to favor the word "International," as well as "America," "United" and "Pacific.")
The article goes on to report
Mr. Karademir said his school is made up mostly of international students who are given academic credit for life experience, though he plans to add on-line courses in the fall. Washington International's Web site is extensive and promises to grant degrees in one year. "The academic comunity sic find our degree programs to be OUTSTANDING!" the Web site declares. "All Washington International University degrees are ATTESTED and sealed for authenticity by a Government appointed NOTARY!"

Costs range from $2,850 for a Bachelor of Science in business administration to $7,400 for a combination bachelor's and master's degree.

[Edited to archive full article here and add NYT article]

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