Rutgers Business School always keeps score.
On its website, it states a No. 1 this year by Bloomberg Businessweek as the best Public Business School in the Northeast. Fortune conferred a similar award in 2021. And US News & World Report rated its MBA program among the top ten for Best Overall Employment Outcome in the US, as well as No. 12 for the Supply Chain Management MBA program.
But in a whistleblower lawsuit filed on Friday, a Rutgers administrator alleged that the university fraudulently boosted the national rankings by creating completely fake jobs to demonstrate the success of its business school graduates in finding work.
The lawsuit by Deidre White, the business school’s human resources manager, alleges the program uses temp agencies to hire unemployed MBA students, putting them into bogus positions at the university itself—for no other reason than to make it seem like more students. graduates find full-time employment after earning their Rutgers diploma.
“The scam worked,” wrote White’s attorney, Matthew A. Luber of McOmber McOmber & Luber in Marlton. In the first year of the scheme, they say Rutgers was suddenly pushed, among other things, ‘No. 1′ business school in Northeast.
The university, in a statement, said as a matter of policy it would not comment on the specifics of litigation.
“We would say without a doubt, however, that we take our obligation to accurately report data and other information to rating and reporting agencies seriously,” the university said. “Rutgers School of Business strictly follows the Career Services & Employer Alliance MBA guidelines for submitting MBA statistics and also follows appropriate guidelines for submitting undergraduate statistics.”
By going through an outside temp agency, White’s lawsuit claims the university was able to circumvent a restriction in the ranking system that does not allow universities to count internal employees for the purposes of their employment statistics.
White, 54, who accuses him of being the subject of retaliation for health and other issues aimed at forcing his resignation or layoffs, said the university used more than $400,000 of its endowment to fund bogus positions and to pay what he called “bribes” to agents. labor.
Such schemes, if true, have led to criminal charges elsewhere.
A former dean of Temple University’s business school was found guilty in 2021 of using fake numbers in a complex fraud operation aimed at boosting the school’s national ranking and increasing revenue.
Moshe Porat, 74, was convicted of federal wire fraud and conspiracy charges for his role in a fraud scandal that sought to raise the rankings of the university’s Fox School of Business in Philadelphia. The school’s online MBA program has been ranked the best in the country by US News & World Report in the years it provided falsified data. He was sentenced last month to 14 months in prison.
Following the allegations at Temple, the University of Southern California announced last month that it was withdrawing its school of education from the US News & World Report graduate school rankings, after determining it had provided publications with at least five years of inaccurate data. .
And at Columbia University, a mathematics professor specializing in algebraic geometry challenges the No. The two universities posted statistical analyzes that questioned key supporting data that had led to a skyrocketing rise in the school’s rankings.
“It has been a delight to watch Columbia’s steady rise from 18th, on its debut in 1988, to its high of 2nd position achieved this year—only surpassed by Princeton and tied with Harvard and MIT,” writes Michael Thaddeus. “Several other top universities have also stepped up their positions, but none have matched Columbia’s remarkable rise. It’s natural to wonder what the reason is. ”
The conclusion — that some of the key figures supporting Columbia’s high ratings were “inaccurate, dubious, or grossly misleading.”
Colleges across the country have faced pressure to improve their rankings, which administrators know is crucial for both parents and students.
The allegations by White, however, gave rise to outright fraud charges.
“This is a blatant attempt to give the impression of a higher overall full-time employment rating with a third party and to deceptively elevate Rutger’s … ‘ratings’ with important media outlets, such as US News & World Report,” the lawsuit said. , notes that as a result of a “data manipulation scheme”, Rutgers obtains money and funding from applicants, students, alumni, and donors and earns “millions of dollars a year in increased college income.”
The lawsuit – which also names the Rutgers School of Business Dean and director of the business school’s Office of Career Management, and others – alleges that when White raised concerns about the scheme in March, the university failed to investigate.
“The scheme was organised, deliberate and decisive,” he said, citing the recruitment of certain students for positions “well below the criteria for MBA students.”
In one case, the lawsuit referred to emails regarding interviews of two students, which administrators characterized as “highly qualified” for the positions offered.
“As alleged in the complaint, Mrs White was not only the target of clear retaliation, she had to work in an environment full of fraudulent activity,” said Luber, her attorney.
White, who remains a university employee, seeks unspecified damages, repayment, and restoration of all benefits
“Our client feels as though he has an obligation to students and parents who rely on Rutgers to provide honest data about his graduate program,” comments Luber. “He can no longer sit idly by and let the deception continue. He looks forward to his day in court.”
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Ted Sherman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL.