The lawsuits that Donald Trump is facing in connection with his defunct Trump University have emerged as a campaign issue. This does not surprise me; I believe that any candidate ought to be subject to the degree of scrutiny that Hillary Clinton has endured for the last thirty years. But that isn’t going to happen to Trump just because some reporters look into the school.
It won’t happen because those reporters are not looking into the school’s operations. Apparently Trump U. was created on the assumption that the general public would accept it as a college or university; that is what it was called. You might wonder if a high-school graduate could begin a degree program with level-100 courses such as English and math. No, that graduate could not. There were no degrees given by Trump U., which ought to tell you right there that this was not a school in the sense that your local community college is a school. I wonder how many incoming students even asked that question.
In my days as a teacher, I served as editor for an accreditation self-study by the high school where I was teaching. The staff, faculty and students compiled and prepared the report; it resulted in the longest possible awarding of accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Do we suppose that Trump U. ever applied for accreditation as a college, let alone a university? Have you ever heard of the collective accreditation organizations before?
So what are we talking about here? Accreditation is a voluntary process for granting public recognition to institutions that meet external standards of quality.
Schools can choose whether to seek accreditation, although state law does not require public or private schools to be accredited. Schools are normally approved by the state board of education. Any potential student of Trump U. could have simply asked whether Trump U. was an actual college or university.
They would have been told that Trump U. was not an accredited institution by any educational organization. Now what does that tell you about Donald Trump? What did he think he was doing? He just got some people together and they made a lot of Power Point presentations, and offered lectures that ended with a letter of completion. This was Trump University.
If you want to make news watching a little more interesting, keep a list of references to accreditation, college and university programs, faculty requirements and the actual components of a school or college. You’ll have a short list. I hope it get longer as time goes by and we catch on how to investigate a university fraud.