According to this article in the illustrious Onion, the University of Michigan has been implicated in a "checks-for-degrees" scandal. Oh, the horror!
ANN ARBOR, MI—The University of Michigan has become the 17th institution of higher learning to be implicated in the checks-for-degrees scandal rocking American campuses, representatives from the Department of Justice reported Tuesday.As an employee of this institution, I am utterly shocked to learn of this scandal. Also shocking, is that I now realize I was duped by a similar scheme at another local institution, Eastern Michigan University. As stated in the article, U of M is the 17th institution to be involved in such a scandal, but I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg, and thousands of institutions will be discovered to have engaged in similar conduct.
"We have strong evidence that the University of Michigan granted academic degrees to students in exchange for hefty payments, often totaling tens of thousands of dollars," Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey said. "In the process, thousands of graduates have emerged with degrees, but few or no skills applicable to everyday life. And many are as unprepared to enter the job market as they were when they first enrolled."
According to documents collected as a part of the Justice Department's ongoing investigation, some University of Michigan undergraduates attended classes fewer than three times a week. During these classes, students were asked to do little more than listen to lectures delivered by their professors.
Besides attending classes, students read materials relating to their lectures, write the occasional paper, and participate in testing, Comey said. Although the content of many courses was often thought-provoking, what alarmed investigators was the subject matter's "intractably abstract nature."
"A course in Chaucer can be a fascinating examination of medieval mores and the evolution of the English language," Comey said. "Such knowledge, however, has little application in larger society. Students can graduate with majors in creative writing, Latin, women's studies, and history, yet still not know how to fix a sink, sew on a button, or even properly feed themselves.Virtually the only opportunity graduates have to apply their arcane knowledge takes place during discussions over coffee with their peers, or attempts to impress members of the opposite sex at parties."