Investigators from the Chinese Embassy in the United States have been dispatched to Dickinson State University in North Dakota, which has recently gained a reputation for being a diploma mill for foreign (mostly Chinese) students. Dramatic details of the case according to the Shanghai Daily:
The investigation follows the resignation of the university president and the suicide of its dean of education, business and applied sciences.
Douglas LaPlante, 59, was found dead in a park near the campus of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday afternoon, police said.
An audit by North Dakota education authorities made public last Friday revealed that lax record keeping and oversight resulted in hundreds of degrees being awarded to students who hadn’t finished their course work.
Others were enrolled who couldn’t speak English or hadn’t achieved the standard normally required for admission.
Of 410 foreign students who had received four-year degrees since 2003 – most of them in the past four years – 400 didn’t fulfill all the graduation requirements, the audit report said. About 95 percent of the students in the degree program were Chinese, it said. The rest were Russian.
“The embassy will fight for the welfare of Chinese students,” an official with the embassy told Xinhua news agency yesterday.
D.C. Coston, the university’s new president, told a press conference: “We will be telling (the affected students) that their records do not indicate they sufficiently completed the requirements, while the university stands ready to work with them individually to figure out what might be necessary for them to reach a point of completion.”
North Dakota education officials have decided to send some 21 of 27 newly enrolled Chinese students at the university back to China as they “could not speak English at the required competency level.”