Good morning, Netizens...
On a normal day, if SR columnist Rebecca Nappi writes an article, I will read it immediately, not necessarily because I always agree with her point of view, but because she writes with clarity and more often than not, captures my interest with the first sentence. That is good journalism, at least according to what I was taught. Writing an opinion column, however, is an entirely different type of writing, and we are taught early in the process of education that we should never mingle news and opinion. Writing opinion is one of the places in the Spokesman where Nappi truly can shine, whether you agree with her opinion or not.
In writing today about Dixie Ellen Randock, the woman who has been sentenced to serve time in federal prison for selling bogus college degrees, Rebecca draws an apt comparison between the victims of this multi-million dollar college degree scam and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. She does an workmanship's job of blending vision of the Scarecrow-victims who have played into Randock's hands, except she overlooks the obvious fact: Randock's victims, those gullible enough to buy phony degrees, had to have known they were not just Scarecrows, but were co-complicators in a scam. Even dummies know you have to study to get a college degree, even at the Bachelor's Degree level.
My late grandmother taught me a lesson early in life about legitimacy. You do not get something of value for free and call the deal legit. Each of the purported “victims” of Randock's scheme had to have known it was a bogus deal, from the moment they were told they could get a college degree without text books, sitting in a classroom, studying or any of the other aspects of a real college education. God forbid the thought that you could even get a Master's Degree from Randock's diploma mill, but you could. She was one sharpie, make no doubt about it, but she got caught.
My wife and I each have Bachelor's Degrees, bought and paid for legitimately at different Universities. Hence we both know from experience the kinds of work it takes to attain that achievement. When I see the minimalistic requirements that Randock's system promised applicants in order to get a Bachelor's Degree, I nearly get sick. Had I no real scruples, had I been willing to take a short cut, and be willing to cheat the system, I could have avoided six hard years and all those hours of studying by parting with my money, and not much else.
Apparently only a select few know how many undetected thousands of people are out there with bogus degrees. Even fewer employers appear to know or care and unless you were working for the U.S. Marshall's Service, news of your fraud might never enter the news spectrum at all.
My opinion of everyone that obtained degrees from Randock's diploma mill is that they should pay restitution or face jail time for stealing. Restitution you say? How do you pay restitution for stealing a college education by theft? It's simple. Make every “graduate” of Randock's who obtained a college education by false means get one legitimately. Send them back to school, get a Bachlor's Degree with a minor in business ethics. Sauce for the goose, I say.
That's the part that Rebecca Nappi omitted. Thus far, other than a very few, there has been no one even suggest a punishment for everyone who took the short cut to a college education. That is very depressing because it tells me how very very little value we place on having a college degree these days.