More on living lies
This is actually fascinating.
He crafted an elaborate web of lies to con his way into Harvard University, authorities say, but Adam B. Wheeler wasn’t content to graduate quietly and get away with just a degree.
After two years of blending into campus life and racking up academic prizes and tens of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships, Wheeler allegedly upped the ante: The 23-year-old senior applied for the prestigious Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships last fall using falsified credentials, including a fake transcript and work he plagiarized from a Harvard professor, said investigators. …
In court documents, authorities laid out the intricate life they say Wheeler concocted to gain admission to one of the world’s most selective universities, where he enrolled as a transfer student in 2007. In his Harvard application, he said he had graduated from Phillips Academy, an elite prep school in Andover, and attended MIT.
The MIT transcript he submitted indicated perfect grades from his first year there, according to the documents. In addition, he submitted letters of recommendation from four MIT professors and the director of college counseling at Andover, essays discussing his time at MIT, and official documents from The College Board indicating he had received a perfect SAT score of 1600 in March 2005.
He also included a full transcript from Andover that indicated he had graduated and held a diploma from the school.
Well, if you’re going to lie, go big.
I’d heard of people doing it in decades past, but being able to get away with it now…
The thing is, if you’re smart enough to get away with stuff like that, you’re probably smart enough to get in on your own merits — you can usually find a way.
Another Harvard alumnus says shame on Harvard.
I agree somewhat: for transfer students, which is typically where this sort of skulduggery is done, the numbers are small enough that one staffer can spend an afternoon doing due diligence on credentials — viz., calling offices, or even just doing Google searches.
People who are impressive enough to be Harvard material will have at least a few traces — local news clips, team records, school newspapers, articles written, etc. — that can be found. If they’re not found, why then, that’s a person to look a little deeper into. And, of course, use standard procedures like requiring official transcripts to be mailed directly from the institutions in question. (Use unofficial ones to make timely decisions, but get the numbers confirmed from official ones sent properly.)
In 2010, given how much technology is out there, no-one should be able to do something like that.
It’s hilarious that he managed it, and that if he hadn’t gotten so greedy he would have gotten away with it entirely. (I wonder how many have? You just have to know when to walk away with your winnings.)
Me, I admire (and am amused by) his chutzpah. And I’d still send him to jail for fraud. (Though I might give him an out, and offer him a job doing slightly sketchy things for our government overseas while he serves out his sentence. We need more like him out there.)
Update: From a wag in the comments section –
Look, he got into Harvard. Once he got in, it shouldn’t matter how he got there. He should be allowed to remain and continue to pursue his dream. To persecute him over this is just mean-spirited and anti-American.
After all, why should we treat is undocumented scholar any differently than we treat an undocumented worker who finds his way into this country?
Ha ha. (un-American, he means.)
That comment got a lot of angry responses, both from the people who didn’t get the joke, and from the people who did and replied, “THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!!!”
And they’re wrong, it’s a totally analogous situation.
I admire Adam’s ingenuity, and still would toss him in jail; I admire the illegals’ ingenuity, and still would deport them when they’re captured.
There are rules, and you have to uphold them.