Politics

Questions About Christine O'Donnell's Academic Record

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The educational history of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell is being called into question after a graduate school O'Donnell claims she attended said it has no record of her being there. O'Donnell, for her part, said she never made such claims.

This all started when it was revealed that O'Donnell only received her undergraduate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University earlier this month -- 17 years after attending graduation, and not earning the degree.

According to O'Donnell's LinkedIn profile, she attended Claremont Graduate University as well. But the school told Talking Points Memo that it has no record of her.

"Claremont Graduate University has no student or education record for an individual named Christine O'Donnell," Rod Leveque, a spokesman for Claremont told TPM Tuesday.

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TPM looked further into it and found, according to her campaign site, O'Donnell was involved with a conservative think tank called the Claremont Institute, which has no relationship to the Claremont Graduate University. She received a Lincoln Fellowship from the Institute in 2002, though her inclusion of the word "graduate" raised a few eyebrows.

In addition to this, Greg Sargent of The Washington Post reports O'Donnell had also included "University of Oxford" on the education section of her LinkedIn profile, when she was actually only taking a Phoenix Institute course that had simply rented out space at the school.

However, O'Donnell now claims to have absolutely nothing to do with the LinkedIn profile that bears her name. According to a report on The Huffington Post, on Tuesday she wrote in an email to Sargent:

"There have been reports that I have released false information on a LinkedIn profile under my name. This is categorically untrue. I never established a LinkedIn profile, or authorized anyone to do so on my behalf. I have always been clear about my educational background. I completed undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickinson University. After my undergraduate work, I completed a summer program run by the Phoenix Institute, at the Institute's Oxford University location. The Institute runs programs around the world at various universities, and participants study issues of human dignity. I also completed a Lincoln Fellowship at the Claremont Institute in Claremont, CA. We would encourage LinkedIn to remove this profile."

Sargent is skeptical, saying O'Donnell and her campaign people had plenty of time to make this claim before his story was published:

As the person who first reported yesterday on the Oxford claim on O'Donnell's LinkedIn profile, let me be clear: I asked O'Donnell's spokesperson, Diane Banister, for comment on the profile's Oxford claim last Friday. Banister never once claimed the profile wasn't put up by O'Donnell. Indeed, in response to my inquiry, Banister justified the claim on the LinkedIn profile by pointing to O'Donnell's stint at Phoenix University.

Nor did O'Donnell's spox dispute that the LinkedIn profile was hers when I again emailed her on Monday to let her know I was close to publishing. And, needless to say, O'Donnell hadn't taken any steps before today to get the profile taken down, though it's possible she didn't know about it.