In a legal brief dated December 21, 201B, Temple University in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, agrees to pay out nearly US$5.5 million in settlements related
to two class action lawsuits. The settlements apply to anyone who enrolled
between January 1, 2015, and December 7, 2018, in one of seven online programs
offered by the university's Fox School of Business and Management.
The lawsuits arose after an independent review revealed that the
school had misrepresented data it submitted for consideration in business
school rankings. Specifically, the school overstated applicants' Graduate
Management Admission Test scores and undergraduate applicants' average
grade point averages. It also introduced errors related to admission
offers and student debt.
In response, U.S. News & World Report has dropped the school from its
ranking of online programs, where the school had held the No.1 position.
The lawsuits were filed on behalf of two separate groups. The first
comprises students formerly enrolled in the school's Online MBA program.
These individuals will receive part of $4 million. The agreement also requires
the university to institute more rigorous oversight of its submission
of rankings data, including the creation of an anonymous hotline where
individuals can report wrongdoing. In addition, the school must issue a formal
apology to the student body, create a $5,000 scholarship in business
ethics, create a dean's student advisory council and an ethics and data
integrity committee, and provide former students with career counseling
and free access to the program's recorded materials.
The second group comprises students who had enrolled in any of six
other programs, including the Global EMBA, part-time MBA, online BBA,
executive MBA, and online master of science programs in human resource
management and digital innovation in marketing. These individuals will receive
part of $1.475 million, as well as the nonmonetary relief listed above.
Moshe Po rat, dean of the Fox School during the reporting period in
question, has denied knowledge of the misrepresentations. Po rat and at
least one other employee were let go soon after these findings came to
light, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Last July, Ronald C. Anderson,
professor and finance department chair, was appointed interim dean.
"Temple must do all it can to ensure that there is no recurrence of this
problem in the future; we are committed to doing so," write Richard Englert,
the university's president, and JoAnne Epps, its provost, in a July 25, 201B,
commentary published by the Inquirer. "The public must be able to trust
what we say and do .... For this reason, we will continue to insist on complete
transparency and cooperation with any other agency or organization
that undertakes its own review of these issues."
Read the settlement agreement.