Dean of Temple University on trial for “submitting false figures to climb university rankings”


Ibrahim Fetahi testified against former Temple University Dean Moshe Porat on Wednesday

A former Temple University MBA student has denounced the school’s rogue former dean for inflating his rankings and forcing him into a debt of $ 120,000 as well as a qualification that is now worthless.

Ibrahim Fetahi went on a rampage after discovering that Moshe Porat, the former dean who ran the Fox School of Business in Temple in Philadelphia for more than two decades, sent fake data to the rankings of US’s online MBA program News & World Report to strengthen the 30th place of the school. .

“In my mind, I paid for fine dining, but I got McDonald’s. Yes, I got the food, but I didn’t get the quality I paid for, nor the service, ” Fetahi told the jury during Porat’s fraud trial on Wednesday.

Porat, 74, was fired from Temple in 2018 when the university discovered he had misreported surveys and student scores in the e-commerce program since 2015, according to the school. Temple’s Philly school didn’t have enough students to rank, so Porat combined its numbers with others from the Japanese branch of the university, despite ranking rules explicitly prohibiting universities from doing so.

Temple’s online program had gained prestige after ranking ninth in 2015, then staying in first place from 2016 to 2018.

It now ranks 100th after being previously unlisted in 2018 when the scandal first erupted.

Moshe Porat, pictured in 2019, is on trial for allegedly submitting fake numbers in order to get higher rankings for Temple University's e-commerce program

Moshe Porat, pictured in 2019, is on trial for allegedly submitting fake numbers in order to get higher rankings for Temple University’s e-commerce program

He was Dean of the University's Fox School of Business for over 20 years

He was Dean of the University’s Fox School of Business for over 20 years

Temple University's Online MBA Program Now Ranks 100

Temple University’s Online MBA Program Now Ranks 100

District Court prosecutors for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania say Porat organized the inflation of the ranking in order to defraud the school’s applicants, students and donors.

He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

“This is a cheating business… for money, power and prestige,” said deputy US lawyer Nancy Potts.

Fetahi, who was one of seven students to file a federal lawsuit against the school, said he was drawn to the school for its prestige and hoped it would help him further his career, reported Poets and Quants.

“For me, it was important to go to a university with a good mark and a good ranking. Being in the corporate field, I wanted to be able to compete in the open job market at top companies, he said.

Porat faces up to 25 years in prison and a $ 500,000 fine if convicted

Porat faces up to 25 years in prison and a $ 500,000 fine if convicted

He joined the online program in 2015 and borrowed $ 120,000 to pay for his tuition. He also spent money on fees and other program expenses.

When he graduated in 2018, scandal erupted and Fetahi told the jury he was angry and shocked.

“I just spent three years of my life studying hard, traveling… spending all that money, and I didn’t know what that meant to me because I had graduated from a program that was unranked. “, did he declare.

“I will always have this scar on my CV. As soon as you Google Temple, a ranking scandal appears.

He added that he received more than $ 7,000 in two payments in connection with his lawsuit against Temple.

Porat’s defense argued that the former dean did not commit any fraud and that it was not against the law to inflate the numbers for a competition.

Meanwhile, on the day of the evidence itself, Temple administrator Christine Kiely recalled what she claimed was a threat from Porat not providing accurate information on the ranking.

“He looked at me and said, ‘If this is how you feel, then maybe this is not the right place for you,’ Kiely said during the first day of testimony in the trial for ousted dean’s conspiracy and fraud, which was reported by the Philly Inquirer.

She added: “I took this as a threat.”

Defense attorney Richard Zack said the fault lies with Fox School of Business staff member Margorie O’Neill who allegedly worked with Porat to submit the changed numbers.

O’Neill had pleaded guilty to an accused conspiracy in May and is expected to testify against Porat during the trial.

Zack added that Porat was simply following the culture of the university at the time, which demanded higher rankings “at all costs”.

“It’s not a crime to be a tough boss… or even to want high rankings,” Zack said.

Porat is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and one count of electronic fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $ 500,000.

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