Hey, Donald Trump. Wossamotta U?
Personally, if I were going to matriculate at a university associated with a celebrity, I’d check and see whether Wossamotta U’s taking applications. I have no idea who’s on the faculty, but wouldn’t it be cool to take a revisionist history course with Mr. Peabody and his T.A., Sherman? Maybe Boris Badenov teaches Russian. And how about being able to audit a course entitled “Fractured Fairy Tales”?
Whatever else you might say about the value of a Wossamotta U degree, I’m guessing there’d be more bang for the tuition buck than could be had at Trump University.
And apparently there are few others who’d agree.
The for-profit institution is the target of a class action lawsuit in federal court and the attorneys general of six states are investigating numerous complaints about it.
Not that Trump University is exactly a university, in the classic Harvard University sense. Or even in the more modern mode, à la Phoenix U:
Last year in New York, Trump University was forced to change its name by the Department of Education. State officials sent the mogul a tough letter saying that it was misleading for his company to use the term “university.” Several months earlier, the Better Business Bureau gave the program a D-minus rating. The BBB is also currently reviewing several complaints against the renamed Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. (Source: Huffington Post.)
Basically, Trump U or non-U is a how-to-make-money-flipping-real-estate seminar. No learning for the sake of learning. No ars longa going on. With Trump, the emphasis is strictly vita brevis. Go forth and make money, which seems to be the culminating value of anything associated with Trump.
Not that I am anti-money.
I’m all for it, and wish I had more of it. But personally, I’d rather do without than slap some sheetrock and a skim coat over termite-ridden walls and sell the glam result to some schnook. But that’s just me.
The Trump grads – admittedly a minority of the 11,000 alumni -who are suing claim that they spent tens of thousands of dollars a piece on little more than a glorified infomercial, and some drive-bys. (The lead plaintiff, Tarla Makaeff, says that the $35K Gold Program – think grad-school for those who’ve already gotten a degree from Trump 101 – consisted of little more than two days driving around looking at real estate, and a half a day at Home Depot with a mentor. (“Don’t bother with the higher cost sheetrock. No one will ever know…”)
Her [Makaeff’s] lawsuit alleges that Trump University's mentors and associates “guide students toward deals in which they have a personal financial interest at stake -- creating a severe conflict of interest, so that the mentors profit while the student does not."
And I bet the Big Mentor himself managed to extract his piece of the action, thank you very much.
Another plaintiff in the suit dropped $25K on the course, as did a buddy of his. In return, they were given access to “exclusive listings” that could be had elsewhere for $35. That’s quite a mark-up. And by the time the marks found out about it, they were beyond the three-day refund limit.
So I guess there are a few potential voters out there whom The Big D is going to have a hard time wooing.
Not that he cares about a couple of stray, cranky, turned off voters.
Trump is, in fact, countersuing Makaeff for $100M for making untruthful, inflammatory statements that have cut into his educational biz. Nothing small time about The Donald! Why sue for a couple of mill when you can go for more gold. Trump was always a think big kind of guy.
Trump U has also been troubled by an investigation by the state’s attorney in Texas. In response to a number of complaints from the Better Business Bureau, he began poking around asking questions. In response, Trump decided to stop offering his seminars in Texas. That must have hurt: that great big ol’ state, with all that great big ol’ land, with all those great big ol’ buildings on it..
Trump lawyer [George] Sorial says that those complaints have been addressed and that the Texas attorney general never took action against the company: “If you took 11,000 students, you’ll find a handful that weren’t happy with their education,” saying that the same ratio occurs at Ivy League schools like Harvard University.
Nice Trumpian touch, that, comparing Trump U to Harvard.
And no doubt he’s correct. Take any 11,ooo, or 10,000 Men of Harvard*and you could probably find a lot more than a handful who had a bitch or two about their education there.
Funny thing, though.
Not having the benefit of a Harvard education, I may be wrong here, but I don’t believe there’s ever been a class action against Harvard filed by disgruntled students. Nor do I believe that you’d find many/any Harvard grads willing to trade their sheepskin for a certificate from Trump University.
In fact, I’d bet that before they did that, they’d swap out for a diploma from Wossamotta U.
*Harvard fight song played at every football game.