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Education Science

US Academy President Caught Embellishing Resume, Will Resign 124

Posted by timothy
from the motivational-psychology dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The 233-year old American Academy of Arts and Sciences has announced that its longtime President and Chief Executive, Leslie Cohen Berlowitz, has agreed to resign effective at the end of this month following an investigation of charges of resume embellishment and other misconduct. Berlowitz falsely claimed to have received a doctorate from New York University, and has also been criticized for her behavior towards scholars and subordinates, and for her compensation package ($598,000 for 2012) relative to the size of the non-profit organization she led. The Academy, based in Cambridge MA, was founded during the American Revolutionary War and is one of the most prestigious honorary societies for the American intellectual elite, extending across math and science, arts and letters, business, law and public affairs. The active membership rolls contain people you've heard of; the incoming class list provides a more manageable glimpse of the society's breadth."
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US Academy President Caught Embellishing Resume, Will Resign

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  • Patriarchy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:29PM (#44401753)

    She is clearly a victim of the patriarchy's obsession with facts and evidence.

    She FEELS she deserves the post.. so therefore she does.

    • Well she fooled the intellectual elite for 17 years. Chances are that doctorate was just ornamentation anyway.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Chances are that doctorate was just ornamentation anyway.

        Most of what people look for in life nowadays is just ornamentation. And a significant element of that ornamentation's value is the price you are supposed to have paid for it.

        Shortcuts threaten the fabric of society.

        • Threaten the fabric of society; turn into a Senate seat for Elizabeth Warren: what difference, at this point, does it make?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        >>> Well she fooled the intellectual elite for 17 years.

        All the more reason to stop shaking in the boots and question the general intelligence of its members when you hear silly things such as:

        "The nnn-year old ...", "one of the most prestigious honorary societies for the ... intellectual elite" etc.

        When I apply for a lowly programming job the effing HR goes all the way to my Elementary school to verify the records and since it was long closed I have to "explain" but a claim of PhD from NYU for a

    • Shorter Anonymous Coward: "Hahaha, women think with feelings, but men think with hard facts." You are quite the budding comic.
    • This had nothing to do with patriarchy or feminism. This has to do with the amoral standards of "elites" and other ascendancies in western society. Cynical fraud has become an accepted standard across our institutions, public and private.

  • Dear God (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:29PM (#44401759)

    She is so fucked. It doesn't matter so much that she lied for the Academy. But she lied on grant proposals. This could lead to a MASSIVE criminal penalty.

    Ref:
    18 USC Section 1001
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1001 [cornell.edu]
    18 USC Section 1031
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1031 [cornell.edu]

    She is so fucked it isn't even funny. She might want to head to Russia and ask for asylum.

    • Re:Dear God (Score:5, Insightful)

      by djmurdoch (306849) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:39PM (#44401821)

      Didn't you read the summary? Her salary was $598,000 last year. Nobody with a salary that large gets any criminal penalty. (Actually, Jeffrey Skilling is a counterexample, but there are very few others.)

      • by dk20 (914954)
        Man, you beat me to it (was just going to post something similar). A lot of people might disagree, but there seems to be a lot of truth to this recently.
      • (Actually, Jeffrey Skilling is a counterexample)

        Skilling was a fool. Against his lawyer's advice, he went in front of a congressional panel, the representatives of the people, and answered their questions in plain English. He paid a heavy price for that, which will serve as a valuable lesson for anyone else that thinks that honesty is rewarded in our society.

      • Skilling's Enron sentence was cut from 23 to 14 years recently. It'll probably be reduced further before he serves his remaing 8 years. I estimate he'll be out on parole in 10 years.

        When you think of the sheer amounts of money he could have been skimming off during Enron's "golden years", I'd consider 10 years a pretty good deal.

      • As long as she paid her tribute to the Cult of Obama, she's untouchable. See John Corzine, et al
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's not so bad. Lie on a home loan or a credit application and you can get 30 years [cornell.edu] (which I'm betting that she probably also did if she was willing to lie on grants). This is the charge that federal prosecutors go after if they can, since the 30 year penalty ensures a plea agreement (this was famously used to oust Baltimore police chief Ed Norris [davidsimon.com] when he took a loan from his father and listed that money as an asset for a home loan). And since Carmen Ortiz will be in charge of this case, you can almost g

    • by couchslug (175151)

      No one is going to press charges on a female for lying on a grant proposal.

      She'll leave, that will end it.

  • Irony: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hartree (191324) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:33PM (#44401781)

    One of her publications is titled: Restoring Trust in American Business

    We're not off to a good start on that.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:34PM (#44401783)

    As long as companies lie in the job description and promises of packages and benefits, I'll lie in my CV and my skills.

    Turnabout is only fair!

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      As long as companies lie in the job description and promises of packages and benefits, I'll lie in my CV and my skills.

      Turnabout is only fair!

      The difference is if they lie, there's not much you as an employee can do about it. However, if you lie, they can fire you.

      • by sribe (304414)

        The difference is if they lie, there's not much you as an employee can do about it. However, if you lie, they can fire you.

        Uhm, you can "fire" them any day you decide to do so.

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          The difference is if they lie, there's not much you as an employee can do about it. However, if you lie, they can fire you.

          Uhm, you can "fire" them any day you decide to do so.

          I assume you mean quit instead of fire. They are not the same. Quit means you left voluntarily. It may not be wise to quit, but usually somebody else will pick you up. OTOH, if you are fired, your future prospects in your field diminish dramatically.

          • Quitting is 'firing your boss'. Duh.

            The reputation hit isn't so bad for employers. Nobody looks up people who quit, but still; there are employers that I would recommend a friend flee from.

            Employers do take a hit. Turnover is a popular metric when evaluating a business. Which says nothing of the knowledge that walks out and what that costs.

          • Depends on why you get "fired". Actually, I was once fired for a reason that actually improved my chances with my next employer. Basically I was fired for daring to tell my boss that his idea is maybe not the smartest one possible, something that my next employer was actually looking for (in his words, he had enough yes-men and didn't want to suffer from having one in security).

            But I admit, such occasions are rare.

            • You've brought back memories. I was once selected for cutbacks for what I thought were very good reasons. I was already quite senior and had trained the junior members, and had documented my work, and family medical issues had cut my oncall availability. This was back when telephone modems were how you telecommuted, which were not as effective as modern roving laptops.

              2 months later, i found out why I was _really_ let go just then. Another employee and I were closing in on the inventory of unused hardware t

              • by tragedy (27079)

                I'm a little unclear on why you were really let go. There seems to be a chunk of your story missing. By inference, it sounds like you were let go because a dishonest VP was selling unused hardware off the back of the loading dock and you were close to discovering him. Is that the case?

                • I was also unclear at the time. The nominal reason was cutbacks: the private talks with my superiors helped expose the "cover" reasons that I mentioned. The real reason was the pressure from the embezzling VP trying to cover their criminal trail. The new manager tried their best to clean up the situation and make it up to people who'd been hurt in that process, and i bear the rest of the company or their newer ill-will.

                  But it's an excellent example of how the reason you are "fired" or asked to resign may n

  • Internal politicing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:36PM (#44401793)
    Many of the people who rise to the tops of large organizations are backstabbing, loudmouthed, blowhards. They scheme and calculate their way to the top. This applies to almost all large organizations. A simple way around this is to add randomization. The idea is that for any promotion you have many many qualified candidates and then pick one at random. I very much doubt that there was only one qualified candidate for her job. Obviously the system they used picked one of the worst.

    This random system then prevents people from spending all their time scheming to set up the ideal circumstances where all the other candidates have been pushed under a bus. Also then they don't owe any favors for their job.
    • by kye4u (2686257)

      This random system then prevents people from spending all their time scheming to set up the ideal circumstances where all the other candidates have been pushed under a bus. Also then they don't owe any favors for their job.

      Even with that method....you would have the same problem. This is because of how a "qualified" candidate will most likely be defined. The "qualified" candidates will be the ones that are the most adept at politicking (i.e. backstabbing) and marketing (i.e. look at all the amazing things I do for company Z) themselves.

      So you'd have a random pool of people who were all scheming and calculating there way to the top.

    • I very much doubt that there was only one qualified candidate for her job. Obviously the system they used picked one of the worst.

      I don't know about that... her position was "President of the US Academy." A presidential position in a large nonprofit is all about image, motivation and being able to bring in the money. My guess is that mo matter what her academic credentials were, she wouldn't have been able to keep that position for 17 years without excelling at the mentioned criteria. Most eggheads in any specialty who were really interested in the pursuit of knowledge would be dismal failures as presidents of such an organization. They require someone who inspires confidence (who we usually call a con artist).

      • There is never just one cockroach. The key is to thwart people who connive their way into a job. I watched one woman spend years undermining her boss all the while setting herself up to replace him. Just as she was succeeding a friend of the big big boss came in out of nowhere and took over. His first assignment to her was to send her into the bowels of a lost project. In a drunken conversation he implied that prior to starting he had been given a copy of everybody's emails including all her conniving.

        Th
    • Many of the people who rise to the tops of large organizations are backstabbing, loudmouthed, blowhards.

      FWIW several studies have shown that it's exactly the opposite, people rise to the top then become backstabbing, loudmouthed blowhards. People who start out that way don't rise too much because no one likes them.

      But power corrupts.

    • by Coppit (2441)

      Interesting idea, but it sounds a lot like affirmative action, with the same problems.

  • She should forfeit her compensation package as a consequence of her falsifying her application.

  • The active membership rolls contain people you've heard of; the incoming class list provides a more manageable glimpse of the society's breadth."

    I wonder how many of them have embellished their accomplishments, too? Seems pretty common in academia these days.

    • by starless (60879)

      I wonder how many of them have embellished their accomplishments, too? Seems pretty common in academia these days.

      Citation needed...

    • by the gnat (153162)

      I wonder how many of them have embellished their accomplishments, too? Seems pretty common in academia these days.

      It's actually exceptionally rare. Anil Potti, the Duke cancer researcher who falsely claimed to have been a Rhodes scholar, was an unusually notorious case simply because it was so unusual. (Also because he may have been committing outright fraud in his research.) It's very rare to come across someone in the academic community falsely claiming a degree, simply because it's such a stupid idea:

      • > It's actually exceptionally rare.

        Not in my experience. A bit of digging into the background of some computer science and engineering colleagues I've met, applying for work, or reviewing their resumes as port of planning for a shared project, shows a strong degree of fraud.

  • Some punishment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by therealkevinkretz (1585825) * on Saturday July 27, 2013 @04:10PM (#44401971)

    "She will receive a one-time payment of $475,000 for retirement and other benefits, according to an academy statement, but no severance payment"

    *That* should teach her a lesson and send a strong signal.

    • Re:Some punishment (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:37PM (#44402483) Journal

      It's important that important people be shielded from consequences. Without exception, the Important People, and their talking heads, that I see on TV assure me that this is so.

      • It goes a bit downhill too ... I read recently about a local cop who, when accused of theft of evidence (proceeds of burglary not yet returned to victim) he was offered to be allowed to retire with pension rather than face a departmental hearing and embarrass the PD. Turns out that's business as usual in my state.

      • by dj245 (732906)

        It's important that important people be shielded from consequences. Without exception, the Important People, and their talking heads, that I see on TV assure me that this is so.

        The concept of this is well-intentioned. Golden parachutes are supposed to encourage risk-taking and pursuing new products or strategies which may or may not pay off. The idea is that managers won't be so worried about keeping their job (salary) that they just clam up and don't do anything which might rock the boat. Management paralysis is not a good thing.

        The good intentions of the golden parachute are counteracted and overpowered by massive bonuses creating very short term incentives, stock options w

    • by the gnat (153162)

      *That* should teach her a lesson and send a strong signal.

      It's still not as bad as Carly Fiorina driving HP's stock price down 50% and firing 7000 people, and getting let go with a $20M severance package, and still being considered a serious candidate for California senator. That's the biggest difference between the rest of us and the 0.01%: when we fuck up, we get fired with cause and are economic roadkill, and seriously risk being impoverished. When they fuck up, they lose access to the corporate jet an

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I honestly wouldn't have any problem with income inequality if we could occasionally see failed CEOs like Dick Fuld reduced to standing in line at soup kitchens like all of the other "takers".

        Well, those people get their huge payments because of their large responsibility. When they screw up, they impoverish thousands of people. So it's important to ensure that they are not impoverished along with them. Otherwise they might worry and get headaches.

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      That'll be a benefit built up over the course of the employment, something that was always owed, just not yet due. They would not have any right to not pay it, it would be similar to saying they had decided to reduce the basic salary for the duration of the employment, and asking for a cheque.

      • Many jobs include forfeiting benefits, even pension, if terminated for certain causes. Lying about qualifications for employment seems like it would be near the top of the list. It's true that we don't know the details of her employment contract - but hat they convinced her to resign and that the article includes a quote from the chairman indicating that the deal "is in the Academy's best interest" suggests to me that they pursued the legal path of least resistance rather than fought to keep more from he

  • AAAS not AAAS (Score:4, Informative)

    by methano (519830) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @04:14PM (#44401999)
    It's easy to get these guys, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, mixed up with with these guys, The American Association for the Advancement of Science. They're not the same. The latter are the ones that publish Science, the prestigious scientific journal. The former, I'm not sure who those guys are. Seems like I've heard controversy about this woman before.
    • by starless (60879)

      It's easy to get these guys, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, mixed up with with these guys, The American Association for the Advancement of Science. They're not the same. The latter are the ones that publish Science, the prestigious scientific journal. The former, I'm not sure who those guys are.

      Aren't they the people who award the Oscars or something...?

    • Also not the same as the prestigious and perhaps more familiar National Academies [nas.edu], which consists of The National Academy of Science, The National Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Medicine, and The National Research Council.

    • by jcarr (20735)

      Wow -- good call. That might also be why the complaint in the article "She was not allowing staff to examine historical documents" is due to the whole organisation being a massive lie or con job from the beginning.

  • Berlowitz falsely claimed to have received a doctorate from New York University

    I'm assuming she only lied on the grant applications since she was also the Vice President for Institutional Advancement [nyu.edu] at New York University. Presumably they would have noticed if she falsely claimed to have a doctorate from them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Having been a grad student is not the same as being a Ph.D and yes, there is a big difference.

      • by quantaman (517394)

        Having been a grad student is not the same as being a Ph.D and yes, there is a big difference.

        No doubt. I'm just trying to figure out the scope of her lying. She had a high profile academic career so her credentials should have been quite widely known. Lying on the grant application is still illegal, but I don't think it would have been feasible for her to claim a PhD on a regular basis.

  • Back when 'verification' might have required pulling out your good quill and sealing wax, I can see how pulling a blatant con of this flavor might have made some sense, however unethical it is. Now, though, when it is trivial for just about anybody, never mind the people considering you for the job, to take a look at your CV and start asking annoying questions like "How did you get a degree in XYZ in 1994 at a university that didn't offer that degree until 2001?" and "Why does the registrar at Foo Universit

    • People get away with this because verification of all these facts costs time and money. Even companies that are actually hired to do background checks are often slacking and don't actually verify the copies of diplomas you send them.

      Also, universities and such have a good reason to not make an API for 3rd parties to query their databases. First, they'd have to settle on an API with all educational facilities, at least nationwide, probably even globally. Second of all, they can charge for a nice sum of money

  • For a split second I thought the Academy President was quite old indeed.
  • WTF is with that? If you lie on your resume, you are terminated immediately and walked out the door. What a bunch of two faced hypocrites. When's the last time that any of you were asked to resign because you screwed up? There are rules for the 99% and then the 1% get politely wrist slapped - don't do that again and here's your pension package. This is what's wrong with business today. The top 1% can do anything they want without repercussions while the 99% pay.

  • by houghi (78078) on Sunday July 28, 2013 @02:51AM (#44404743)

    Why not immediately? And resign?

    I live in Socialist Europe where people are protected by all kinds of laws. If you would be caught that you lied about a doctorate, that would mean immediate termination of your job. No compensation and no right on unemployment benefits.

    I am very much interested as to why she lied about that doctorate. For many jobs on that level they would ask 'doctorate or similar through experience'. As it is very unlikely that they hire a person at the age that has no experience, there would be no reason to lie about it.

    If a job actually requires a doctorate, it will be checked before you begin. Not 100% foolproof, but if you then get caught, immediate termination and possible lawsuits (depending on the case) will follow. Or: Go directly to jail; do not pass go, do not collect $200.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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