MIT dean of admissions confesses fraud, resigns

Marilee Jones, dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., resigned Wednesday after university officials discovered she had fabricated her academic credentials.

Jones’ resume stated that she had earned degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College and Albany Medical College, but MIT administrators said these were all false claims. After receiving a phone call last week suggesting that the university investigate Jones’ credentials, MIT officials determined that Jones had misrepresented her academic record. Jones, whose resignation was effective immediately, worked at MIT for 28 years and had acted as dean of admissions since 1997.

Senior Associate Director of Admissions Stuart Schmill will act as interim director of admissions, and a search for a new dean of admissions will begin presently, MIT Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel Hastings said in an e-mail to the MIT community Wednesday.

Jones issued a statement explaining that she had falsified her resume when she first applied for a lower-level position at the university.

“I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to MIT 28 years ago and did not have the courage to correct my resume when I applied for my current job or at any time since,” she wrote. “I am deeply sorry for this and for disappointing so many in the MIT community and beyond who supported me, believed in me, and who have given me extraordinary opportunities.”

MIT students said that overall, the student body is not particularly concerned about Jones’s deception.

Sophomore Ross Goodwin said that while some students had voiced concern that Jones’s lies could raise questions about the integrity of the admissions process, students are not expressing feelings of betrayal.

“It doesn’t strike me as very strange that people here aren’t taking this particularly seriously,” he said. “People here are fairly arrogant, enough to believe they would have gotten in no matter what the circumstances, so there really isn’t any reason for them to think this would have affected their applications.”

But Goodwin said there have been e-mails and jokes circulating campus regarding the incident.

Hastings said the MIT admissions office, which is awaiting responses from students admitted to the class of 2011, will continue to conduct business as usual in the aftermath of Jones’s resignation.

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