UPenn Professor Calls To Investigate Validity Of Trump’s Admission To Wharton After Cheating Allegations Surface
Eric Orts, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, renewed a request for the school to investigate President Donald Trump‘s transfer admission due to “new evidence” of secret audiotapes in which the president’s sister claims a friend took the SAT in lieu of Trump.
Orts is one of six faculty members who asked the university’s provost earlier in the summer to look into how Trump’s admission to the school came to be, after his niece Mary Trump, wrote in her tell-all book that the president paid someone else to take his SAT.
The professors wrote in the initial letter that “failing to investigate an allegation of fraud at such a level broadcasts to prospective students and the world at large that the playing field is not equal, that our degrees can be bought, and that subsequent fame, wealth, and political status will excuse past misconduct.” The school rejected the request in July, according to the student-run Daily Pennsylvanian.
The provost, Wendell Pritchett, wrote back to Orts on July 20 that “we certainly share your concerns about these allegations and the integrity of our admissions process.”
Pritchett continued: “However, as you suggest in your message, we have determined that this situation occurred too far in the past to make a useful or probative factual inquiry possible. If new evidence surfaces to substantiate the claim in the future, we will continue to be open to investigating it.”
The audiotapes in question were published by the Washington Post on Saturday. They included a tape of conversations in 2018 and 2019 between Mary Trump and the president’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry.
In one recording, Barry said she did the president’s homework and “drove him around New York City to try to get him into college.” Trump, who completed his first two years of college at Fordham University, transferred to Penn’s Wharton School the beginning of junior year in 1966, which Barry said is “because he had somebody take the exams.”
The Post reported last year that the admissions official who interviewed Trump, James Nolan, was a close friend of Fred Trump Jr. – the president’s brother. However, Nolan noted that most transfer applicants used SAT scores from the first university they were transferring from.
He said last year that it was significantly easier to gain admission to Penn when Trump applied, with more than a 50% acceptance rate and even higher rates for transfer applicants. Last year, the admission rate was 7.7%.
Trump has capitalized on Penn’s current reputation, calling it “the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world” and “super genius stuff.”
Nolan, however, painted a different picture.
“It was not very difficult,” he said last year of Trump’s admission, adding: “I certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius. Certainly not a super genius.”
In a recent interview with the Post, Nolan said that the new evidence could put Trump’s degree in jeopardy.
“The allegation was made,” he said. “If indeed he falsified his application – even though it is  years ago – his admission should be withdrawn and therefore his degree would be null and void.”
Orts sent the provost an email claiming the audio constituted “new evidence,” and requested that follow-up correspondence be directed to solely him, not the original group of six professors.
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