March 18, 2011

Vassar's AAVC: Colorado Mayor Actually IS An Alumna

Did you see our post about a Colorado mayor who caused a scandal after she lied about graduating from Vassar? Now the AAVC is actually defending her, saying that she does technically count as a Vassar alumna. In a letter to the Daily Camera, which helped break the story about mayor Susan Osborne, Executive Director of AAVC Patricia Lichtenberg '90 writes:

"I am confirming that Susan Osborne ’66 is an alumna of Vassar College. Although Ms. Osborne did not complete her degree at Vassar, she was a matriculant here, a status that qualifies her to be a Vassar alumna once her class has graduated. Indeed, she is an alumna in good standing and we are proud to include her in the ranks of our more than 36,000 alumnae and alumni worldwide."


Victoria Balfour said...

Yes, I saw Lichtenberg's odd defense of Osborne.

Here is the email I sent to Lichtenberg this morning. I have not received a response:


The point of the Susan Osborne story is that she has deceived the public and lied on her government web page and a number of other places by stating that she has a BA from Vassar. This has nothing to do with whether Vassar considers her an alum once her class graduated. It's about lying to the public.

And as a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post and who has caught famous people doing this sort of thing before - including a singer who claimed he had been nominated for a Pulitzer- you and Vassar are are sending the wrong message by not condoning Osborne's false statements.

Sorry- a public official who has lied about her educational credentials is not an alumna in good standing. I have heard from a large number of actual Vassar grads and faculty- as well as hundreds of strangers from around the country- thanking me for pointing out the hypocrisy and their disgust with Osborne.

Vassar would do well to make a statement expressing their disappointment in Osborne's false statement. Vassar grads and current students should know about not just the accomplishments that Vassar alums achieve, but their problems and mistakes.

Lying on your resume is not something you want future Vassar grads to be caught doing in the future.

- Victoria Balfour' 77

one two six oh four said...

Mads, does this mean you'll start referring to Anne Hathaway as a Vassar alumna instead of a Vassar drop-out? ;)

Sarah N. said...

I think the AAVC is employing a preposterous use of "alumna." While the term can refer to a student who did not graduate, I would strongly argue that in common usage an alumna must be a graduate.

Call me a snob if you will, but if a person has labeled herself an alumna, she better have graduated from here. I respect the work of my classmates who completed their degrees at VC. I will not lump them in the same group as the dropouts.

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