As described in another post, I filed a complaint, against Indiana University, with the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) on June 17, 2009. That was five years ago today. It may seem hard to believe, but I am still waiting for them to make a final decision on that complaint.
A separate series of posts in this blog describes the underlying events. DoE’s Chicago office dragged things out and eventually reached a deeply biased initial conclusion, from which I appealed in spring 2010. That’s where things have remained ever since. So today marks five years from the original complaint, and more than four years from the appeal.
It’s not as though DoE has misplaced the appeal. Inquiries every year or so have drawn recurrent assurances that the thing is almost done; they are almost ready to make a decision. For instance, here is last year’s letter from Maria-Teresa Cueva at DoE (click to enlarge):
I have written to others, including the White House, about this inordinate delay. Of course, President Obama is busy. But it does seem that I had the misfortune of filing a complaint during the first year of his administration, and may have to wait until (or beyond) the last year of that administration before DoE is finally compelled to take action.
I, myself, am not a Republican. But I have to say, this experience does help me to understand why some Republicans want to abolish DoE. It seems the agency mishandles many things, often for politically expedient purposes. In this case, it would apparently be embarrassing to admit that Indiana University had fostered the astounding acts documented in my case. DoE is supposed to be monitoring such institutions, to insure that billions of dollars in student loans are being well-spent.
The situation is very simple. I went back to graduate school as a former New York attorney, not looking for trouble but able to detect and speak about egregious abuses. As I have elaborated elsewhere, higher education has become rife with such abuses, due to enjoyment of very little oversight for a very long period of time. There was going to be a collision.
That collision was going to yield quite a few discoveries and reflections on my part, and retaliation on the part of the deans and faculty members who discovered that I was not like other graduate students in these particular departments, willing to indulge atrocious faculty behavior for the sake of my own future success and to hell with everyone else.
In the end, Indiana University took away a degree on which I had spent years, and many thousands of dollars. I want it back. By now, I have more than earned it. And someday, perhaps, some person of integrity at DoE (never mind IU) will do his/her job and make a fair decision on my case. It is just sad, and pathetic, this this should be something that a person has to wish for.