More on Trump University

As Donald Trump’s opponents have tried to substantiate their assertions that he is a confidence man, fresh attention has been given to the class-action lawsuits filed by former students of Trump University and the $40 million suit filed by the attorney general of New York state.

Writing for the Daily Beast, Olivia Nuzzi and Kate Briquelet report that “Trump University Hired Motivational Speakers and a Felon as Faculty.”

The whole article is very much worth reading, but here are a few of the more important points that the authors make, at least in my view:

“Trump, who once boasted he “hand-picked” the university’s faculty, now claims that he doesn’t remember Harris [the ‘felon’] or anybody else he employed. But lots of others do remember Harris—his name has appeared 17 times in affidavits. Trump, who is set to be a witness this coming spring or summer when one of the California cases goes to trial, will have to answer for his school’s failings and questionable associations not only on the stand, but out on the campaign trail and the debate stage as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.”

“[Trump University] was an obvious effort to capitalize on the runaway success of The Apprentice, which had debuted a year earlier and averaged 28 million viewers, but it was also, to hear Trump and his faculty explain it at the time, a gung-ho attempt to remodel education for the digital age—to make the sort of ideas once only accessible to the privileged few in the ivory towers of academia available to the reality television-viewing masses.

“Students wouldn’t get degrees, but they would get experience and that experience, Trump explicitly promised in a collection of textbooks, could help them ‘Make Your Fortune in Real Estate.’

“’People are looking beyond the traditional business education model, which involves hours in the classroom and relies primarily on book learning,’ Trump told reporters the day of the launch, in Trump Tower. ‘It’s really going to help a lot of people, which is what we really wanted to do.’

“’I love the concept,’ he added, ‘of starting what I think will be a great university.’

“From the outset, Trump University’s roster of brainy professors was a selling point. In a promotional video, Trump said, ‘I have terrific people coming in and we’re going to have professors and adjunct professors—absolutely terrific. Terrific people, terrific brains, successful, the best.’

“He added, ‘We are going to have the best of the best and honestly if you don’t learn from them, if you don’t learn from me, if you don’t learn from the people that we are going to be putting forward, and these are all people that are hand-picked by me, then you’re just not gonna make it in terms of the world of success—and that’s OK! But you’re not gonna make it in terms of success.’”

The echoes in Trump’s stump riffs and rants (I cannot bring myself to call them “speeches”) should be all too obvious to anyone who has listened to any of them over the last six months.

So, since Trump seems to now be promising to do for America what he did for the students who enrolled in Trump University, the graphic that accompanies the article in the Daily Beast seems all too apt:

Make America Dumb Again []

Nuzzi and Briquelet’s complete article is available at:



3 thoughts on “More on Trump University

  1. It seems to escape him that in a REAL university we try to teach students not to make sweeping general assertions in empty language, but to offer limited hypotheses or claims that they will then proceed to clarify, test, and support with concrete evidence. Anyone can claim that something he or she is going to do is great, amazing, and terrific; responsible people recognize that such boasts are not evidence or self-evident. Go back to college, Donald, and start over. Of course, who am I to talk?–unlike his hand-picked terrific faculty, I have never achieved 98% top ratings on a set of student evaluations! (Today’s NY Times reports the testimony of many students who said they were told how to fill out the evaluations, sometimes by faculty who claimed they wouldn’t be rehired unless they presented perfect evaluation scores.)

  2. The New York Times ran a good piece on this Trump scam here:

    The San Francisco Chronicle ran this piece: (may be behind a pay wall). In that article one former Trump U. “student” says of Trump’s presidential campaign, “My first thought was, he’s gonna play this country like he played me.”

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