O'Donnell lies about Oxford education

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O'Donnell lies about Oxford education
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 5:04pm

Another Christine O'Donnell embellishment: She misleadingly claims she studied at Oxford

September 28, 2010

In another move that will raise further questions about Christine O'Donnell's embellishment of her education record, she claims she studied at the University of Oxford -- but a look at her actual record shows this is at best an exaggeration and at worst an outright falsehood.

O'Donnell's LinkedIn bio page lists "University of Oxford" as one of the schools she attended, claiming she studied "Post Modernism in the New Millennium." But it turns out that was just a course conducted by an institution known as the Phoenix Institute, which merely rented space at Oxford.

What's more, the woman who oversaw Phoenix Institute's summer program at Oxford tells me O'Donnell's claim about studying at Oxford is "misleading."

By itself, O'Donnell's Oxford claim might not matter too much. But the larger context is that O'Donnell has already been nabbed fudging her education record not once, but twice. She claimed for several years to have graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson Unversity, but she actually obtained her bachelor's degree last summer. And in a lawsuit she suggested she was trying for a Master's degree courses at Princeton -- but subsequently acknowledged she hadn't taken a single Princeton graduate course.

O'Donnell's LinkedIn bio page lists the following under education:

Christine O'Donnell's Education

Fairleigh Dickinson University 1989 -- 1993

Claremont Graduate University

Constitutional Government

University of Oxford

"Post Modernism in the New Millennium"

Asked to account for the claim about Oxford, Diana Banister, a spokesperson for O'Donnell, told me it was a reference to a certificate she obtained from a course at Oxford overseen by the Phoenix Instutute, which "runs summer seminar programs at universities around the world." The Phoenix Institute defines itself as an institution that runs summer sessions "on three continents" in the quest to answer the question, "What is it to be human?"

But Chris Fletcher, who oversaw the Institute's 2001 Oxford Summer Programme, which included the course O'Donnell took, tells me the course was not overseen by Oxford.

"We never represented it as a course run by Oxford University," Fletcher, who is now an assistant professor of religious studies at Benedictine University in Illinois, told me. Fletcher said the only connection to Oxford is that they rented space there and organized some lectures with "guest lecturers from Oxford and Cambridge" as well as from other institutions.

"It wasn't an official course of Oxford University," Fletcher said. "It wasn't sponsored by Oxford University. We rented the space."

"It was our curriculum, and we did the grades," Fletcher continued. Fletcher's conclusion about O'Donnell's Oxford claim: "It's misleading."



Christine O'Donnell

Media Consultant and Political Commentator
Greater Philadelphia Area
Contact Christine O'Donnell
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Media Consultant and Political Commentator at various national media outlets

Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Intercollegiate Studies Institute
President and Founder at The SALT
Press Secretary at Concerned Women for America
Marketing Coordinator at Republican National Committee

Fairleigh Dickinson University
Claremont Graduate University
University of Oxford

84 connections

Political Organization



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2010
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 5:14pm
...but it WAS at Oxford. Perhaps the uncritical reader would mistake this as meaning she was an Oxford student. Instead she was a student at Oxford.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2007
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 5:33pm

As someone who will represent the United States in the US Senate, I'm less worried about how she listed her educational experience on a social media website than I am about the notion that she believes the existence of monkeys inherently disproves evolutionary science.

While I understand that all politics are local, once an individual is elected, they have an obligation to the country, not just their POV.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2009
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 6:32pm
I guess they are forgetting that Bush went to Yale?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2009
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 6:33pm

Well, I'd have to believe that in Delaware, they really don't care much about what their senator says.

After all, Joe Biden had this seat, and boy, didn't he tell a few whoppers about his education! Top half of his class in law school (He was 76th in a class of 85), full scholarship, he got 3 degrees (not!), and let's not forget the plagiarism.

O'Donnell has quite a way to go before she gets into Joe's territory of lies.

"Resist, we much. We must, and we much. About that, be committed."

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2010
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 6:47pm
LOL! I could never be a Republican. On one hand one must speak with disdain about "elite" universities and their "elite" graduates. On the other, one might use (or need) attendance at one of those "elite" universities on one's resume to get a great non-politics-related job. Ugh...It HAS to be difficult to straddle the anti-intellectual and intellectual worlds. In my heart, I don't believe that all Republicans want people to have less-than-excellent educations, but they're sort of stuck because they rely on anti-intellectual sentiment in one of their target voter demographics to demonize Democrats and win votes for Republicans.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2000
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 7:59pm

When did she say that she would turn Jews over to nazis?


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2009
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 9:15pm

O’DONNELL: You never have to practice deception. God always provides a way out.

So, one has to wonder why lying about your education is more important than lying to save someone's life? Or, didn't she trust God to find a way for her to get the jobs she got through deception?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2009
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 9:17pm
Yes, well for Cheney it might explain quite a bit...
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2000
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 9:26pm

Not adequate.

You said she "said she'd turn Jews over to Nazis rather than lying".

Neither your transcript nor the video support that.

I repeat, when and where did she say she would turn Jews over to Nazis rather than lying?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-16-2007
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 9:54pm

It won't faze any of her supporters. They are so blinded with manufactured injustices, they would elect a lamppost at this point.

Let's see if I have this right.....

Obama :