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University of Oklahoma faces class-action lawsuit for inflated donation reports

Inflation began back in 1999

The University of Oklahoma could be paying a legal price for engaging in fraudulent reporting regarding its alumni donations.

Earlier this month U.S. News and World Report, which annually ranks colleges and universities nationwide, announced that the University of Oklahoma has been removed from the ranked list for providing the magazine with false information about its alumni giving rate.

The publication ranks schools based upon “tens of thousands of data points” collected “from the schools themselves and other sources, including the U.S. Department of Education, state and local governments and higher education associations,” according to the magazine’s website. The alumni giving rate “has a weight of 5 percent in the Best Colleges ranking methodology,” the publication says.

According to U.S. News, the school had been falsely reporting higher alumni donations to the school for 20 years.  The university “originally reported its two-year alumni giving rate at 14 percent. The school informed U.S. News the correct value is 9.7 percent.”

Lawsuit over inflated ranking

Now the university is facing a class action lawsuit, the school’s newspaper The OU Daily reports. The suit was filed on behalf of a former student as well as the at-least 350,000 people who have passed through the university since the school began reporting false numbers in 1999, the newspaper says.

The Daily reports that a university spokesperson said the school was aware of the lawsuit but had yet to be served.

The donation inflation occurred during the presidency of David Boren, who resigned last year after 24 years as president amidst allegations that he had sexually harassed male aides. The fraudulent numbers were discovered under the presidency of James Gallogy, Boren’s successor who also resigned earlier this month after a brief, tumultuous presidency.

Read U.S. News‘s report here, and The Daily’s report here.

MORE: US News rankings fraud: five colleges misreported data

IMAGE: Maksim Kabakou / Shutterstock.com

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