Dear Ms. Gilbertson (Dawn Gilbertson is a reporter for the Arizona Republic, i.e. AzCentral.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org),
As I write this e-mail, I wanted to share a little bit of my background. I am a former employee and student at University of Phoenix. More recently, I worked at Anthem College Online. Today, I am working on my Ph.D. with Walden University. As a current student, former online student and employee, I am passionate about education and remain active in helping with efforts to clean up a filthy industry: online education.
I do believe in online education and its primary purpose. The concept of online education is honorable because of its ability to create access to educational opportunities for those with no other choices. The failure of online education occurred at the time when the stream of revenue became more important than the student’s education. As a result, University of Phoenix and other online institutions have become chastised for low quality programs, business practices, unethical conduct, and illegal activities. At some point, the Department of Education would need to take charge of the industry, examine its practices, and if needed, implement policies and procedures aimed at the online education industry. At this juncture, the Department of Education’s policies and procedures focus on traditional ground campus institutions. Therefore, these policies and procedures are ineffective in overseeing the online education industry.
Over the last year, I have filed two lawsuits against University of Phoenix: age discrimination and retaliation. In addition, I have reported University of Phoenix and Anthem College Online to its accrediting bodies and the Department of Education for unethical business practices and illegal enrollment activities such as document falsification. In addition, I have worked with the producers from the PBS program Frontline and interviewed by the New York periodical FRONTLINE. I am currently working with a Special Agent from the Department of Education currently investigating online education practices. I have also been active in helping and speaking with former students, employees, and educators from the institutions.
Phoenix is the capital of online education enrollment. How many online institutions are located in the valley? While reporting on the University of Phoenix, I want to list other institutions worth reporting on that reside here in the valley. Those institutions are as follows: Kaplan University, Ottawa University, Everest College, University of Phoenix, EDMC (Art Institute, Argosy University, South University, Brown-Mackie), Grand Canyon University, Western International University, and Anthem College Online. These are not the only schools actively seeking students in the valley too.
I applaud the reporting and updates on University of Phoenix; however, I hope that you are not engrossed with one institution. All the institutions I have listed use the University of Phoenix as a model. Therefore, these institutions are subject to using the same business practices that Apollo Group has been accused of in the past and present. I urge you to spread your focus on these institutions as well.
In conclusion, I want to inform you of another issue regarding an online institution. Anthem College Online has a sexual harassment lawsuit currently active with the EEOC. Since I have been interviewed by the EEOC, I know the specifics of the case. The EEOC has a very strong case with Anthem College Online sexual harassment charge. Perhaps, the EEOC has a stronger case against Anthem College Online than its previous cases with the University of Phoenix for enrollment practices and LDS favoritism. I think you have another story just waiting to be told. Here is the link to the EEOC site regarding the Anthem College Online sexual harassment case: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-5-09d.cfm
Good luck. If you need any further information, please feel free to contact me.