Chicago State University Dean Carmita Coleman Face...

Chicago State University Dean Carmita Coleman Faces Embezzlement Charges

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) has accused Chicago State University’s interim dean of misappropriating $650,000 of program money for personal use.  SNPhA—a national organization aimed at supporting people of color in healthcare fields—alleges CSU’s dean intentionally misused funds over her five-year tenure.

If true, this is a really pretty awful betrayal of a worthwhile organization, a high-ranking administrator stealing money from students of color. Even as 2014, pharmacists are overwhelmingly white,  so SNPhA does valuable work. If the dean is guilty, I hope the consequences are appropriate.

But white collar crime in academia extends past this single case. A report from the “I get why you’re calling it that but is this seriously its name” publication Fraud Magazine highlights the ways colleges are uniquely susceptible to embezzlement. “An atmosphere of openness and collegiality, and faculty members who don’t want to be controlled, can lead to a lack of segregation of duties and independent oversight,” the report reads. Moreover, it alleges that colleges will underreport white collar crime to save their own image. It’s possible that, had dean allegedly taken the money from CSU and not a national organization, we wouldn’t be hearing about this at all. And if colleges are downplaying embezzlement, that makes the amount we do learn about pretty disturbing.

How do we keep colleges safe from white collar crime? Let us know in the comments, because I have no idea.

(Photo of Stroud Purple Pharmacy. Courtesy: Barry W.)


About Stewart Finnegan

In a perfect world, I'd be a professor who teaches poetry using episodes of mediocre sci-fi procedurals, but for now, I'm just a tutor who watches a lot of TV. I got my BA from Kalamazoo College in English with a focus on creative writing, and someday soon I'd like to go back to academia. Most of my formal teaching training was as a creative writing TA, but I've used those skills professionally more to tutor math and write data entry training materials. And though I'd like to focus my work on what I'm really passionate about (which is Netflix binges and outdated video games, mostly), it's the craft of teaching and writing that keeps me coming back. That's why I'm excited to be a part of High Faluter: I'm finding that academia doesn't just stay in academia. And if I can bring crappy midbrow entertainment into academia too, well, all the better. You can find me on Twitter: @StewartFinnegan