The CEO of a troubled chain of career colleges sent an email to his employees promising to challenge an effort to cut taxpayer aid to his schools and saying “it broke my heart” when he concluded that one of his employees had passed on a precedent e-mail to a website, namely this one.
Eric Juhlin, CEO of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, which runs the University of Independence Online, CollageAmerica, Stevens-Henager and other schools, reacted yesterday to a letter sent by nineteen student-friendly organizations, and myself, calling on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to cut federal scholarships and loans to CEHE schools, after a Colorado state judge in August found the operation responsible for defrauding students in violation of the state’s consumer protection law and awarded a judgment of $ 3 million.
Below is Mr. Juhlin’s full email. I will say that while it refers to “the employee” who shares Juhlin’s emails with me, in fact several employees do.
Above accounts I relayed on Wednesday a current and former employee of CEHE, I spoke this week with an instructor from the University of Independence who said, despite interacting with poor quality academic programs during a long teaching career, all new (low) level. The course materials provided by Independence “barely touch the subject, do not cover the same amount of content taught elsewhere, and the grading is set so that students can pass those courses without knowing anything just by taking or retaking the tests.” several times (or find the answers online and copy them). As for the students, which we reported, and the Colorado court found, are largely low-income people recruited by CEHE through aggressive and deceptive tactics, according to this instructor, “I would say the majority of students I have had lack basic writing and reading comprehension skills and can barely do elementary math. This instructor concludes, “There is no doubt in my mind that these students are being taken advantage of. “
Eric Juhlin may be sad, but what is really a shame is that hundreds of millions of dollars coming from students and most importantly from taxpayers – maybe some $ 233 million in the time since 2006 – in which the Colorado court found continued consumer violations – has been devoted to putting struggling Americans into CEHE programs that are ruining their financial futures. Much of this money has faded away at ultra-rich Carl Barney, who is Mr. Juhlin’s boss, Mr. Juhlin and other executives, and various marketing, advertising and recruiting efforts, rather than teaching. All that money could have been spent on higher education programs better suited to helping people prepare for careers and improve their lives.
Here is Juhlin’s letter:
Dear CEHE family:
I’m sure you’ve all, at one time or another, thought of your own (and that of others) [sic]) “leadership style”. We all have times (in our personal and professional lives) when we need to be a leader – and there are as many ‘styles’ of being a leader as there are. [sic] leaders. Ultimately, every leader is a human being and all human beings are unique with their own styles, behaviors, and inclinations.
If you’ve been with CEHE for a while, I hope you’ve recognized that one of my leadership styles is to lean towards “more” rather than “less” transparency. But as with any style, there are pros and cons (more on that later). Adhering to my favorite style, I wanted to give you a taste of a development today that will likely be covered in educational media tomorrow. In short, a group of longtime opponents and detractors of private career colleges submitted a joint letter to the US Department of Education arguing that CEHE colleges should lose their eligibility to continue participating in the programs. Federal Title IV financial aid due to the decision against CollegeAmerica and related parties (including me personally) in the Colorado litigation in 2014. I have attached a copy of the letter from this group that I received this afternoon.
I see no value in my discussing, reviewing, and explaining all of the errors, misrepresentations, lies and incorrect legal analysis that I (and CEHE’s legal / regulatory advisor) see in this letter. But I’m going to share a point that I think is essential that you be aware of and that highlights a lie in this letter. In Colorado’s decision, there was absolutely NO court order or legal finding of fraud against CollegeAmerica or any of the parties named in the lawsuit. But that does not prevent the authors of this letter, and perhaps the media as well, from trying to make this point or “twist” the decision to fit their own agendas.
What seems most important to me, as CEO of CEHE, is to share with you my position and CEHE’s strategy for moving forward. First, the whole Council and I vehemently disagree with this decision. There are a significant number of legal and other errors in this decision. CEHE will file at least one post-trial motion next week – and CEHE has already filed its notice of appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals. We have assembled an incredible legal team and the CEHE Board of Directors, the entire legal team, and I personally have absolute certainty that justice will prevail and that all or part of this unjust decision will be overturned or overturned by the Court. call. However, it will not be a quick process. My best guess is that we won’t have a decision from the Court of Appeal for 12 to 18 months. The rest of our strategy for moving forward is simple (and you’ve heard from me time and time again). We all come to work every day and do everything in our power to serve students, to continually improve our programs, curriculum, procedures, and to ensure the success of our students. This is really what matters the most !!!
What many of you may not know is that it took almost three years for the judge to render his decision after the trial was over (November 2017). In my opinion, this is unreasonable, unfair and unfair. I keep asking myself the same question: If this judge genuinely believed the evidence showed CollegeAmerica was harming consumers in Colorado, how could he have waited three years after the trial to act?
In January 2020 and May 2020, Carl Barney and I respectively filed personal complaints with the Colorado Commission on Judicial Review. In our complaints, we cited one of the grounds for judicial discipline which is “willful or persistent failure to perform judicial functions, including incompetent exercise of judicial functions”. The Commission acknowledged the judge’s delay and reviewed his persistent delay three times – ultimately issuing a reprimand to the judge (which is serious action). Eventually, the judge made his decision – but he did so at 4:30 a.m. on the same day in August that the Commission was due to reconsider his pending delay. In my view, these facts raise serious concerns as to whether the decision was tainted with retaliation.
I mentioned earlier that with any “style” there are pros and cons. One of the downsides of leaning towards ‘more’ transparency is the risk that employees (who may not be fully engaged in the organization) may take information that is supposed to remain internal and share it inappropriately outside. of our CEHE family with malicious intent. Unfortunately, this happened recently. Despite the notice at the bottom of every email I send to all employees (This message is intended only for the designated recipient (s) and contains inside, proprietary, or otherwise private information. have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any other use, distribution, transmission or sharing of this email in any way by you is strictly prohibited)[sic] several of my recent emails to all of you have been shared with one of the authors of the attached letter, Mr. David Halperin. And I have to assume that whoever that employee is, they’ll probably share this email with Mr. Halperin again. Nothing before in my professional career has brought me more sadness. Honestly, it broke my heart to learn that.
So let me say something else that you have heard me say over and over again. If you are not fully committed to CEHE, if you are not fully committed to adhering to our values, if you are not fully committed to our students, if you are not fully committed to supporting your colleagues and if you have any doubts about the integrity of this organization and the work we do – I beg you to go! You will be better elsewhere and this organization will be better without you. It’s a win-win!
And for everyone else – keep focusing on our students! Do everything you can to serve them and make them succeed! CEHE is a great organization, filled with amazing people, who care passionately about our students and each other. If we all work tirelessly every day to serve students and to continually strive to improve what we do, we will overcome any challenges that come our way.
Eric S. Juhlin | CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
UPDATE 25 / 10-20:
Last post from LinkedIn about who is viewing my profile: