Rutgers Business School inflated its rankings by creating fake jobs for its graduates, according to an allegation in a whistleblower lawsuit filed Friday.
Deidre White, the business school’s human resources manager, claimed in her lawsuit that the university created fake jobs to show that the school’s graduates had no difficulty finding work. But after she revealed the alleged scheme and refused to comply, White asserted that she faced unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
The lawsuit alleges that business school administrators used a temporary agency called Adecco Career Services to hire MBA graduates who had yet to find work and place them in fictitious positions at the university. That created the false impression that “post-graduation employment is almost guaranteed,” the lawsuit said.
The suit alleges that the business school used more than $400,000 from the university’s endowment to fund the positions and pay Adecco to manufacture the program.
“This is a blatant effort to give the impression of a higher overall full-time employability rating by a third party and to deceive the accused Rutgers’ ‘ranking’ in key media such as U.S. News & World Report,” the lawsuit said.
Rutgers University did not immediately respond chronicleA request for comment was made Friday afternoon, but the university told NJ.com it denied claims of fraud.
“We take seriously our obligation to accurately report data and other information to ranking and reporting agencies,” the university said in a statement to the news site. “The Rutgers School of Business strictly follows the MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance guidelines when submitting MBA statistics, and similarly follows appropriate guidelines when submitting undergraduate statistics.”
According to the university’s website, the business school is ranked in the top 10 for MBA employment outcomes and is ranked as one of the best business schools in the Northeast. U.S. News & World ReportBut White’s lawsuit alleges that the business school did so by knowingly reporting false data and making misleading claims in marketing materials. The lawsuit alleges that the school falsely claimed that unemployed students were taking full-time MBA-level jobs at third-party companies in hopes of attracting more students, tuition and high rankings.
White, 54, said she became aware of and exposed the scheme in March, but the university did nothing to investigate it, according to the lawsuit. White claims she was ignored and ostracized by her department, and that her refusal to engage in the alleged fraud exposed her to retaliation from her superiors. It was so bad that her health “would deteriorated physically,” the lawsuit said.