Main Menu

Obama at Columbia College (or not?)

Columbia University, NY

You may recall that Pastor James David Manning has been spinning all sorts of theories about Barack Obama in his college years working for the CIA giving weapons to the Taliban (which didn’t even exist at the time). Those stories are supplemented by claims that no one at Columbia College remembers Obama. Add to that the millions that Obama has supposedly spent to keep all his records sealed. Obama’s two-year tenure at Columbia is reported from several sources including:

But the story just won’t come to rest. Enter Orly Taitz, intrepid reporter of stuff from databases. She has obtained from the National Student Clearinghouse web site a database query that says Barack Obama was only at Columbia College for 9 months,  9/1/1982-5/31/1983, rather than 2 years. So was Obama off becoming a Muslim in Pakistan or some such nefarious thing?

First of all, Taitz is in violation of that site’s terms of use that say:

No reproduction, distribution, or transmission of the copyrighted materials at this site is permitted without the written permission of the National Student Clearinghouse.

Of course rules don’t apply to Dr. Taitz, as we have seen numerous times before. The National Student Clearing House is a subscription web service, so I can’t check it myself. Most likely the information provided is incomplete.  If it is a mistake, it will no doubt be corrected in short order, and reported by the birthers as being “scrubbed.” In fact our illustrious Mario Apuzzo is claiming that the FactCheck.org article (cited above) will be scrubbed shortly.

The National Student Clearinghouse publishes this disclaimer:

All information verified is obtained directly and exclusively from the individual’s educational institution. The National Student Clearinghouse disclaims any responsibility or liability for errors or omissions, including direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages based in contract, tort or any other cause of action, resulting from the use of information supplied by the educational institution and provided by the National Student Clearinghouse. The National Student Clearinghouse also does not verify the accuracy or correctness of any information provided by the requestor.

I claim a fair use exception to the copyright in this citation.

Commenter Expelliarmus adds:

The clearinghouse provides different types of reports –” one is “degree verification”, which is what Orly ordered, and the other is “dates of attendance for someone who has not received a degree”. A dates of attendance report looks like this:
http://goo.gl/1waxC

You’ll note that each term of attendance appears on a separate line of the chart.

Here’s more information on how you find that:
http://goo.gl/9JV9E

If you look at the screenshot that Orly provided, you will see that there are two tabs– one for “abbreviated view” and one for “expanded view”. She has posted the abbreviated view. It is possible that there is a table showing all dates of attendance under the “expanded view” that she didn’t show us. But the main point is that she didn’t order a dates of attendance report –” she only ordered a degree verification report.

Since this service is provided for employers, once someone has earned a degree, the dates of attendance become irrelevant –” so there is no particular reason that a detailed report of all terms would be included within the degree verification report.

From the instructions, I don’t know if is possible to order a “dates of attendance” report for someone who has earned a degree… but in any case, we know from the screenshot that Orly posted that she ordered only the “degree verification”

 

 

Print Friendly

, , , , , , , , , , ,

34 Responses to Obama at Columbia College (or not?)

  1. avatar
    john March 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Let me guess, this is just an innocent error on the part of the party or system. Just like the SSN from CT, it’s just mistake made by the party, organization or system. All these little errors are just coincidences Doc, Right?

  2. avatar
    Scientist March 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    It’s possible to get a 4 year degree in 3 years if one has AP and other college credits from high school and/or takes summer classes. My son is in position to do that if he chooses. I will have to let him know that could disqualify him from ever being President.

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    john:
    Let me guess, this is just an innocent error on the part of the party or system.Just like the SSN from CT, it’s just mistake made by the party, organization or system.All these little errors are just coincidences Doc, Right?

    Well James (it’s really James isn’t it?), when I look back over every time somebody got my information in a database wrong, or an amazing coincidence happened, nothing surprises me like that.

    You may not have read this, but the same mistake that changes a Hawaii zip code to a Connecticut zip code (switching 9 and 0) happened to me when the IRS processed numbers on my Income Tax return. Oh and that letter that the computer sent poor Mrs. Richardson — I’ll never live that one down.

  4. avatar
    Daniel March 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Well John/James

    From what I can see… we only have Orly’s word that’s what the report says. Orly’s word, and a dollar, will get you a cup of codffee… as long as the coffee only costs a dollar.

    There’s a whole passel of reasons why the report, if it’s legitimate, shows the dates claimed.

    The interesting point is that there’s no birthers apparently honest enough to admit that Obama obviously DID attend Columbia…. they just move on to another wild goose chase.

  5. avatar
    The Magic M March 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    > I will have to let him know that could disqualify him from ever being President.

    Well, if your son is white, I’m sure the issue will never be brought up by any birther. ;)

  6. avatar
    The Magic M March 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    > The interesting point is that there’s no birthers apparently honest enough to admit that Obama obviously DID attend Columbia…. they just move on to another wild goose chase.

    As I’ve said before, they were never interested in finding *the* argument that disqualifies Obama. They’re only interested in piling up 100 or 200 pseudo-arguments that are supposed to sway the gullible people by their sheer mass.

  7. avatar
    gorefan March 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    There is also this New York Times article which shows pictures of his roomates and two entries from the Columbia Student Directories. There is also his article from the March, 1983 Student Newspaper.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/recollections-of-obamas-ex-roommate/

  8. avatar
    Scientist March 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    john: I wonder if you could explain to me how being in the CIA disqualifies one from being President. Thanks for your help.

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Scientist:
    It’s possible to get a 4 year degree in 3 years if one has AP and other college credits from high school and/or takes summer classes.My son is in position to do that if he chooses.I will have to let him know that could disqualify him from ever being President.

    That’s true. My son finished UC Berkeley in just over 3 years by attending summer school.

  10. avatar
    Keith March 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Scientist:
    john: I wonder if you could explain to me how being in the CIA disqualifies one from being President.Thanks for your help.

    Are you a front organization for George Bush?

  11. avatar
    Expelliarmus March 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    In order to verify a subject’s dates of attendance, degrees, and other educational achievements, the Requestor must certify that the student has applied for or received products, services or employment that depend upon verification of degree and/or enrollment.

    A Requestor may obtain information from the Clearinghouse under this Agreement on behalf of an employer, employment agency, background screening firms or similar organizations, and may release the information to that other entity. The Requestor agrees that it will not otherwise release, transfer, distribute, share or redisclose any information that it has obtained from the Clearinghouse to any other entity or individual, whether for sale or free of charge, except to the student or certificate holder whose information was verified.

    See: http://goo.gl/TX8g3

  12. avatar
    Sean March 26, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    When you say “Nobody knew him back then” you’re almost implying that someone is required to be famous all their lives, or be forced to justify your existence.

    Normally, a politician has to justify the demons of their past. But if you’re like Obama, and happen to not have any skeletons in the closet (bad business deals, drug or alcohol busts, sex scandals, divorce etc…) folks have to pretend those skeletons are there by asking “what does he have to hide?”

  13. avatar
    Expelliarmus March 26, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    I think the problem is simply that Orly doesn’t know how to read the report she ordered, or else she has posted a deliberately misleading image.

    The clearinghouse provides different types of reports — one is “degree verification”, which is what Orly ordered, and the other is “dates of attendance for someone who has not received a degree”. A dates of attendance report looks like this:
    http://goo.gl/1waxC

    You’ll note that each term of attendance appears on a separate line of the chart.

    Here’s more information on how you find that:
    http://goo.gl/9JV9E

    If you look at the screenshot that Orly provided, you will see that there are two tabs– one for “abbreviated view” and one for “expanded view”. She has posted the abbreviated view. It is possible that there is a table showing all dates of attendance under the “expanded view” that she didn’t show us. But the main point is that she didn’t order a dates of attendance report — she only ordered a degree verification report.

    Since this service is provided for employers, once someone has earned a degree, the dates of attendance become irrelevant — so there is no particular reason that a detailed report of all terms would be included within the degree verification report.

    From the instructions, I don’t know if is possible to order a “dates of attendance” report for someone who has earned a degree… but in any case, we know from the screenshot that Orly posted that she ordered only the “degree verification”

    Which means that Orly has done us all the favor of verifying that Obama did indeed earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Columbia University in May of 1983.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 26, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Expelliarmus: The clearinghouse provides different types of reports — one is “degree verification”, which is what Orly ordered, and the other is “dates of attendance for someone who has not received a degree”

    I have added your important comment to the article.

  15. avatar
    Northland10 March 26, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Daniel: From what I can see… we only have Orly’s word that’s what the report says. Orly’s word, and a dollar, will get you a cup of codffee… as long as the coffee only costs a dollar.

    Remember to go to Orly’s favorite coffee shop and see famous people:

    http://www.coffeebeanery.com/information/?page_id=1100

  16. avatar
    squee March 26, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Over at The Fogbow, they gave a listing of the “Columbia” colleges that subscribe to the NSC:
    ——————————————————–

    COLUMBIA BASIN COLLEGE 003774 WA PASCO
    COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE AND SEMINARY 003429 SC COLUMBIA
    COLUMBIA BIBLICAL SEMINARY & SCHOOL OF MISSIONS 003429 SC COLUMBIA
    COLUMBIA COLLEGE 007707 CA SONORA
    COLUMBIA COLLEGE 002456 MO COLUMBIA
    COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO 001665 IL CHICAGO
    COLUMBIA GORGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 003213 OR PORTLAND
    COLUMBIA GREENE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 006789 NY HUDSON
    COLUMBIA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY 003429 SC COLUMBIA
    COLUMBIA STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 003483 TN COLUMBIA
    COLUMBIA-GREENE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 006789 NY HUDSON
    ———————————————————-

    As you can see, Columbia University – the school that our President attended – is not even listed as one of their subscriber schools. The only one listed for NY is the *community* college

  17. avatar
    Steve March 26, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Sean: When you say “Nobody knew him back then” you’re almost implying that someone is required to be famous all their lives, or be forced to justify your existence. Normally, a politician has to justify the demons of their past. But if you’re like Obama, and happen to not have any skeletons in the closet (bad business deals, drug or alcohol busts, sex scandals, divorce etc…) folks have to pretend those skeletons are there by asking “what does he have to hide?”

    The guy who called me an “airhead” when I challenged him on the “nobody remembers Obama when he was at Columbia” thing didn’t claim that Obama did not attend or graduate from Columbia, but rather that it speaks to his leadership ability or lack thereof, that if he was not a leader duing his college years, how could he be one now. And anyone who kept such a low profile in college could not be Presidential material. The guy (John T. Reed) went to West Point and says that leadership ability is something you either have or you don’t or if you don’t learn it at an early age, you never do.
    He also found it telling that Sarah Palin was captain of her high school basketball team and Obama was not.
    I don’t know enough about leadership to challenge him on those things.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 26, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    squee: As you can see, Columbia University – the school that our President attended – is not even listed as one of their subscriber schools. The only one listed for NY is the *community* college

    Something is wrong there. Columbia University says that all degree verification is done through the National Student Clearinghouse:

    http://registrar.columbia.edu/employers-insurers/degree-verification

    To verify a Columbia University degree, please contact the National Student Clearinghouse. They may also be reached by phone at (703) 742-4200.

  19. avatar
    Sef March 26, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Steve: The guy (John T. Reed) went to West Point and says that leadership ability is something you either have or you don’t or if you don’t learn it at an early age, you never do.

    Never heard of him.

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 26, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Steve: I don’t know enough about leadership to challenge him on those things.

    The fact that Obama is President of the United States is evidence of his leadership skills. His passage of health care legislation is proof. His continued positive approval ratings in the face of economic hardship, war, and relentless criticism from Republicans is further proof.

  21. avatar
    ASK Esq March 26, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    I’d just like an explanation for why they’re now saying this proves that he was in Pakistan for the alleged missing year, apparently being indoctrinated as either a Muslim extremist terrorist or maybe working for the CIA. It gets murky.

    Apparently, if he wasn’t attending Columbia that year, there is no other place on the planet he could have been except Pakistan.

  22. avatar
    Slartibartfast March 26, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Sef: Never heard of him.

    Besides, if Mr. Reed is such a great leader, why didn’t he win the presidency? What is he hiding?

  23. avatar
    Majority Will March 26, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Slartibartfast: Besides, if Mr. Reed is such a great leader, why didn’t he win the presidency?What is he hiding?

    Is John T. Reed who went to West Point on the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

    I don’t see his name.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Chiefs_of_Staff#Current_Members_of_the_Joint_Chiefs_of_Staff

    http://www.jcs.mil/

  24. avatar
    Steve March 26, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Majority Will: Is John T. Reed who went to West Point on the Joint Chiefs of Staff?I don’t see his name.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Chiefs_of_Staff#Current_Members_of_the_Joint_Chiefs_of_Staffhttp://www.jcs.mil/

    No, it’s a different Reed.
    Here is the article in question:

    http://johntreed.com/headline/2010/09/30/barack-obama-is-no-leader/

  25. avatar
    Majority Will March 26, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Steve: No, it’s a different Reed.
    Here is the article in question:

    http://johntreed.com/headline/2010/09/30/barack-obama-is-no-leader/

    Right. It’s this guy, “I do not see myself as a great leader. I am the kind of guy who comes in second for home room representative, gets selected team captain or club president occasionally. I am not the type who gets elected fraternity president, class president, mayor, or any of that.”

    Who then says, “I know how to lead.”

    He sounds real confused on what he knows and believes.

  26. avatar
    Daniel March 26, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Steve: He also found it telling that Sarah Palin was captain of her high school basketball team and Obama was not.
    I don’t know enough about leadership to challenge him on those things.

    Actually, I think you do.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 26, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    ASK Esq: Apparently, if he wasn’t attending Columbia that year, there is no other place on the planet he could have been except Pakistan.

    It’s a small world.

  28. avatar
    Mary Adams March 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Expelliarmus: From the instructions, I don’t know if is possible to order a “dates of attendance” report for someone who has earned a degree…

    Yes. And they ARE separate transactions:

    “If you already submitted a degree verification and need the attendance dates, please send an email to degreeverify@studentclearinghouse.org, including the transaction ID of your original request, and we will email the attendance dates to you at no extra charge.”

    http://help.studentclearinghouse.org/NSCHelp/server?%26area%3DDV%26mgr%3Dagm%26agt%3Dwsm%26wnd%3DDV%20Commercial|DegreeVerify%20Help%26tpc%3D%2FNSCHelp%2FNSCHelp%2Fserver%2FDV%2Fprojects%2FDV%20Commercial%2FIntroduction.htm%3FRINoLog28301%3DT%26ctxid%3D%26project%3DDV%20Commercial

  29. avatar
    Eglenn harcsar March 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    I hope you enjoy the good humor of John prines Jesus the missing years

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ1LC7AotNE

  30. avatar
    Expelliarmus March 26, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Columbia University says that all degree verification is done through the National Student Clearinghouse

    It’s listed as school #002707 on the schedule of fees charged for each school, here:
    http://goo.gl/OgxLk — under “List of DegreeVerify Schools & Fees”

    The list that was (apparently) posted at Fogbow is a different list — the list of enrollment verifying schools — see:
    http://goo.gl/iZSxd

    When you pull up the links, you’ll see the difference in page titles as well as URL’s.

    One is “Enrollment Verify School Participants” with ev_ParticipatingSchools.asp at the end of the URL; the other page is DegreeVerify School Participants (title in source code only, not displayed on page – it should show up on the browser tab) – with a URL of dv_ParticipatingSchools.asp

    So it looks like the poster over at Fogbow made the same mistake of confusing “enrollment verification” with “degree verification” — and it looks like Columbia U. does not participate in the enrollment verification system, just degree verification.

    Here are instructions to colleges that show that signing up for Enrollment Verification is a separate agreement (probably at an extra cost to the college):
    http://www.studentclearinghouse.org/colleges/ev/default.htm

    COLUMBIA STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 003483 TN COLUMBIA 07/16/2010 $6.50 $5.00
    COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK 002707 NY NEW YORK 12/10/2003 $10.00 $8.50
    COLUMBIA-GREENE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 006789 NY HUDSON 04/13/2006 $6.50 $5.00

    (The date after each college indicates the time when they joined the clearinghouse)

    I think one reason that enrollment dates don’t always show up on a degree verification is that they are not all digitalized. There is specific reference to that issue on the fact, with respect to older records. It is likely that the database simply includes the year of graduation for the older records — if data had to be hand entered, it would be simple enough to enter in the enrollment dates for that particular year as part of a batch entry, but it would have been a separate and more cumbersome step to enter in a full set of enrollment dates for each of the graduates. Degree verification would be a higher priority, since it is probably very rare to get an enrollment verification request for older records.

  31. avatar
    Expelliarmus March 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    Just to clarify my post above — the list I posted above with 3 colleges, including Columbia U — is from the degree verification list — I kind of went off track in the middle explaining the different lists and forgot to clearly label the list I was posting.

  32. avatar
    The Magic M March 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    > Apparently, if he wasn’t attending Columbia that year, there is no other place on the planet he could have been except Pakistan.

    And if he had indeed lived there for a year, there is no way he could not have been “indoctrinated” by the evil Zia Ul-Haq. *sigh*
    By that birther logic, they would themselves all be “indoctrinated” by da ebil usurrpurr they’ve been living under for *three years* now. Again things don’t add up for them, but when do they ever…

  33. avatar
    Zuzu March 28, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    That New York Sun article is full of lousy information, not to mention silly speculation.

    For instance, if Goldberg had spent 20 seconds on Google, he would know why Obama did not graduate with honors from Columbia:

    “The designations cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude are academic honors determined by an undergraduate student’s cumulative GPA based on coursework taken at Columbia University once a student has matriculated within the School of General Studies. To be eligible for school honors, a student must have taken at least 64 credits of coursework at General Studies.”

    http://www.gs.columbia.edu/academic-honors

    As these 64 credits represent more than half of the 124 credits needed to graduate from Columbia, few two-year transfer students would qualify for honors.

  34. avatar
    elmo March 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Oh, he was at Columbia during the ’81/82 academic year.

    http://www.college.columbia.edu/cct/jan_feb09/alumni_corner

99999 00000
?????????