AUGUST 08, 2007
Although the State Department supposedly restricted foreign student visas because many of the September 11 terrorists used them to enter the U.S., an admissions clerk in the nation’s largest public university system has been caught accepting bribes to fast track foreign students’ applications, many from the Middle East.
The woman worked at one of the biggest schools within the California State University system, which has 23 campuses, a total enrollment of about half a million students and a faculty of 46,000. The bribed admissions clerk (Cathleen Smith) worked at Cal State Fullerton, a sprawling campus with an enrollment of about 35,000 in Southern California’s Orange County.
Smith was caught and arrested after an internal investigation revealed coding irregularities on the applications of foreign students. She eventually admitted taking $2,000 to speed the admissions of two brothers from Kuwait but insisted it was a gift for her help and not a bribe.
This case raises questions about the State Department’s promise to heavily monitor the foreign student visa program after it was exploited by terrorists to attack the country in 2001. Most of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals who studied aviation in the U.S. and used government-issued student visas to enter the country.
If a clerk at a taxpayer funded university can so easily speed up the admissions of foreign students who should otherwise undergo more scrutiny, perhaps the State Department needs to reevaluate its new and improved foreign student visa program.
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