CMC Admission Dean Resigns Over SAT Scandal

After the uncovering of false SAT reporting at Claremont McKenna College yesterday morning, Richard Vos, former Vice President & Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, offered his resignation to the college. A report from the Chronicle of Higher Education noted that Max Benavidez, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs, Communications, and Marketing, "confirmed that Mr. Vos is no longer employed by the college."

Mr. Vos’s resignation followed an email message sent yesterday, Monday, January 30, to the CMC community from President Pamela Gann. In the memo sent to students, faculty, alumni, and others close to the college, President Gann stated that “a senior administrator” at the college had taken sole responsibility for falsifying SAT statistics since 2005.

SAT scores on the critical reading and math sections of the test were "generally inflated by an average of 10-20 points each," according to President Gann's message. The most recent scores for the fall 2010 class given to publications like U.S. News and World Report reported an inaccurate 75th percentile score of 1,510 when the actual score should have been 1,480.

In a Tuesday morning meeting with the Forum, Mr. Benavidez confirmed that someone from within the college informed President Gann of the fudged SAT reports.

"This only came to our attention this month, in January," said Mr. Benavidez. "It's still January, and the matter has been resolved, in the sense that the person who took sole responsibility stepped forward, resigned, and is no longer with the college."

Mr. Benavidez confirmed that the college engaged in the outside legal counsel of O'Melveny & Myers and believes the firm was brought in as of last week.

The news has propelled the college into the national spotlight, gaining attention from CNN, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Benavidez also made a statement to the Forum over the phone on Tuesday morning, stating that, "We moved quickly, took care of the matter, and now we're fixing it. That's what people have to focus on."

The last official piece of news from the college was President Gann's email memo sent at 11:42 AM on Monday morning, and the school is awaiting further developments.

According to Mr. Benavidez, the school plans to announce the next head of the admissions office in the near future, now that Mr. Vos has resigned. Mr. Benavidez could not provide any additional details on this announcement.

"We had the facts before us and took care of it," said Mr. Benavidez. "We are taking care of business. The data are being corrected as we speak."

The new SAT data, once corrected, will be posted on CMC's website and sent to "all the agencies such as US News & World Report that receive this information," noted Mr. Benavidez.

The actions on the part of the school to handle the matter have elicited responses from alumni and others outside of the school who, according to Mr. Benavidez, appreciate the swiftness of the response and believe it shows the integrity of the college.

The Forum's attempts on Tuesday morning to contact the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Admission for comment were unsuccessful.