For-Profit College Helps Employees Complain About U.S. Proposals

September 2, 2010

Education Management Corporation, the company that runs the Art Institutes, Argosy University and other for-profit colleges, has turned to external consultants to help employees craft letters voicing opposition to the U.S. Department of Education's proposed regulations on "gainful employment." CEO Todd Nelson wrote to employees last week asking them to cooperate with representatives from DCI Group who would write personalized letters on behalf of employees, which they could then sign and send to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Steve Burd, editor of the New America Foundation's Higher Ed Watch blog, which first reported on Nelson's request, characterized it as an attempt at "manufacturing dissent."

In an e-mail message to Inside Higher Ed, an Education Management spokeswoman, Jacquelyn Muller, said it was "important" for the company's employees and students to be able to speak out against the proposed rules. "We will continue to communicate our opposition to the proposed Gainful Employment Rule and support voluntary efforts that allow our employees, students and faculty to do so as well."

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