An Iowa lawmaker pushing for “partisan balance” in faculty hiring doesn’t have a business degree from “Forbco Management school,” as he claimed on a government website, NBC News reported. And Forbco isn’t a management school at all, but rather a company that operated a Sizzler steak house franchise. He doesn’t have a degree from the University of California, Riverside, either, despite saying he majored in “astro-physics, geo-physics and mathematics” there.
Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican, made waves last month when he proposed that no professor or instructor be hired by an Iowa public institution if his or her most recent party affiliation would “cause the percentage of the faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by 10 percent” the percentage of the faculty belonging to the other dominant party. The bill was seen by many as an attempt to limit the number of Democrats hired, since academics tend to lean to the political left.
With notoriety came scrutiny, and some began to question Chelgren’s credentials. In a telephone interview with NBC, Chelgren was reportedly vague about Forbco, saying it was near Los Angeles and that he got his business degree “around ’88 or ’89. It's going back a ways, so I don't remember.” The “business degree” reference has since been removed from Chelgren’s Iowa Senate page.
“This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald's,” Ed Failor, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Republicans, told NBC. “He got a certificate.” A Riverside spokesperson said Chelgren attended and studied physics there in the early 1990s, but he did not graduate.