Christine O'Donnell's Academic Background Under Scrutiny

"People are created in God's image. Homosexuality is an identity adopted through societal factors. <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/News/christine-odonnell-homosexuality-identity-disorder/story?id=11681981">It's an identity disorder</a>."<br>- To Wilmington News Journal reporter Victor Greto, 2006
Getty Images News/Mark Wilson
Getty Images News/Mark Wilson

Christine O'Donnell's academic record is once again coming under scrutiny.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Delaware Republican Senate candidate misleadingly claims she attended the University of Oxford. On top of that, further reports surfaced revealing that O'Donnell's claims that she attended Claremont Graduate University are incorrect.

O'Donnell's LinkedIn page claims she studied "Post Modernism in the New Millennium" at the University of Oxford and Constitutional Government at Claremont Graduate University, a school in Southern California.

However, a spokesperson for O'Donnell told the Washington Post's Greg Sargent that O'Donnell listed the University of Oxford as a school she attended after taking a course on the Oxford campus, run by the Phoenix Institute. Chris Fletcher, who oversaw the Phoenix Institute's 2001 Oxford Summer Programme, which O'Donnell participated in, told Sargent that O'Donnell's claim to have attended Oxford is "misleading."

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"We never represented it as a course run by Oxford University," Fletcher said. "It wasn't sponsored by Oxford University. We rented the space."

Additionally, Claremont Graduate University says it has no student records for an individual named Christine O'Donnell, California reporter Gary Scott first reported. The university repeated that assertion to Talking Points Memo.

In fact, O'Donnell received a fellowship in 2002 from the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank also in Claremont, Calif. but not affiliated with the university.

The Tea Party-backed candidate's academic record has been the subject of scrutiny since the primaries. She claimed for years that she was a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson Unversity, but she in fact only received her degree on Sept. 1 of this year, years after attending the school. Republicans in the primary ran attack ads questioning why O'Donnell took so long to get her degree, claiming she owed outstanding bills to the school.

Additionally, O'Donnell suggested in a lawsuit that she was pursuing a Master's degree at Princeton University, but she later acknowledged she has not taken any graduate courses at Princeton.

Update 9 p.m. ET: O'Donnell's campaign released a statement Wednesday saying she did not post to the LinkedIn profile in question, and requested that it be removed (which later happened).  Here is the full statement, which was posted by Talking Points Memo:

"There have been reports that I have released false information on a LinkedIn profile under my name. This is categorically untrue. I never established a LinkedIn profile, or authorized anyone to do so on my behalf. I have always been clear about my educational background. I completed undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickenson University. After my undergraduate work, I completed a summer program run by the Phoenix Institute, at the Institute's Oxford University location. The Institute runs programs around the world at various universities, and participants study issues of human dignity. I also completed a Lincoln Fellowship at the Claremont Institute in Claremont, CA. We would encourage LinkedIn to remove this profile.

"Perhaps a more important educational issue for Americans is the government takeover of the student loan industry, passed as part of the Obamacare law. This ill-conceived, unconstitutional government monopoly has thrown into jeopardy thousands of jobs in the private student loan industry. Even worse, now college students have nowhere to go for their student loans except the same people who brought them TARP and the embarrassing federal BP oil spill response. Will my opponent condemn his party bosses for threatening private sector jobs and eliminating student loan choice and competition for Delaware college students?"




Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.