US varsity reacts to Rhodes-Vivour’s certificate forgery allegation

An American university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has said the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, attended the school.

The management made this known on Thursday that Rhodes-Vivour obtained a Master’s Degree in Architecture following his academic programme in the institution between 2005 and 2008.

According to Premium Times, the university said this in reaction to reports circulating on social media suggesting that the governorship candidate did not attend the university.

Rhodes-Vivour has faced a certificate forgery allegation after an email that allegedly originated from the office of the Registrar of MIT appeared on social media claiming that the candidate did not attend the institution.

The email quoted Nathaniel Hagee, a coordinator at MIT academic record office, that there was no record Rhodes-Vivour graduating from the university.

The mail was alleged to be a response to an enquiry made by a Nigerian on the educational status of the LP governorship candidate.

Rhodes-Vivour had tweeted in reaction to the forgery allegation as fake news and another attempt by his opponents to divert attention from an issue-based campaign.

“It has been brought to my attention that the purported email below is in circulation with respect to my degree from @MIT.

“This is untrue and another failed strategy the opposition is using to divert your attention from having an issue-based campaign,” he tweeted.

However, Premium Times said it contacted the MIT records office and spoke with Hagee via telephone on Wednesday, but he asked the media house to write a mail on the subject.

It, then, got a response from Hagee after that all questions have been directed to MIT’s News Office, as demanded. He also did not deny or confirm the authenticity of the email circulating online.

The newspaper also said it contacted MIT’s News Office, Sarah McDonnell, Deputy Director, Media Relations, and there was a response that Rhodes-Vivour indeed attended the school and earned a Master’s degree.

“Thank you for reaching out. The MIT Registrar’s Office can confirm that Mr Rhodes-Vivour attended MIT from 2005 to 2008 and earned a Master of Architecture degree,” Ms McDonnell wrote.

This newspaper then followed up with another email to Ms McDonnell, enquiring if the first email that claimed that Mr Rhodes-Vivour did not attend the school came from the record office.

In her response, an MIT spokesperson confirmed the validity of the mail, stating that it indeed emanated from MIT. She, however, claimed that the record office initially ran a search using a “variation of Mr Rhodes-Vivour’s name that did not match the information in MIT’s database.”

“The MIT Registrar’s Office was initially asked to search for a variation of Mr Rhodes-Vivour’s name that did not match the information in their database. Upon further review, they can confirm that Mr Rhodes-Vivour attended MIT and earned a Master of Architecture degree, as I shared in my earlier email,” she said.


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