"Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Discussions on the value or merit of unaccredited programs and institutions.

"Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby johann » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:42 pm

Long-time members have probably heard of unaccredited Pacific Western University. There was a Hawaii branch, closed in the crackdown. A California school with that name was sold, rebranded and is now DETC-accredited California Miramar University. Someone wrote in another DL forum recently that "PWU in all forms is dead."

Unfortunately, it isn't. Here's a lone, ugly survivor. http://www.pacificwesternu.com/ The thing has now moved from California to Colorado, so it says. If you peruse its blurb, you'll find this beast gets a major portion of its business from West Africa. A link follows to a Jan. 2013 article on a Nigerian who appears to be celebrating his purchase of an honorary PWU Ph.D. Lots of fancy robes and funny hats -- but not a curtain rod in sight. Perhaps they're not an academic tradition in West Africa -- or the PWU campus is too far from a Walmart or Target store.

http://www.theredparrotonline.com/?p=2782

Yes -- I thought PWU was dead, too. How can such a vile thingy still cling to life and spawn "campuses" abroad? Oh well -- its main purpose seems to be scamming unwary Nigerians -- now that's a turnaround!

Johann, The Fresh Prince of Lagos and Ibadan - with $ multimillions that must leave the country...

Send your good-faith deposits and banking info to Box 419.... :)
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Re: "Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:40 pm

You are FAR too elitist and picky! This school is plainly exactly what it appears to be. A quote from the web site:

"For the purpose of so much enquiries especially from West Africa, we have decided to rebuild our site to suite the inquisitiveness of all people, when we would have settled permanently in our site at Colorado."

Real Coloradans talk like that all the time. :roll:
Una cosa mala nunca muere.
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Re: "Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby Rich Douglas » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:46 pm

The practice of degree mills (and others) taking up abandoned names is not unknown. This is the case here. There is nothing about this thing that connects it to Pacific Western University, whose assets were purchased by the people who used them to create California Miramar University. I don't know if CMU has a copyright on "Pacific Western University," but if they do they might want to exercise it here.

One of my favorites is California Coast University. When they started up, they took the name "California Western University" after a school with that name abandoned it (becoming, first, USIU and later Alliant U). The original owners pressed and CWU became CCU.

But my all-time favorite was an unaccredited school opened in California calling itself "University Without Walls." Long-time players in this field (or those who've done their homework) will remember the original UWW. It was a concept put forth by the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities as a way to deliver bachelor's degrees to working adults. (This was a novel idea at the time.) Well, the UECU set it up and participating schools would host UWWs at their home campuses. In fact, UECU even operated one "in house." (Union Institute and University, the independent school that arose from the original UECU, still offers these bachelor's but doesn't seem to use the UWW name.) Eventually, the UWWs were absorbed into their home universities as nontraditional education became, well, more traditional. Hardly any of these schools still use the term. (UMass still does, as do a few others.) Then, out of nowhere, a UWW cropped up in California. Well, it turns out that the UECU didn't copyright "University Without Walls," so these people started using it. Eventually, the school became State Approved and changed its name to "Sierra University." It subsequently went out of business.

I don't know if the abandonment of the "squatter" names by these two schools were related to their becoming Approved by California, both under the more-stringent pre-1989 rules under 94310(c), but both actions occurred as each school was getting approved. Unfortunately, that won't be the case with the necromanced PWU.
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Re: "Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby johann » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:20 am

Rich Douglas wrote:There is nothing about this thing that connects it to Pacific Western University, whose assets were purchased by the people who used them to create California Miramar University.

That's true. There seem to have been two California-originated PWU schools. (One in Encino and one in San Diego?) I've seen the history of the PWU ultimately purchased and rebranded into Cal. Miramar. I don't know the history of this still-extant, likely unauthorized "fork" of PWU that has "campuses" and "representatives" abroad. It gives no details on its site, except that it claims to have started as a Bible school, subsequently "upgraded" to a university.

Anybody know the history of this "school," as opposed to the "other" PWU, the assets of which were purchased to create Cal. Miramar U?

Johann
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Re: "Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby John Bear » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:30 pm

Rich: Well, it turns out that the UECU didn't copyright "University Without Walls..."

My understanding (although my only law degree is the $50 one I bought from a counterfeiter) is that names of things cannot be protected. The only problem is if my novel named "Gone with the Wind" or food product called "Doritos" or university called "Concordia," (of which there are seven legit ones) for instance, is felt to be confusable with an earlier user. McDonalds sues almost anyone who uses a "Mc"-anything business name (recently, locally, a clothing store for expectant mothers called "McBaby") . . . but Monster (the big job-finder) and Monster (the big cable company) seem to get along.

Sanctuary by William Faulkner, also by Edith Wharton
The Homecoming by Ray Bradbury, also by Harold Pinter
The Devil's Advocate by Taylor Caldwell, also by by Morris West
Time and Again by Clifford D. Simak, also (one of my favorite novels) by Jack Finney
many more
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Re: "Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:27 pm

My law degree is perhaps somewhat more substantial but I am little better informed than Dr. Bear on this subject. That having never stopped me in the past, I think we are talking about "trademarks". The test for infringement of a trademark (or servicemark) is that someone other than the owner uses the trademark or another trademark which is "deceptively similar" to advertise similar goods or services.

I should think that McD would lose the suit regarding McBaby since the fast food chain is in the business of stuffing little bodies with fat, salt, and sugar in disgusting quantities not clothing their bloated little forms. The trouble is, though, that a trademark holder must act to defend any infringement or lose the right to exclusive use.

Stupid system.

I remember hearing of an Israeli fellow selling kosher hamburgers (not, obviously, cheeseburgers) as "McDavid's". IIRC, the authorities shut him down. Might be an urban legend, though.

EDIT: Oh! Remember "Prince"? Guy signed away the exclusive rights to use his own name so for the duration of that contract he used an unpronounceable symbol and became known as "the artist formerly known as Prince"? His use of his own name wouldn't have been deceptive of course but he had agreed not to so that was that!
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Re: "Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby Eric » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:33 pm

I remember when the RA West Coast University in Los Angeles went out of business, other West Coast Universities appeared.
Even sites that sold fake degrees of closed colleges included the schools diploma and for 150 + one could get WCU diploma with transcripts.
Eric

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Re: "Dead" Mill arises -- to scam Nigerians!

Postby johann » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:40 am

nosborne48 wrote:I remember hearing of an Israeli fellow selling kosher hamburgers (not, obviously, cheeseburgers) as "McDavid's". IIRC, the authorities shut him down. Might be an urban legend, though.

Don't think it's just an "urban legend," Nosborne - except possibly the part about Mickey D's shutting him down. Looks like he was there:

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Mi ... -BR-1.html

That was then - 2003. The chain is said to have been "forced out" by competition - McD's Burger King etc. Looks like they made a return a couple of years ago:

http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/ ... 4&fid=1725

I note that, among other dishes, they are serving a "spicy Mexican-style hamburger." :)

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