According to her LinkedIn account, Xanthi Gionis is the self-described owner of Carlsbad's Aristotle University College of Law. As a former university administrator, I found that a curious title for the chief executive of an academic institution. So after watching the video of her Thursday press conference, blasting local reporters for smearing her school, I took a closer look. What I found suggests she probably should have taken Abe Lincoln's advice about silence and fools.
The school's website is currently unavailable because it's "Under Maintenance." But I found its archived version, which has the look of most university websites. There's a "Dean's Welcome," followed by overviews of the school's mission and curriculum and a much more detailed account of tuition and fees. What's missing is any evidence of a faculty, enrolled students, instructional methodology or a campus. The school's address says it all--Suite #200B.
Here are the major claims the school's owner made at her press conference and what I found out about them after a little online research.
Claim #1: "Aristotle University was, in fact, accredited by BPPVE (Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education) from May 1, 2007 to April 30, 2012."
Fact: The BPPVE ceased operations on July 1, 2007. The school's five-year approval was meaningless. There was no state oversight of private postsecondary institutions until 2009, when the new Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) was created. Aristotle University is not on the list of BPPE approved schools. Five other Carlsbad private postsecondary schools appear there.
Claim #2: "From 2007 to 2010 Aristotle operated 3 law schools that were fully registered with the State Bar of California and graduates were eligible for licensure to practice law in the State of California."
Fact: Aristotle University cannot be found on the California State Bar Website under either accredited or approved unaccredited schools. A search revealed that in 2009 one student from "Aristotle University Institute of Law" took the First-year Law Student Exam and failed. Maybe Aristotle's owner could shed some light on why more light's not shed on her school by the California Bar Association.
Finally, in my 30 years in education I'd never heard a school official call a student a liar in public, the final clue to this school owner's lack of professionalism.
Richard Riehl writes from LaCosta. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org