Allegedly, President Donald Trump had someone else take his SAT test for him prior to his admission to college. That allegation was first made by the president’s niece, Mary Trump, who recently published a book that served as a sort of psychological profile of the president (she’s a mental health professional), and the allegation was subsequently confirmed by an audio tape of the president’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry. On the tape, Barry said that Trump “got into University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams.” Now, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania by the name of Eric Orts wants a school investigation into the issue in order to protect the integrity of the admissions process.
Orts and five other faculty members originally requested an investigation after Mary Trump raised her initial claim in conjunction to the release of her book, which is called Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man and has been distributed widely. At the time, the school’s provost Wendell E. Pritchett insisted that, although the situation was concerning, the allegations concerned events that were too far in the past to allow for a substantive, meaningful investigation in the present.
‘[We] certainly share your concerns about these allegations and the integrity of our admissions process. However, as you suggest in your message, we have determined that this situation occurred too far in the past to make a useful or probative factual inquiry possible. If new evidence surfaces to substantiate the claim in the future, we will continue to be open to investigating it.’
Trump was originally admitted to the University of Pennsylvania in 1966. Orts “said he emailed Pritchett that the [Maryanne Trump Barry tape] constituted the kind of “new evidence” that the provost said was needed to launch an investigation,” according to The Washington Post, but as of the time of the Post’s article’s publication — early Saturday morning — Orts said he’d not gotten a response from Pritchett.
This time around, he contacted the provost in his own individual capacity. When, originally, six total faculty members signed on to the investigation request, they said:
‘[Failing] to investigate an allegation of fraud at such a level broadcasts to prospective students and the world at large that the playing field is not equal, that our degrees can be bought, and that subsequent fame, wealth, and political status will excuse past misconduct.’
Trump has touted his attendance at the University of Pennsylvania in the past. Specifically, he attended their undergraduate Wharton business school. He’s said that he attended “the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world,” which he characterized as “super genius stuff.” According to James Nolan, who was the admissions official who originally dealt with Trump’s admission to the university, “more than half of applicants [were] granted admission and an even higher percentage of transfer students” were let in at the time, as the Post explains, and Trump was a transfer student. Nolan added that when speaking with Trump at the time, he “certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius. Certainly not a super genius.”