Occidental College in California is being bombarded with requests for President Barack Obama’s college transcripts, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Members of the so-called “birther” movement are apparently trying to prove their suspicions that Obama applied to the school as an international student and received special aid because of it.
The rumor began in 2009 when a fake Associated Press story was released, claiming that a group called the Americans for Freedom of Information had copies of Obama’s transcripts from the college. The fake story, released on April Fool’s Day, said that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, was granted a Fulbright scholarship for foreign students and received financial aid as an international student from Indonesia. Obama’s step-father, with whom he lived with in Indonesia for two years, had the last name Soetoro.
Politifact and FactCheck.org debunked the story, the Washington Times reports.
Occidental has no record of “Barry Soetoro” ever attending, and Obama’s records at the college are sealed, though inquiries into the president’s transcripts have increased.
“The number of inquiries dropped off in 2010 and 2011, but now the number has picked up again, of course, because it’s an election year. It keeps us busy,” Occidental College Communications Director Jim Tranquada told the Los Angeles Times.
“The hard file for the president is under lock and key,” Tranquada added.
According to the Washington Times, most presidents release their undergraduate and graduate records by the time they are elected, but Obama has refused to do so.
A conservative blogging site, thetrenches.us, has offered a $20,000 reward for anyone who can produce Obama’s college transcripts.
Obama attended Occidental College from the fall of 1979 to the spring of 1981 before transferring to Columbia University. He then received his law degree from Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1991.