A small-town Iowa state senator who recently introduced a bill mandating “partisan balance” among professors on taxpayer-funded campuses has been busted for calling his Sizzler steak house training course a “business management” degree.
The Republican lawmaker, Mark Chelgren, didn’t actually earn a “business management” degree from utterly unaccredited “Forbco Management School,” as he had been claiming. Instead, he received a certificate for successfully completing a Sizzler training course offered by Forbco, a corporate shell which once operated some Sizzler restaurants in Southern California.
Up until this week, Chelgren had been vaunting about his Sizzler “business management” degree in his biography on an Iowa Republicans website, according to Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO-TV.
Chelgren’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad couple of weeks began when he offered up his bill — Senate File 288 — which would force ideological equality upon college faculties.
The bill would force Iowa’s public universities to freeze hiring until the number of Republican professors on the schools’ faculties is within 10 percent of the number of Democratic professors.
Chelgren’s ledger of campus politics would not count faculty members who do not disclose their political affiliations.
NBC News got the scoop on Chelgren’s exaggerated academic claims.
“This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald’s,” Iowa State Republicans spokesman Ed Failor told NBC. “He got a certificate.”
Failor suggested that, in fact, Chelgren has not earned a college degree.
“That’s not accurate,” the state GOP spokesman said when asked if Chelgren, 49, possesses a college degree.
Prior to altering his Iowa Senate Republicans biography page, Chelgren boasted that he “attended the University of California at Riverside majoring in astro-physics, geo-physics and mathematics” — in addition, of course, to achieving his “degree in business management” by completing a Sizzler training course.
Chelgren’s new, humbler Iowa Senate Republicans biography page makes no mention of the Forbco Sizzler training course.
Also, because Chelgren failed to obtain a bachelor’s degree, he carefully did not — and still does not — claim to have graduated from the University of California, Riverside in his biography. He only claims that he attended the school and that he took certain difficult courses there.
Back when Chelgren introduced his political-leveling bill for professors, he told The Des Moines Register that he was interested in promoting diversity.
“I’m under the understanding that right now they can hire people because of diversity,” the state senator told The Des Moines Register in February. “They want to have people of different thinking, different processes, different expertise. So this would fall right into category with what existing hiring practices are.”
Chelgren also said he believes universities have become homes to “extreme views on either side” of the American political spectrum.
At the same time, the Ottumwa Republican declared that students “should have the ability to ask questions of professors of different political ideologies.”
This week, Chelgren promised and swore that he totally was not trying to embellish his credentials by calling a Sizzler employee training certificate a “business management” degree.
“This was not an attempt to inflate anything,” Chelgren told NBC. “I didn’t concern myself about this, honestly.”