Jerome R. Corsi, a Harvard
Ph.D., is a WND senior staff reporter. He has authored many books, including No.
1 N.Y. Times best-sellers "The Obama Nation" and "Unfit for Command." Corsi's
latest book is "Where's
the REAL Birth Certificate?"More ↓Less ↑
NEW YORK – Two separate database reports from the National Student
Clearinghouse last year that contradicted President Obama’s claim he attended
Columbia University for two years added to the intrigue generated by Obama’s
unwillingness to discuss his time at the Ivy League institution, his block on
the release of educational records, and the many political science students and
faculty there in the early 1980s who say they don’t remember him. Swirling amid the black hole of information are a host of theories about
Obama’s whereabouts – particularly during the 1981-1982 school year – including
speculation he was working for the CIA in Pakistan.
Now, the clearinghouse, with permission from Columbia, has decided to make an
exception to its media policy and address WND’s inquiry into the discrepancy.
Why do clearinghouse records indicate Obama was at the school only during the
1982-83 school year while Obama and Columbia’s spokesman have insisted he began
attending the New York City school in the fall of 1981? Janine Greenwood, vice president and general counsel for the clearinghouse,
told WND there was a “computer error” in their system that has been corrected.
She said she confirmed with Columbia that Obama was at the university for two
academic years, not one. Greenwood said she “tried to untangle this” discrepancy one year ago after
certificates” from the Herndon, Va.-based clearinghouse –obtained through a
fee-based request – indicated Obama attended Columbia College at Columbia
University only in the 1982-1983 academic year, from Sept. 1, 1982 until May 31,
1983, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree May 17, 1983. “All I know is [the record] was right originally, and somewhere along the
line it went off the rails, and then it was right again,” she said.
“We basically had two records running simultaneously, and it just depended on
how you input the name and the other information as to which records you got,”
she explained to WND in an interview Friday.
The two separate reports indicating Obama attended Columbia for only one year
were generated in March 2011. One,
obtained by lawyer Orly Taitz, was used in a court filing contesting Obama’s
eligibility. The other found its way to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse
investigating Obama’s eligibility for the presidential ballot in Arizona.
Greenwood said at least one of the two people who submitted the request for a
report of Obama’s record received a correct report as well as an incorrect one.
She added that the people who obtained the records probably violated the
degree confirmation for the purposes of employment and education. She said she contacted the Columbia registrar’s office last year to clear up
the discrepancy. “We have confirmed with Columbia that the two years was the correct record,”
However, Columbia’s top media spokesman – who says the issue of Obama’s
attendance at the university is his “beat,” as all questions on the matter are
routed to him – told WND a day before the interview with Greenwood that he
couldn’t explain why the database reports indicated Obama attended Columbia only
one year. Robert Hornsby said he was unaware of any contact between Columbia and
the National Student Clearinghouse regarding the discrepancy. After the interview Friday with Greenwood, WND asked Hornsby in a follow-up
email to confirm that he had no knowledge of the fact that the clearinghouse
says it resolved the issue one year ago.
Hornsby confirmed he was unaware of the contact but insisted “that does not
alter the facts, which are clear.”
In the Thursday interview, Hornsby said regarding the clearinghouse’s
information: “I don’t know what they’re basing their information on or what
their system is for logging, but I can confirm, as a matter of fact, that
President Obama was here in September 1981 as a transfer student from
Asked whether he had personally seen a transcript that would verify Obama
attended classes during the 1981-82 school year, Hornsby said, “You’re looking
for proof I cannot provide.”
He noted academic records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and
Privacy Act of 1974, “and we don’t talk about any student’s academic records,
presidents or otherwise.”
Hornsby said his information is based on confirmation from “people that have
the authority” in the registrar’s office.
“I can’t help you by giving you some more solid thing about having seen a
transcript or anything like that,” he told WND. “Our records show he was here,
and that’s what we’re standing by. I don’t really have anything else to
Obama’s autobiography “Dreams from My Father,” the Columbia University
website and two best-selling biographies by authors favorably disposed to the
president all assert Obama attended Columbia for two years, from 1981 to
Unlike previous presidents, however, Obama has refused to release any
transcripts or other documentation regarding his education, going back to
Is Obama constitutionally eligible to serve? Here’s
WND’s complete archive of news reports on the issue Arpaio’s lead investigator in the eligibility probe, Mike Zullo, provided to
WND the National Student Clearinghouse report it obtained, which was derived
from a paid request to the clearinghouse. Two weeks ago, WND submitted two paid inquiries – one with the name Barry
Soetoro and the other with Barack Hussein Obama – to the National Student
Clearinghouse to confirm the previous reports. The clearinghouse acknowledged
receipt of the inquiries but gave no further information.
Did he attend classes at Columbia?
Graff, professor emeritus of history at Columbia for 46 years, has cast
doubt on claims Obama attended classes at the New York City university.
Henry Franklin Graff
“I have no recollection of Barack Obama at Columbia, and I am sure he never
attended any of my classes,” Graff told WND in a telephone interview.
“For 46 years, I taught political history, diplomatic history and one of the
pioneering courses on presidential history, and every future politician of note
who went through Columbia in those years took one or more of my classes – every
one, that is, except Barack Obama.”
Graff further told WND no professor he knew could remember having Obama as a
student at Columbia.
“Nobody I knew at Columbia ever remembers Obama being there,” Graff
The undocumented student
On Nov. 5, 2008, Columbia University celebrated Obama’s election as president
by publishing an article in Columbia News titled “Barack Obama, CC ’83, First
Columbia Graduate Elected President of the United States.” “Obama attended Columbia College from 1981 to 1983, after transferring in his
junior year from Occidental College,” the article read in part. In his 2010
biography of Obama, “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,” journalist
David Remnick states on pages 112-113 that Obama moved to New York City in the
summer of 1981 to co-occupy an apartment at 142 West 109th Street, off Amsterdam
Avenue, with Occidental friend Phil Boerner.
Remnick does not provide footnotes to document the claims, however.
Two pages later, Remnick recounts how on the night of Nov. 24, 1982, Obama’s
father was killed driving drunk in Nairobi, “during Obama’s first semester of
his senior year at Columbia,” with the assumption this was Obama’s second
academic year at Columbia. Remnick footnotes the passage regarding the death
of Obama’s father on page 215 with a reference to an article
by Jon Meacham titled “On His Own,” published in Newsweek Sept. 1, 2008.
Meacham’s mention of Obama attending Columbia is so limited that he fails to
specify the amount of time Obama spent attending classes at the university.
In his 2012 biography of Obama, “Barack Obama: The Story,” author and editor
David Maraniss recounts, beginning on page 418, an Obama move to New York City
on Aug. 25, 1981, “a week before orientation day at Columbia College.”
On pages 465-466, Maraniss writes of Obama’s last month at Columbia, May
[Obama] had received mostly A’s in his coursework during those two years, he
said later, and finished with a 3.7 grade point average. Including his two years
at Occidental, his college education had cost about fifty thousand dollars for
the four years and was a family effort. About half came from scholarships and
student loans, a bit from the off-the-books part-time summer jobs, and most of
the rest from his grandmother, Tut, who had devoted part of her salary each year
to his education.
Although the passage is not accompanied by a footnote, the reference “he said
later” suggests Maraniss got the information from Obama himself or from
interviews in which Obama presented the information.
The “off-the-books” part-time summer employment is unlikely to be
independently verified. Nor does Maraniss produce any Columbia transcript or
reference to a transcript that would document the grade-point average. Maraniss
also fails to provide or reference any Columbia financial records that might
have given insight into the source or sources Obama used to pay tuition.
Columbia: ‘Obama’s lost years’
No less than Obama-supporting Snopes.com has
admitted little is known about Obama’s Columbia years. “Even those who have studied Barack Obama’s background in detail don’t
generally know much about his time at Columbia University, however, as he hasn’t
revealed much about that period of his life in his public writings and
statements, nor has he made his transcripts or other school records from
Columbia available for public examination,” the website states.
An editorial titled
“Obama’s Lost Years,” published in the Wall Street Journal Sept. 11, 2008,
noted Fox News contacted some 400 students who were at Columbia from 1981 to
1983 and found no one who remembered him.
New York Times reporter Janny Scott, who later wrote a favorable biography of
Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, wrote in an Oct. 30, 2007, story that Obama
“declined repeated requests to talk about his New York years, release his
Columbia transcript or identify even a single fellow student, co-worker,
roommate or friend from those years.” “He doesn’t remember the names of a lot of people in his life,” said Ben
LaBolt, a campaign spokesman, told Scott. Scott wrote that one person who did remember Obama was Michael L. Baron, who
taught a senior seminar on international politics and American policy. Baron
said he was Obama’s adviser on the senior thesis for that course and gave him an
A for the course. Baron later wrote Obama a recommendation for Harvard Law
School. An Associated Press story May 16, 2008, also stated the Obama campaign
declined to discuss Obama’s “time at Columbia and his friendships in
general.” The campaign, however, listed five locations where Obama lived during a
period of four years in New York City: three on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and
two in Brooklyn. His memoir mentions two others on Manhattan’s Upper East Side,
the AP noted. After Columbia, Obama says he spent two years as a writer for a business
newsletter and as a coordinator at City College in Harlem for an environmental
and consumer advocacy group. In 1985, he left for Chicago.
by wp. So much of the information used to write these articles about Obama are provided by Obama ,himself ,with no confirming documentation. I find it constantly amazing at how so much of the confirmations[ with out documentational proof] keep popping up now when it was not available or [sic] known previously. TRUTH OR MORE FICTION?? You decide.