It was announced today that Marilee Jones, the Dean of Admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lied about her credentials 28 years ago when she applied to work at the Institute. The announcement, of course, immediately sent shockwaves through the college admissions community since Marilee, a longtime admissions leader, is extremely respected in the field. As a contrite Marilee states in her resignation on MIT’s website, “I have resigned as MIT’s Dean of Admissions because very regrettably, I misled the Institute about my academic credentials. I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to MIT 28 years ago and did not have the courage to correct my resume when I applied for my current job or at any time since. I am deeply sorry for this and for disappointing so many in the MIT community and beyond who supported me, believed in me, and who have given me extraordinary opportunities. I especially apologize to the Institute’s leadership and to my extraordinary staff, whom I have every confidence will continue to deliver on the Institute’s mission. This is the only public comment I wish to make at this personally difficult time and I hope my privacy will be respected.”
MIT’s Admissions Dean Lied on Her Job Application
While the college admissions community deeply admires and respects Marilee Jones for her efforts to depressurize the college admissions process, it is with sadness that we learn of her deception. When our nation’s elite colleges are holding students to the highest of standards, when there are strict honor codes in place at high schools and colleges, when schools such as the Haas School of Business at the University of California – Berkeley perform background checks on applicants, and when there are discipline questions on applications that students are required to answer truthfully, then we can certainly understand why students and parents would find it extremely difficult to find compassion for the Dean of Admissions at one of the most highly selective colleges in the country who lied on her job application to that institution. We wouldn’t exactly call it setting a good example.
MIT’s Admissions Dean Was Wrong, But We Offer Her Forgiveness
Yet perhaps instead of judging her for her indiscretion of 28 years ago, we can instead offer Marilee Jones forgiveness, especially in light of all the wonderful work she’s done over the years in making the college admissions process a better process for all. Indeed, Marilee has been a leader among admissions czars in working to bend the highly selective college admissions process toward equity and inclusiveness, toward a system that isn’t filled with as much pressure as exists today. Yes, Marilee Jones did something wrong and she deserves to lose her job for lying on her job application. But that doesn’t erase all the good she’s done through the years in MIT’s admissions office. So, to Marilee, we offer our gratitude for her lifelong work. And we offer our forgiveness. We hope the rest of the college admissions community does the same.
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