How an obscure college became an upmarket visa mill
The school enabled thousands of foreign students to enter the U.S. each year.
May 31, 2016
A Cincinnati zoo is defending its decision to kill a gorilla after a boy fell into an exhibit. An ex-ruler of Chad has been convicted of crimes against humanity in a groundbreaking trial in Senegal. And the Golden State Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals for the second year in a row.
Here are the top stories
How an obscure university on the edge of Silicon Valley became one of America’s largest importers of foreign students.
Northwestern Polytechnic University in California has turned itself into an upmarket visa mill, deploying a system of fake grades and enabling thousands of foreign students to enter the U.S. each year while generating millions of dollars in tuition revenue for the school and the family that controls it, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal has demanded “immediate action” in response to the investigation, which revealed that a government-approved watchdog had given its stamp of approval to the university.
Ninety-nine percent of Northwestern Polytechnic University’s students come from overseas, most from India.
Michael J. Costa for BuzzFeed News
Inside the school
Despite having a student body as large as the undergraduate population of Harvard, Northwestern Polytechnic University has no permanent faculty members, BuzzFeed News’ Molly Hensley-Clancy reports. For years, it had a policy that made it impossible for students to fail classes, thus preserving their immigration status. Its assets, which topped $77 million in 2014, have enriched the family that has controlled it for decades, although the university operates as a tax-free nonprofit.
What it’s like to be trapped on Europe’s doorstep.
Politicians called it a symbol of European failure. Media reports called it squalid. But until it was bulldozed last week, the Idomeni refugee camp offered hope to roughly 15,000 people who lived there, BuzzFeed News’ Jina Moore reports.
Refugees chose to stay because they didn’t trust that the newer, smaller camps Greece had been building would be better — and they hoped the border would open again. A European Union delegation called Idomeni a “symbol of failed European policy”; meanwhile, the United Nations is seriously concerned about conditions in the newer camps.
“The thing that kept people in Idomeni is the same thing that trapped them there: that chain-link fence with barbed-wire curls, the rest of Europe so tantalizingly close, just on the other side.” — BuzzFeed News’ Jina Moore
Tobias Schwartz / AFP / Getty Images
And a little extra
In Britain, refugee families are being torn apart by bureaucracy. Processing delays and impossible bureaucratic barriers are separating families by thousands of miles and leaving vulnerable asylum-seekers in limbo, Maeve McClenaghan reports for BuzzFeed.
Quick things to know
U.S. News: Dozens of people were shot during a violent Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. (BuzzFeed News) And a Cincinnati zoo is defending its decision to kill a gorilla after a boy fell into an exhibit. (BuzzFeed News)
U.S. presidential election: Thirty-five people were arrested at a Donald Trump rally in San Diego, California, on Friday as protesters clashed with supporters. (BuzzFeed News) Following a critical report on Hillary Clinton’s email setup when she was secretary of state, the Clinton campaign’s chair sent out an email saying the candidate knows the use of a personal email server was a “mistake.” (BuzzFeed News) And inside a white nationalist conference energized by Trump’s rise. (BuzzFeed News)
An ex-ruler of Chad has been convicted of crimes against humanity in a groundbreaking trial in Senegal. (BBC News)
2016 Olympic Games: Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol said he might skip the Olympics because of the Zika virus. (BuzzFeed News) The World Health Organization has dismissed calls by more than 150 health workers and scientists for this summer’s games to be postponed or moved from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (BuzzFeed News)
Sports news: Soccer team Real Madrid won the Champions League for the 11th time on Saturday, beating Atlético Madrid. (The Guardian) The Golden State Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals for the second year in a row. (BuzzFeed News)
The Cavaliers’ LeBron James (left) and the Warriors’ Steph Curry during the 2015 NBA Finals.