That's what I asked when I first received an anonymous comment attacking him. The comment was to Is Your Professor Using the Classroom as a Platform for Political Agendas... the authors of the original posts lacked the necessary critical reading skills to figure out that I was mocking the poster linked to the site and definitely support public intellectuals.
Anyways, another series of comments were posted attacking Dr. Gollin. I researched their claims and called them what they were: idiots and assassins. Of course, they then carried out another series of posts for no possible reason--since I stated I had no idea who Dr. Gollin was or why they were saying such nasty things about him on my site. I researched some more and found out that Dr. Gollin is a part of a group of intellectuals and politicians researching the activities of bogus online universities, otherwise known as diploma mills ... as many concerned citizens know these disreputable businesses cheat thousands of students every year and are a danger in that they certify people who are essentially unqualified for the positions they pursue. Another series of anonymous comments originating from a company site (some signed with bogus names) continued to be left, trying to intimidate me? or insult me (ha--good luck). I eventually contacted Dr. Gollin and asked him to respond and have posted his response below.
University of Kentucky
The operators of bogus schools do genuine harm to society. Some of them sell fake engineering and medical degrees. The clients of diploma mills will, in turn, endanger their own (unwitting) patients, customers, advisees.
The alleged operators of the Saint Regis group are currently being sued by the accredited Regis University for trademark infringement, among other things. There is a lot of money to be lost: at one point the Saint Regis site had claimed to be processing 150,000 applications per year. Though this is almost certainly an exaggeration, taking it at face value (and multiplying by an estimated average price of $600 per degree) yields a potential net income of many tens of millions of dollars per year. So having that cash flow reduced through exposure in the press (see links to news stories) will be a source of distress. As a result, large amounts of bad behavior by the SRU people is to be expected.
A discussion forum elsewhere, apparently mounted by the web mistress for Saint Regis, features almost nothing but nastiness and bad craziness on behalf of Saint Regis proponents. In particular, much of it is aimed at Alan Contreras (administrator of the State of Oregon Office of Degree Authorization), John Bear (a well-published expert on distance learning), Allen Ezell (head of the FBI's DipScam operation until his retirement some years ago), and me. (We work together to document the practices of bogus "universities.") According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, we are called the CarpMasters by legitimate credential evaluators and accreditors, "carp" being the trade jargon for "diploma mill" in that both are bottom-feeding garbage eaters.
But the Saint Regis gang refers to us differently, claiming that we are involved in, for example, complicated homosexual romances with each other and that our wives are leaving us. We find pictures of ourselves and members of our families posted to various Saint Regis web sites, accompanied by threatening comments about our spouses and children.
All this comes from putting under a microscope one of the most complex, sophisticated, and damaging (especially to the developing world) operations in the entire collection of filth that is the world of diploma mills.
Microscopes are what we use to look closely at parasites, microscopes are what we use to learn their features and reveal their shapes to the outside world. Things living under rocks do not like to be viewed closely in bright light. A microscope is the investigative tool of choice. A microscope and a keyboard to write the truth of what one sees.
The University of Illinois requires of its faculty three distinct classes of activity: teaching, research, and public service. Public service is important, and will generally draw on the faculty member's expertise, which includes matters relating to teaching and curriculum evaluation as well as the professor's field of scholarly research. The university is supportive of investigation of unaccredited degree-granting entities as a service activity.
A couple of years ago the University of Illinois began receiving threats from "Daniel Taylor" who identified himself as the president of American Coastline University and who explained that we could only correspond with him via email since he was working at the ACU headquarters in St. Petersburg, Russia. Apparently we could not, according to Taylor, drop in on him when giving an academic seminar at the University of Rochester, even though "Taylor's" computer showed the exact same internet address as one contained in a hostile message from Richard Hoyer, sent through a Rochester intermet service provider.
We also received threatening messages sent from Spokane, Washington using the same ISP as Saint Regis, even though these threats identifed the sender as the "Liberian Embassy, Washington DC."
We continue to receive threats regularly, both from Hoyer and from one of the other defendants in the Regis University vs. Lorhan et al. suit.
It took UIUC a few weeks to sort this all out after it began happening. The silly things posted by the Saint Regis gang about bad behavior on the part of UIUC are untrue. The university has a fine tradition of supporting academic vigor and independence, but it took a couple of months to figure out the fine points of faculty public service, in contrast to private service. It is certainly the case that I am encouraged by the provost to pursue this line of investigation. There's a good document on the administration's web site about this, linked to my home page if you're interested.
So we're doing a good thing, and the amount of bile coming from the staff and shills of the Saint Regis group shows that we are having an effect. It's reassuring to see, although some of what appears on the web is so funny that we have occasional family get togethers around a computer to cackle at the latest set of insults. It's like having a five year old bully shriek at an adult when he is caught stealing another child's candy. It's so nekulturny. It also brings to mind one of Groucho Marx' better insults.
Dept. of Physics
University of Illinois
It sometimes seems as if it is open season on academics and it is heartening to see a courageous individual such as Dr. George Gollin fighting the good fight!