A candidate for a local government position in Washington state is facing questions over whether she lied about having earned a degree from Cornell in her campaign materials after the University said it could not find any records of her graduating.
Joy Langley, who is running for city council in Mercer Island, Washington, has released a small picture of what she claims is her Cornell degree in philosophy, which she says she earned in 2004 after studying at both Ithaca College and Cornell.
But a Cornell spokesperson, John Carberry, told The Sun that there are no records of Langley graduating from the University.
“After receiving numerous inquiries and speaking directly with Ms. Langley, Cornell University re-examined its digital and paper archives, at the university and college level, and can confirm that we have no record of a person named Joy Langley or Joy Esther Langley attending or graduating from this institution,” Carberry said.
Requests sent to Langley’s campaign email were not returned by the candidate. John Wyble, a member of her campaign, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Friday after indicating earlier this week that he would be available for an interview to discuss ”Joy’s campaign and the issues with Cornell.”
Langley listed on her LinkedIn profile that she graduated from Cornell, but on Thursday removed any reference to her graduating from the University. On Friday, the reference to her graduating from Cornell was back on her profile.
Langley told the Mercer Island Reporter that she had sealed her records because she was being stalked and that her time in college was a “very scary time for me.”
“That’s the reason why the records are sealed so tightly, that’s the reason why I’m not entirely eager to crack them open again,” she told the newspaper.
A friend of Langley’s, Dan Dimendberg, told The Seattle Times he attended Cornell and George Washington University with Langley, where she earned a master’s degree. Dimendberg told the paper that he is aware of the stalking incident at Cornell that she was referring to.
But Carberry, the Cornell spokesman, said the University can “also confirm that the Office of the University Registrar has never received a request to make private any records related to Ms. Langley.”
When the Mercer Island Reporter, which has endorsed Langley, told the candidate that the University confirmed there were no records of her attending the school, she said she was “very confused,” “shocked,” and that it “seems like I disappeared.”
“The only thing I can chalk it up to is the university must have lost my materials,” she said.
There is a Joy Esther Langley listed as an alumna in Cornell’s people search, The Sun found, although her NetID is no longer active. Cornell did not respond to a list of questions, including why she is listed in the people search if she did not attend the University.
Langley does not appear in the 2004 Cornell yearbook.
The picture Langley posted, which she purports is her degree and was a small image in a collage of her academic accolades, appears to be a bachelor of arts bearing her name. The image appears to bear a Cornell seal and says it was issued in Ithaca on May 30, 2004, the day of commencement that year.
In the current iteration of the Cornell-Ithaca College exchange program, students at Ithaca College can only take a maximum of 12 credits at Cornell and the credits and transcripts are transferred back to Ithaca College. They are required to sign up for a Cornell NetID.
Langley says in one section of her website that she completed her undergraduate studies in philosophy and political science at Cornell, but, in another section, says she received dual degrees from Cornell and Ithaca College in philosophy and political science.
Pamela Hanna, the undergraduate coordinator for the philosophy department, referred a request for comment to media relations.
In a statement on her website last week, Langley said that she has put all of her academic credentials on her website and called her opponents’ questioning of her credentials “attacks” on her character that have changed the tone of the race.