MINOT — Amid the hundreds of replies to a bigoted, homophobic tirade posted on social media by North Dakota state Rep. Brandon Prichard was a brief one from an account associated with the University of Minnesota’s law school.
“This person is not enrolled in the JD program at the University of Minnesota Law School,” it said. The post was made from an X account linked to on the law school’s website.
Reached for comment, a spokesperson at the U of M confirmed that the post is authentic, and that Prichard is not a law student.
“I can confirm that Brandon Prichard is not enrolled as a J.D. student at the University of Minnesota Law School,” the spokesperson said.
It was a startling revelation given that Prichard’s claims about being a law student at the University of Minnesota — his campaign website currently states that he “is continuing his education at the University of Minnesota’s Law School and School of Public Policy”— have long been in doubt.
I first wrote about the issue in April of 2022, as Prichard, a Republican, campaigned for a term in the state House. Among Prichard’s many claims on the campaign trail were that he “studied law at the University of Minnesota” and that he was “quadruple majoring” in “history, philosophy, political science, and religious studies.”
During that campaign, Prichard claimed to the Bismarck Tribune that he was “an undergraduate student of the University of Minnesota’s Law School and School of Public Policy on a part-time and virtual basis.”
But the university said attending the law school that way wasn’t possible. “We have not offered any part-time programs,” Maddie Heimstead-Mercil, an admissions counselor at the law school, told me at the time.
“We do not have that,” Marc Cohen, the director of communications for the law school, told me when I asked about students attending the law school part-time or virtually.
I wrote about Prichard’s dubious academic claims again in June of 2023, revisiting the issue amid the controversy around U.S. Congressman George Santos, a New York Republican who had been caught in numerous fabrications about his resume.
“Respectfully, I think this story was dead a long time ago. I am not sure why you are giving me — and only me — such a high level of scrutiny surrounding my education and residence,” Prichard said in response to an emailed inquiry.
“When I say that I attend ‘part-time’ I was referring to the amount of time I spent completing school work,” Prichard continued, responding to my question about his comments about being a part-time law student. “I had classes Monday-Wednesday and only spent 15-20 hours on coursework, which is similar to a part-time job. This was not meant to deceive anyone. I technically was a full-time student because I had over 12 credits, but my time requirement was not equal to a full-time position.”
But when I asked Prichard, directly, if he was or ever had been enrolled in the law school, he didn’t give a direct reply. “If I have taken class in the law school do I have to be enrolled at the university?” he asked me in response.
He then listed a number of law-related courses he claims to have taken, but it can’t be independently verified if he took them as a law school student or an undergraduate student or if he took them at all.
I left a voicemail for Prichard and sent him a text message requesting a response to the University of Minnesota’s social media post, but received no reply.
Source : INFORUM