An Ohio university says a Florida House candidate's claims that she graduated from the school are false.
Melissa Howard has been accused of falsifying her degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and went as far as posting a photo on Facebook of herself and her mother with a diploma to clear her name.
However, 10News received an email from Claire Webster, director of university news and communications for MU, in which the school says Melissa Marie Fox -- Howard’s name before she married -- does not have a degree from the college, though she was enrolled at the school.
Also, the school pointed out other discrepancies with the diploma seen in the photo:
- The picture of the diploma does not appear to be an accurate Miami University diploma.
- The picture of the diploma shows Melissa Marie Fox received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing degree from Miami University on December 20, 1996. We have no such record of a degree.
- Miami University’s degree for marketing majors then, as it is now, was a Bachelor of Science in Business. Fox’s major field of study while enrolled at Miami University was retailing, and the degree for that program of study was a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences.
- The picture of the diploma contains the signatures of James C. Garland, President, and Robert C. Johnson, Dean. While Garland was President of Miami University in 1996, Robert C. Johnson was Dean of the Graduate School, not the Dean of either the Richard T. Farmer School of Business Administration nor the School of Education and Allied Professions
Howard’s Facebook photo was deleted, and her Twitter account has been deactivated.
The story was first reported by the website Florida News Online, which bills itself as “The conservative choice for Florida news & politics.”
10News reached out to Howard’s campaign for comment Saturday but received no response. However, partner station WWSB in Sarasota received a statement from her campaign consultant Anthony Pedicini.
"Melissa Howard is helping her husband recover from a cardiac event which occurred last night. We won't be responding to allegations and fake news until he fully recovers," the statement said.
Howard is running against Sarasota attorney Tommy Gregory in the Republican primary for District 73, which covers eastern Manatee County and a portion of eastern Sarasota County.
Information from WWSB was used in this report.
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