PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Daytime television host Dr. Phil McGraw has issued a letter of apology to Slippery Rock University.
In a recent interview with People Magazine, Dr. Phil, host of the talk show of the same name, talked about the ongoing college admissions scandal.
More than 50 people are now facing charges in connection to two sets of schemes: standardized test cheating and college acceptance bribery.
Dr. Phil said: “They’re not buying their kids an education. That’s not what it’s about. I don’t think it has anything to do with the education. I think this is jewelry for a lot of these people. The kids are leaving high school, they don’t want to say, ‘My kid’s going to the junior college.’ They want to say, ‘My kid’s going to Harvard, my kid’s going to USC or Yale.’ I think it’s bragging rights for them and they don’t want to be the one parent that says, ‘Well, yeah, my kid’s going to, you know, Slippery Rock.’”
The comments sparked upset and anger among the Slippery Rock University community.
So, now, Dr. Phil is apologizing. The university posted the letter to their Facebook page.
He said, in part:
“Please accept my apology for referring to ‘Slippery Rock’ during a recent interview as the antithesis of the kind of school parents caught up in the college admissions scandal would be bragging about their children attending.
“It was definitely not aimed at the real Slippery Rock University (SRU). It was from ignorance, no intention, that I made the comment, as I was unaware of your school and intended to use a fictitious example. One hundred percent my mistake. I have since educated myself about SRU and could not be more impressed with your fine institution.”
Read the full letter here:
Slippery Rock University President Bill Behre took to social media to issue an open letter to Dr. Phil, saying in part: “At affordable and accessible public colleges like Slippery Rock University, students whose parents work to pay their mortgage will find quality institutions that open doors to the American dream.”
Behre spoke to KDKA News and said he’s turning what could have been seen as a slam on the school into something positive.
“In a lot of ways, I’m grateful to Dr. Phil because he allowed us to shine a spotlight on the good work that we’re doing,” he said. “We are very proud of what we do. Roughly a third of our students get significant federal financial aid. About a third of our students are first generation in their family to go to college.”
Behre says all of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned colleges and universities cater to the children of people who work for a living.
“If you are just chasing brand and you’re not thinking about what’s the best education for you, it’s a mistake. It’s a terrible mistake,” he said.
Behre says he holds no animosity towards Dr. Phil.
“He was good-natured about it. He made an observation. We pushed back and said, ‘Hey, think about this again.’ He thought about it again. I consider us good friends,” Behre said.
Behre says Slippery Rock will continue providing an affordable, quality education.
“The best school to go to is the one that’s going to see you through to graduation and give you a launchpad for your life,” he said.