St. John’s Dean Arrested For Allegedly Using Students As Laborers

The problems continue to mount for earlier this month for former St. John’s University dean, Cecilia Chang. Earlier this month, Chang was accused of embezzling over $1 million in donations from the college. Now the FBI is also alleging that she essentially used students as slave laborers around her house.

Chang, 57, is accused of forcing students on scholarship to do her laundry, clean her house, cook, and serve as chauffeurs. The arrest warrant states “Chang threatened the students and placed them in fear that if they refused to perform these personal services they would lose their scholarships and be unable to attend St. John’s.” The warrant alleges that she had four students working seven days a week and used students to shovel snow, take out garbage and other tasks.

Notably, Chang’s son is also cited for poor treatment the students — allegedly yelling and cursing at them for shoddy work or cooking.

Not only did Chang allegedly have students drive her to places like the Salon but allegedly had a student bring cash to her during a gambling trip to Atlantic City.

Source: New York Post

11 thoughts on “St. John’s Dean Arrested For Allegedly Using Students As Laborers”

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  2. Graduate students and student teaching assistants have long been used a free laborers. It is an accepted part of the university ritual.

    Universities should not allow it to exist. It is abuse and is abusive. Students are afraid get a professor, dean, or member of their graduate committee mad at them for fear of retribution.

  3. Gingerbaker:

    that was very funny. Are you defending her at trial? A sympathetic jury might just believe it.

  4. According to the NY Times article, the students received training in yet another valuable job skill, falsifying documents:

    “’In addition to the outrageous way she treated her students, in exchange for scholarships, she had them falsify documents,’ Charles Kleinberg, an assistant United States attorney, said at Ms. Chang’s bail hearing in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.”

    In today’s marketplace, that should give them a boost up in the workplace, especially in the mortgage home financing industry, where it appears from news reports that thousands of documents were routinely falsified by employees of firms such as GMAC, JPMorganChase, and Bank of America, triggering a mass halt to foreclosures nationwide.

  5. “…why would they not as a group report her for the totally out of line coercion?”

    Because they feared losing their scholarships, expulsion from school, and maybe deportation, as they were in an inherently vulnerable and dependent relationship with the dean.

    “As the dean of the Institute of Asian Studies at St. John’s, Ms. Chang had the authority to grant 15 scholarships a year. The recipients, most of whom were from overseas, were told they had to work 20 hours a week under her supervision.

    “The students thought they would be doing work related to the university. Instead, according to the prosecutors, she forced them to perform menial tasks at her home in Jamaica Estates, Queens.

    “One of the students had to drive Ms. Chang’s son to the airport at 3 a.m., the complaint says, and another had to deliver cash to her at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

    “And she made it clear that if the students did not perform their extracurricular duties, they would lose their scholarships, which were worth at least $5,000, the complaint says. The loss of the scholarships might have forced some of the students to drop out, it adds.”


  6. Sorry – I don ‘t get it.

    With the economy in the sorry state that it is in, the fact that Dean Chang donated her own home and possessions for educational outreach so lucky students could learn valuable job skills – by doing her laundry, cleaning her house, cooking, shoveling snow, and taking out garbage, and serving as chauffeurs – seems incredibly foresighted.

    College graduates with actual hands-on experience with these technologies will be at a distinct advantage in todays marketplace. We are, after all, a service economy now.

    That Dean Chang is actually being criticized for extending her hand to those students most in need of a boost up – kids on scholarship – is the most twisted, callous, hypocritical element of this hatchet job of a story. She wasn’t charging these kids a penny for this training!! Not to mention the broken housewares and pilferage costs she absorbed – remember these are scholarship students she was helping out.

  7. What gets me is the apparent docility of the students…why would they not as a group report her for the totally out of line coercion?

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