Prof. Edward C. Ennels taught math at Baltimore City Community College but appears to have been offering a running lesson on supply side economic theory. Ennels reportedly was selling grades on a sliding scale depending on your worth and your ambition: $150 for a C; $250 for a B; and $500 for an A. He has now earned jail time after pleading to 11 misdemeanor charges, including bribery and misconduct in office.
According to prosecutors, Ennels, 45, would go as low as $300 in this elastic grade market. Moreover, he was hardly shy about the scheme. He reportedly solicited bribes from 112 students. His rate of return was just under ten percent with 10 payments from nine students.
The scheme was breathtaking in its boldness. For example, in March 2020, he sent an email under one of his aliases, “Bertie Benson,” to another of his aliases, “Amanda Wilbert.” In the email, he offered to complete “Wilbert’s” math assignments and guaranteeing her an A for $300. He then forwarded that email to 112 students enrolled in a class that he was teaching. According to prosecutors, he would then “haggle” students on how much the grade would cost. When one student balked at the $500, Ennels reportedly asked “how much can you afford?” What was striking about that exchange is that the student had written to him to say “Oh I don’t have that sorry. I will be sure to keep studying and pass my exam.” While the default position, the student was prepared to actually learn the material. Yet, Ennels immediately lowered his price.
Presumably, Ennels thought that the alias would offer a protective wall to prevent direct evidence of fraud since the assignments and tests would be completed (by himself).
It is shocking enough to see a fellow academic abandon everything that we believe in. However, Ennels did it for $2,815. He also sold online access codes that enabled students to view instructional material and complete assignments for $90. That proved a more popular product. He sold 694 access codes.