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Thursday Scoop: Fake University

🍗Plus, maybe stay away from chicken nuggets for a while.



The U.S. Department of Homeland Security founded a fake university in an undercover sting operation. (image: Pexels)

The big story…

Homeland Security Founds Fake University in Sting Operation

An unsealed indictment reveals that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security previously set up a fake university, the University of Farmington in Farmington Hills, Mich., that targeted foreign citizens who wanted to stay in or enter the country but did not have the proper authorization. The sting operation reportedly caught eight people who committed visa fraud, profiting from at least 600 illegal aliens that they helped to keep in or enter the U.S. 

University of Farmington, which had a real website and an office staffed with undercover HSI agents, was an experiment to expose the abuse of international student visa programs. And, believe it or not, this is not the first time the federal government has run an operation like this.

In national news…

Polar Vortex Brings Coldest Air in Decades

Extremely cold weather is hitting much of the US, and roughly 224 million people will experience below-freezing temperatures and wind-chill. CNN reports, “Chicago is one of the cities ‘in the epicenter of the extreme cold,’ CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said. It could remain below zero in the city from around noon [Wednesday] until around midday on Friday. And [today], Chicago will be colder than parts of Alaska and Antarctica.” A polar vortex – which is a circulation of strong, upper-level winds that tend to surround the North Pole – is to blame for the unusually cold temperatures. As with the current polar vortex, some get distorted and drop further south than normal, carrying cold air with it.

In politics…

Gen Z Alongside Millennials Prefer Socialism to Capitalism

A recent public opinion polling shows that a rising majority of Gen Z, those born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, prefer socialism over capitalism. According to a recent Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll, 61% of surveyed Americans between 18-years-old and 24-years-old have a positive reaction to the word “socialism” and 58% having a positive reaction to the word “capitalism”. Read more in Duane Paul Murphy’s report for CMN.

In higher education…

University of Maryland President to Stay Until June 2020

The president of the University of Maryland, Wallace Loh, will be staying with the university through June of next year. This decision comes as a welcome surprise to many after Loh announced his plan to retire in November. (Read all about what led Loh to his retirement decision here.) 

In music…

The Japanese House Announces Debut Album

Indie pop artist Amber Bain, or better known for her musical projects under the moniker The Japanese House, has announced the release of her debut album Good At Falling through Dirty Hit on March 1. The record was was produced by Bain, BJ Burton, and George Daniel, a member of The 1975. Part of the record was recorded in a cabin owned by Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver. Read more in Hazel Dequito’s report for CMN.

Trending today…

Ariana Grande’s New Tattoo

The singer didn’t quite get what she bargained for.

Last but not least…

Bebe Rexha Encourages Women To ‘Love Your Body’

Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Bebe Rexha recently took to Instagram to express her disappointment over fashion designers who are refusing to dress her for the upcoming Grammy Awards. According to Buzzfeed, Rexha said, “I had my team hit [up] a lot of designers and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big.” Read more in Jennifer Dixon’s report for CMN.

Today’s Morning Scoop was made possible by  Natalia KolenkoDuane Paul MurphyHazel DequitoJennifer Dixon, and the CMN Staff. Maybe stay away from chicken nuggets for a while, unless you’re a fan of eating rubber. P.S. Was this newsletter forwarded by a friend? Subscribe here to get the Morning Scoop straight to your inbox every day.


Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Grace Cooper is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where she studied Nonfiction Writing and Psychology. When she's not obsessively reading or writing about the news, you can probably find her eating too much pizza and watching When Harry Met Sally for the hundredth time.

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