A Trump administration official resigned from office after an NBC News investigation discovered false claims on her resume, including holding a degree in international development from the University of Hawai‘i.
Mina Chang, appointed in April 2019 to Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, made claims back in May 2014 that her degree from UH concentrated on “mission work and aid practices.”
A university spokesman confirmed that the school does not have a Mina Chang in its records and does not offer a degree in international development.
Along with falsifying her resume, Chang publicly discussed her college education and accomplishments. One Dallas publication, DFWChild, published a profile in 2012 titled “Mom Next Door: Mina Chang.”
According to NBS News, a transcript of DFWChild's interview with Chang sent by the magazine shows the reporter asking, "So where'd you go to school?"
Chang then replies, "It was in the University of Hawaii. They have a program just for ... missions work. They teach you about aid practices, the different methodologies, and how to stay safe in a disaster zone."
An editor’s note was made on the DFWChild article stating:
“We’re aware that Ms. Chang’s background—including her education and nonprofit work—has recently been called into question. When interviewed for this article, Ms. Chang told the magazine she went to school at the University of Hawaii, and, after reading the published piece, did not send the magazine a request for correction. Months later, she wrote on social media that she attended the University of the Nations in Kona. As other falsehoods and misleading statements come to light, we’ve made the decision to preserve the text as it was originally published in May 2012. We stand by our reporting at the time, and we want this article to serve as a snapshot of the narrative Ms. Chang promoted then.”
She resigned on Nov. 18, two and a half hours after NBC News reported that she had falsified her resume with claims about her education, charity work and having a Time magazine cover, as well as failing to mention that her non-profit had its status revoked.
According to NBC, Chang’s resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that "character assassination based solely on innuendo was launched against me attacking my credentials and character. My superiors at the Department refused to defend me, stand up for the truth or allow me to answer the false charges against me.”
She continued, “It is essential that my resignation be seen as a protest and not as surrender because I will not surrender my commitment to serve, my fidelity to the truth, or my love of country… Indeed, I intend to fight for those things as a citizen in the days and years to come."
Chang believes that she had been spoken about in an unfair way, was unprotected by superiors and “exposed to a media with an insatiable desire for gossip and scandal, genuine or otherwise."
Lying on a resume is not illegal in itself, but depending on the lie made, it can cause legal problems including civil liability. According to Steven D. Levitt, an economics professor and coauthor of “Freakonomics,” more than 50% of people lie on their resumes.