Pacific Western University (Hawaii)

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Pacific Western University (Hawaii) was the name of an unaccredited university which was closed in May 2006 following a lawsuit filed by the State of Hawaii a year earlier.


Pacific Western University (Hawaii), Inc., also called American PacWest International University and registered with the business name Pacific West University (Hawaii) [1] was incorporated in Hawaii in 1988[1] and operated within the State of Hawaii until May 2006. The University was an unaccredited institution based in Hawaii. This Pacific Western University institution was by far the largest of the three Pacific Western University schools and offered degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. Pacific Western University - Hawaii offered degree programs through several partnerships including Japan, Korea, Mexico, Argentina and Taiwan.[2]

In December 2001, Pacific Western University (Hawaii) received an official recognition and commendation from the 21st Hawaii State Senate [3] and another recognition and commendation from the 21st Hawaii State House of Representatives.[4] These two State of Hawaii legislative bodies honored the University for their innovative, cost effective and quality distance education programs.


Pacific Western University (Hawaii) was the subject of controversy concerning the unaccredited nature of its programs.

In May 2004 the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs conducted hearings to determine whether the federal government had paid for, or governmental officials possessed, degrees from unaccredited schools.[5] As part of those hearing the US Government Accountability Office presented the results of an eight-month examination and report.[6] As the basis of the report, the GAO searched the Internet for nontraditional, unaccredited post-secondary schools that offered degrees that met their search criteria. After the passage of the Homeland Security Act, Section 4107 of tile 5, U.S. Code was amended. After this act became law in 2002, the federal government could pay for the cost of academic degree training for federal employees only if the college or university providing that training was accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body. The Senate Committee official transcript[5] references Pacific Western University in Los Angeles and Pacific Western University (Hawaii) as two of the unaccredited schools the GAO found online and mentioned during the hearing. The official senate record reflects that Pacific Western University in Los Angeles was recognized as California State Approved. However, because the State of Hawaii had no state approval process, it was noted that it was difficult for students to tell the difference between the two schools who at the time where under the same ownership.

In 2004 Investigative reporters from television station KVOA of Tucson, Arizona,[7] reported that Pima Community College in Tucson had reduced the salaries of two faculty members who previously had been paid at the PhD level based on their degrees from PWU (Hawaii). The two pay reductions were a result of changes in U.S. law enacted after 9/11/2001 that prohibited government employees from using degrees earned at non-accredited institutions for the purpose of receiving pay increases or job promotions.

In 2005, the State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection brought a lawsuit against the institution, alleging that it enrolled fewer than 25 state residents, and used several websites (including,, and to enroll distance education students from other places.[1] On May 9, 2006, a state court received a default judgement in favor of the state agency, ordering Pacific Western University (Hawaii) to cease operation and assessing a civil penalty of $500,000.[8] The State of Hawaii has taken legal action against more than 66 such unaccredited schools since the year 2000.[9]

Pacific Western University (Hawaii) and the affiliated Pacific Western University (Louisiana) were not accredited by any accreditation body recognized by the United States Department of Education.[10] As such, its degrees and credits might not be acceptable to employers or other institutions, and use of PWU (Hawaii) and PWU (Louisiana) degree titles may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.[11]

Ownership and affiliation structure[edit]

Pacific Western University (Louisiana)[edit]

There has been confusion regarding the various Pacific Western University institutions. According to the official custodian of records for Pacific Western University (Hawaii),[2] there was a third Pacific Western University that operated in Louisiana from 1990 to 1994. This was a separate institution that operated under Louisiana state law. The legality of degrees awarded by PWU is not open to question. The Louisiana law and the United States Constitution both come into force when discussion degrees, official documents and similar matters. Act 225 of the 1976 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature states that all postsecondary, degree-granting institutions teaching in Louisiana, including correspondence schools domiciled in Louisiana, must register with the Louisiana Board of Regents. PWU registered with the state of Louisiana and is in full compliance with the law. In 1994 Louisiana changed their state laws governing private post-secondary education by way of distance education. After this change of law, Pacific Western University (Louisiana) voluntarily ceased all operations within the state. All active Pacific Western University (Louisiana) students were given the option to transfer to Pacific Western University (Hawaii) and all student records of the Louisiana school were placed in the care of Pacific Western University (Hawaii). Alumni of Pacific Western University (Louisiana) can access their student records through Education Services, who has served as the official custodian of records for Pacific Western University (Hawaii) since January 2012.

It was reported in the Irish Independent in late 2005 that the Chief Science Adviser to the government of Ireland, Barry McSweeney, had advanced his career using a degree obtained from Pacific Western University.[12][13] Education Services confirms that Dr. McSweeny was a graduate of Pacific Western University (Louisiana).[2][14]

McSweeney was forced to resign his position as a result although the article stated that McSweeney had other recognized graduate education and had made no attempt to conceal the details of his PhD education and that he was "proud" of his doctorate and "stood over it".[15]

Common ownership of Pacific Western schools prior to 2005[edit]

Pacific Western University(Hawaii) and Pacific Western University (California) were once owned and operated by the same party.[16] According to Inside Higher Ed, the association ended in 2005 when Pacific Western University in California's assets were sold.[17]

No relationship with PWU (California) or CMU after 2005[edit]

Pacific Western University (California) operated in Los Angeles from 1976 until 2005 when its assets, including its State of California approval status, were sold to San Diego-based California Miramar University (CMU). The asset sale included an 18-month transition plan where PWU California agreed to teach out its active students and fulfill several other key elements. In early 2007 the conditions of the asset transition were complete and PWU California officially ceased operations and transferred its California State Approval to CMU. When California Miramar University filed for accreditation later in 2007, the accrediting agency ruled that CMU and PWU California were separate schools that operated with separate academic standards. The accreditation agency stipulated that graduates of Pacific Western University (California) would not be eligible to receive CMU diplomas or transcripts.[18] As CMU did not purchase the assets of Pacific Western University (Hawaii) or Pacific Western University (Louisiana) alumni of these two institutions as well as alumni of Pacific Western University (California) are ineligible to receive CMU diplomas or transcripts and should not call themselves alumni of California Miramar University.[2]


Pacific Western University (Hawaii)

  • David Reardon, biomedical ethicist, holds a PhD in Biomedical Ethics from Pacific Western University (Hawaii).[18][19][20][21]
  • Jun Tang (唐俊), president and chief executive officer in Xin Hua Du Industrial Group Co., former CEO of SHANDA, former executive of Microsoft China Co., Ltd., received a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Pacific Western University (Hawaii) in 1996.[18][21][22]
  • Dan Voiculescu – Romanian politician and founder of the Conservative Party (Romania) holds a PhD from Pacific Western University (Hawaii).[18][21][23]
  • Rafael Galeano Andrades, Docente Universidad de Cartagena; doctorando 1988-1992 Decano Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales 2004-2014 [24]
  • David Iadevaia, Ph.D. in Science Education 1992; Arizona Professor[18][21]
  • David Bishop, Ph.D. in Religious Studies 1994; Arizona Professor[18][21]

Pacific Western University (Louisiana)

  • Einbarr "Barry" McSweeny - Former Chief Science Officer to the government of Ireland holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry with emphasis in Biochemistry from Pacific Western University (Louisiana)[2][15]
  • Abraham Ben-Ezra - Owner of Ben-Ezra Planners & Consulters Ltd (Israel), B.Sc. in Building Engineering - IIT 1967, Diploma in Civil Engineering - B.I.E.T Britain 1970, M.A. in Urban Design - Tel-Aviv University 1988, Ph.D. in Civil Engineering - PWU Louisiana 1992, F.ASCE - Author & journalist, Consulting Engineer, Construction Engineer.

Pacific Western University (California)


  1. ^ a b c State of Hawaii v. Pacific Western University (Hawaii) Inc., aka American PacWest International University, Complaint (Sec. 8), count VI, count VII.
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ Hawaii State Senate Official Commendation
  4. ^ Hawaii State House of Representatives Official Commendation
  5. ^ a b Hearings Before The Committee on Governmental Affairs United States Senate, One Hundred Eighth Congress Second Session May 11 and 12, 2004
  6. ^ Diploma Mills: Federal Employees Have Obtained Degrees from Diploma Mills and Other Unaccredited Schools, Some at Government Expense, United States General Accounting Office, Testimony before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, May 11, 2004
  7. ^ "KVOA - Reports" (archived at the Internet Archive), KVOA News 4, Tucson, Arizona, November 16, 2004
  8. ^ Judgment in favor of the State was entered on May 9, 2006 Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs
  9. ^ List of Law Suits against Unaccredited Schools in Hawaii, accessed July 11, 2010
  10. ^ Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas
  11. ^ Diploma Mills and Accreditation
  12. ^ Donal Lynch, eircom net Degree of doubt for Bertie's boffin, The Irish Independent, October 9, 2005
  13. ^ Gov must respond to bogus PhD claim on science adviser Archived 2008-09-21 at the Wayback Machine., The Irish Labour Party press release, October 9, 2005
  14. ^ Stephen Phillips, A stress-free PhD? A snip at $250, Times Higher Education, November 25, 2005
  15. ^ a b Scandal forces out Irish science head, The Scientist, 6(1):20051121-01, November 21, 2005
  16. ^ Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning, 15th edition, John B. Bear, Ph.D. & Mariah P. Bear, M.A., Copyright 2003 by Ten Speed Press, ISBN 1-58008-431-1
  17. ^ Thacker, Paul (2006-12-15). "What's in a Name?". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
  19. ^ Mooney, Chris. (October 1, 2004). "Research and Destroy" Archived 2008-04-04 at the Wayback Machine.. Washington Monthly. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  20. ^ Biographical Sketch: David C. Reardon, Ph.D., Elliot Institute website (accessed June 7, 2008)
  21. ^ a b c d e
  22. ^ Registration Statement of Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd Archived 2010-07-13 at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved on 2010-07-06
  23. ^ Biography of Dan Voiculescu Archived 2009-03-18 at the Wayback Machine. (in Romanian), website of Dan Voiculescu Foundation for Romania's Development, accessed November 20, 2008
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  25. ^ The Buffalo News (March 1, 1995) Author covering O.J. Trial to Speak. Local section, page B6.
  26. ^ Biography, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, The History Makers, interview date September 20, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  27. ^ Biography of Mutharika on Official Website of the Government of Malawi Archived 2009-02-20 at the Wayback Machine., accessed May 16, 2008
  28. ^ Eddy Shell Obituary,, May 4, 2008
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ Sam Vaknin (2000). After the Rain: How the West Lost the East. Narcissus Publications,Czech Republic. p. 276. ISBN 80-238-5173-X.
  31. ^ Film Screenings, Hyderabad CMS Vatavaran 2006 Environment and Wildlife Traveling Film Festival, December 7 – 9, 2006, Indira Priyadarshini Auditorium, Hyderabad. Accessed November 14, 2010