Chicago State University (CSU) has confirmed that Nigerian President Bola Tinubu attended the university and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor’s degree.
The university has, however, said that it will not release any further information about Tinubu’s record without his consent or a court order.
The recent remark was contained in a statement to CBS Broadcasting Inc., widely known as CBS News, one of America’s most influential news networks.
The university’s statement came in response to a request from Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election. Abubakar had alleged that the documents showing Tinubu graduated from CSU in 1979 were not authentic.
At a hearing in Chicago this week, Abubakar’s lawyers asked a federal judge to compel CSU officials to turn over Tinubu’s academic documents and appear for depositions. Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois did not rule on the request.
CSU’s lawyer, Michael Hayes, told Gilbert that the university would not be able to certify Tinubu’s diploma under oath.
A CSU spokeswoman said the university could confirm the president graduated. However, it cannot authenticate the diploma because it was a ceremonial document and not part of a student’s official academic file.
The university’s statement to CBS said it is “confident in the veracity and integrity of our records regarding Tinubu’s completion of graduation requirements and degree certificate.” The statement also said that the university is not a party to the Nigerian legal proceedings that spurred the request for Tinubu’s academic records.
It reads, “As an educational institution, we are sometimes asked to provide information related to student records. Federal law known as FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) protects the privacy of student records and limits what an institution can release.
“In August 2023, a request was made to the U.S. federal court for the university to provide information related to educational records concerning Bola Tinubu, the President of Nigeria, and a former CSU student.
“The university has confirmed Tinubu attended CSU and graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree. Federal law, however, prevents us from providing any further information without consent or unless allowed to do so via court order.
“CSU is confident in the veracity and integrity of our records regarding Tinubu’s completion of graduation requirements and degree certificate. The university is not a party to the Nigerian legal proceedings that spurred this request, and a U.S. federal judge will determine whether the university will provide further requested information.
“Our response to the request for Tinubu’s academic records has been entirely consistent with our practices, policies and federal law. We would respond in exactly the same manner for any request for any student information by a third party.”