Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is preparing to enter next year’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, quietly received his diploma from Alabama A&M University in May 2020, 12 years after he attended classes there.
Barnes came under criticism two years ago for saying that he had a degree even though he had not yet fulfilled all the requirements to receive one.
Here’s his excuse:
In a statement, Barnes told the Journal Sentinel: “In 2008, I completed all my courses at Alabama A&M and walked in graduation ceremonies. However, due to a minor technical issue with my transcript, the diploma was never sent. Last year, I worked with the appropriate Alabama A&M officials to resolve the internal error and was awarded the diploma I earned back in 2008.”
Barnes faced questions about his degree after telling Madison’s Isthmus newspaper in August 2019 that he left college before completing his degree. In response to a Wisconsin State Journal candidate questionnaire in 2018 when he was running in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, his campaign stated he had a “BA in Broadcast Journalism-Alabama A&M University.” A BA is a bachelor of arts degree.
The issue was never whether or not he has a degree. The issue is that he lied about it (and then threw a nameless staffer under the bus).