To lie is to steal

Saturday, May 18, was a glorious day for Lamar University, which conferred more than 1,600 degrees to 1,605 graduates. Many of these graduates are parents, full-time workers — not to mention volunteers, athletes and participants in school organizations.

Earning a college degree is not an easy task. It takes years of work, staying up all hours of the night cramming for exams, depriving oneself of sleep. Compound the stress of college courses with work obligations and trying to balance quality time with one’s family, and by the time graduation day is reached, the college student is lucky to have survived the journey.

And once they graduate, they’ll find there are those in the workforce who don’t play by the rules. Instead of working hard for multiple degrees and the advancement that comes with them, they seek to deceive their employers, claiming to have degrees and certifications they do not possess. Not only is this lying but it is also theft. And an insult to those 1,605 graduates that actually put in the work.

The Greek tragedian Sophocles once said, “I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.” Evidently, Patricia Lambert doesn’t subscribe to this maxim.

Her resume boasts a degree from Loyola and certification from Harvard universities. The problem is that neither of those institutions of higher learning can confirm Lambert’s claims.

Although it might appear that, through her deception, she has reached great heights in her profession, it is better to have never reached such heights than to climb a ladder supported by lies. Lambert leapfrogged over other candidates for the positions that she stole with her false credentials. These people worked extremely hard to earn their baccalaureate and masters degrees — one would hope — staying up all hours of the night studying to reach their goals, while at the same time depriving their families and friends of time that they will never have back.

Do they deserve to be unfairly and unduly cheated out of the chance that this woman stole from them with her imaginary achievements? No, of course they don’t. And for the current employees of the district, many of whom must themselves be hungering for advancement, what must this revelation do for their morale? 

At the same time, any reasonable person can see that the tangled web of lies that Lambert wove soils whatever achievement she has experienced over the past decade. It’s as empty as buying a trophy at a garage sale and putting it up on your mantle.

Is BISD a victim in this woman’s plot or should they be held accountable for not verifying Lambert’s credentials before passing over many others who might have been twice as qualified as she? Every student, parent, teacher and educator should contact Superintendent Timothy Chargois and the BISD board immediately and express — no, demand — that this fraud be heralded as a lie and ask this: “What is being done to keep this from happening again, and what are you doing to right this terrible wrong.”