Temple Terrace mayor’s Ph.D mention removed from bio amid calls for resignation

Hillsborough County

A group of concerned citizens are calling for Temple Terrace’s mayor to resign due to questions over the legitimacy of her Ph.D. They feel that if Mel Jurado’s doctorate isn’t valid, it’s a major blow to her credibility. 

Mayor Mel Jurado’s official city bio previously stated she earned her doctorate in psychology from LaSalle University in Louisiana. 

As of Tuesday evening, any mention of Jurado’s doctorate had been scrubbed from the city’s website

8 On Your Side discovered the FBI shut LaSalle down in 1996, deeming the “diploma mill” a scam…the same year Jurado earned her degree. 

Citizens’ comments at Tuesday night’s city council meeting carried on for roughly an hour and a half, with all but one speaker there to address the diploma discrepancy. 

“I don’t think the mayor needs to have a Ph.D to do this job,” said one speaker. “But, she does need to be truthful.” 

Jurado’s supporters outnumbered her critics, however, many citing the degree in question has nothing to do with her ability to lead the city. 

“This whole credibility issue, to me, was for character assassination,” said another speaker, saying the controversy reeked of political motive.

“I don’t care if I call you Dr. Mel, Madame Mayor, Ms. Jurado, Mel, Melody,” said a man who identified himself as Jurado’s pastor. “It would appear this is local politics at its worst.” 

Jurado declined to answer questions from 8 On Your Side both before and after Tuesday night’s meeting. She has previously stated she has no intention of stepping down. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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