President Nikos Christodoulides’ pick for board member in the public service commission (Edy) resigned only a day after being appointed to the job when his academic credentials were called into question on Friday.

Social media and politicians were in an uproar over Christodoulides’ latest appointment as the appointee, Michalis Michael, appears to have been awarded a master’s from a disreputable institution that gave a degree to a cat in the past.

Michael, who was appointed to a seat on the commission responsible for overseeing the civil service and who gets a position, raises, and pensions, got his master’s degree from Trinity Southern University, and his doctorate from Canterbury University, both known as diploma mills.

Shortly after the uproar, Michael resigned without even having stepped foot into Edy, reports in other media said.

In 2004, Trinity, which Michael had listed on his CV, had been embroiled in a scandal after the institution gave a degree to a house pet.

The pet was a house cat named Colby Nolan, who belonged to the deputy attorney-general in Pennsylvania.

For the price of $299, the cat was able to receive a degree from the Dallas-based university.

In looking to expose Trinity Southern University for fraud, undercover agents had the then-six-year-old feline obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Following the incident, the Texas attorney-general had the university’s assets frozen, and the owners Craig and Alton Poe were fined and ordered to shut down the university, whose website has been offline since 2005.

Listed on Michael’s CV is also Canterbury University, which is another institution embroiled in selling degrees.

According to his CV, he has received a PhD from the institution, which is listed as an unaccredited university in the UK and known for being a diploma mill.

The British Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Canterbury University is neither a recognised body for UK degree awards nor is it a listed body.

In Cyprus, social media was in uproar over the appointment of Michael following the revelations.

Greens MP Alexandra Attalides called the president out on Twitter, saying that he should not remain silent on the matter.

“Mister President Christodoulides, you cannot remain silent. For God’s sake. How much longer can the country last? All our political capital has been spent,” she said.

Weighing in on the appointment by the president, another Greens MP, Efi Xanthou questioned Christodoulides’ presidency, saying: “Can someone tell me again about the great change and meritocracy that the new president will bring to our country?”

She added that to show how much they [the government] respect the man, who will hold in his hands the right to appoint civil servants, promote them and examine their disciplinary offences, they did not bother to find any picture of him to accompany his modest CV when it was sent to the media.

Another pundit on social media, Leontios Philotheou, who had worked on Andreas Mavroyiannis’ campaign, said about the president’s choice: “So Nikos Christodoulides, two months after his election, continues as he started: selling an image, saying other things, doing other things, and going below the bar he himself set high.”

One commentator on social media, Christos Hadjioannou, who is an academic in Cyprus, questioned whether the degrees that Michael listed on his CV are recognised by the Cyprus diploma recognition agency (Kysats).

Later in the day, Politis reported that Michael had phoned his resignation in to the president, and that he would be holding a press conference to explain the reasons he quit and how he came to obtain his degrees.

According to the report, Michael told the president that he does not want to be a reason for the public to criticise Christodoulides.

Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis confirmed to CNA that Michael had resigned, and that the president would be appointing someone new to the Edy board soon.

Michael’s resignation comes almost two years after former volunteerism commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki resigned amid a police investigation that his academic qualifications had allegedly been forged.

In his letter to the chief of police, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said that after an anonymous complaint claiming that Yiannaki did not have a university degree, his office had carried out checks of his files at the Youth Board of Cyprus (Onek) and found that the English translation of his secondary school diploma had been tampered with.

Yiannaki’s degree from a US university also appeared to have been problematic at the time.

Both qualifications were in Yiannaki’s files at Onek where he was first appointed in 1996, securing a permanent job in 2007. President Nicos Anastasiades appointed him commissioner in May 2013.