This week in both legitimate and faux outrage and denial, people were shocked when a national college entrance scandal broke. This scandal involved public figures ranging from celebrities, affluent types, executives, coaches and administrators. The most two known figures at the heart of the scandal are actresses, Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. They are just a couple of key players in what the FBI has said is a 50-family operation to secure spots at top universities for their children.
Operation “Varsity Blues,” as it was coded, revealed through wire taps and money trails that families had paid millions of dollars to Rick Singer. Singer is the owner of a for-profit business in Newport Beach, CA that promises to help with test scores and admissions for college students. Prosecutors say Singer attracted families into his services by painting a very bleak picture of how selective the college admissions process is. Telling them that just one small mistake in grades, or essays could cost their child a spot at prestigious universities.
There has been 32 parents named by the FBI’s affidavit, which was filed in Boston. The students who have been identified as being admitted through way of Singer’s company are currently being expelled. Some agree that those children should be removed, others say action should only be taken against their parents. The schools themselves scrambling to save the prestigious brands.
College entrance time is frightening, especially students from working to lower income families. I remember my parents first talking to me about college as soon as I entered fifth grade. Then having to take entrance exams in middle school and keep my grades up to go to a specific high school in our suburb that was strictly for college prep. Sophomore and junior years included classes strictly for preparing to take ACT’s and SAT’s. Not the most fun high school experience, but I think we can all understand the pressure back in high school of getting into a top school or a first choice.
Worrying about if my essay or extracurriculars are valid enough? Did I misspell something on my Common Application? Should I have done community service in something that I had no interest in?
I think some of those, if not all, are general worries we all had at one point when going through the headache that is admissions and applications.
There are 50 families are facing legal action from the federal government and also families and students who believe they were denied entrance due to the kids of those involved being admitted.
Singer, 58, pleaded guilty to money laundering, fraud, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. His company did not give flat out donations to the school but paid certain coaches and administrators to lie, alter and pad school records of prospective students. In the case of Loughlin and some others, going as far as having their kids faces photoshopped into pictures of their high school sports teams in bids to secure them admissions by way of athletics.
Loughlin’s daughter, Youtube influencer, Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, was photoshopped into her high schools rowing team, a sport she did not play. This helped boost her way into the University of Southern California, USC, also known as the University of Spoiled Children. Giannulli has since lost a myriad of brand endorsements ranging from Sephora to Tresemme. Especially in light of a video on her Youtube channel in which she discussed not caring for or attending class and more wanting to enjoy the party and social aspects of college.
USC is not the only high ranking school caught in this public relations mess, Georgetown, Yale, UCLA, Stanford, are just a few.
Here’s the thing, families with money and influence have been manipulating admissions at colleges for decades. From donating buildings, wings, sports and tech or legacy admissions, and not just at these prestigious schools. It happens at smaller in state public and private colleges as well. Yet, a scandal on a known level such as this has never been so fully exposed.
Whether we here at UM-Dearborn are here because it is our first choice or not, I’m sure most would be angry if they found out they were possibly denied entrance because a kid who could care less about being there was admitted over them. Factor into that that their parents might have paid their way in, in some form, it can be a blow to your morals. Yet at the same time, a lot of higher education, both public and private, is about profit.
I am not shocked that something like this is happening. It has been going on probably as long has university as existed. Maybe one day when colleges stop acting like a combination of banks and slaughterhouses they can then stop these types of incidents.