The university admissions and testing scandal
Clarissa Sabile, Contributor
This month, an admissions and testing scandal titled “Operation Varsity Blues” broke out in prominent US Ivy League universities. Fifty parents, coaches, and SAT/ACT administrators were exposed for fraudulent acts like bribery, creating false athletic credits and evaluation enhancements. Willam Rick Singer, the CEO of “The Key”, a college admissions prep company, arranged the scheme by disguising the bribes as donations to the “Key Worldwide Foundation”, which was ironically made to support education goals for underprivileged students. Many eyes are following the allegations against famous Full House actress Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli, who were involved in the scheme to allow their two daughters, Isabella and Olivia, into the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. The accused are to show in court by the end of March.
A typical reaction to the scandal goes from surprise, to dismay that was already there. An article by The Atlantic explained how the admission process is flawed in the first place. They determined that college admissions have been problematic for a long time, due to the difficult criteria each applicant must fit. And so forth, these standards take away from potential student diversity and talent. They suggest to look down upon those that were caught, but also at ourselves for following the crooked admissions system in the first place. A few of the rich and privileged may have lost, but the students, parents and teachers that continue to obey rich and privileged structures have lost even more. So, who’s to blame when the elite cheaters are actually opening the public’s eyes?
Many applicants that were declined into these schools are suing for being put at a disadvantage. Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods are current students at Stanford University, who were denied entry into Yale and USC. More parents of children that experienced denial have filed lawsuits against prestigious universities. Instead of glaring at the 50 rich wrongdoers, of whom will return to their comfortable mansions once the scandal settles, the schools themselves should be cracked down on.
Most of the public controversy was from the youngest daughter of Loughlin and Giannulli, Olivia Jade, who is a well-known Youtuber and social media influencer and maintained multiple beauty sponsorships. However, after the scandal surfaced, brands like Sephora pulled their collaborative products. In mid-2018, she uploaded a Q&A video on her acceptance to USC, of which has been deleted. According to reuploads from other sources, she stated her excitement to “experience game days, partying”, and how she “didn’t really care about school.” She received instantaneous backlash from saying this. In an apology video titled “im sorry” Jade explained her ignorance and stupidity for her statement, defending herself against her upset viewers. She disabled comments for the video. Keep in mind: this was eight months prior to the bribery scandal. Jade’s accidental slip was an initial peek into the cheating admission situation, supposing her parents paid her way into USC and her main interests were to have fun rather than learn. It also further backs the issues of white privilege and wealth gaps in the US. After all, you’d probably be outraged too if you found out the bratty popular girl with famous parents got into the school you didn’t get into.
As one of many that weren’t born into affluence, the scandal was definitely eye-opening, but not surprising. Diplomas aren’t cheap, and those parents that could afford them would prefer giving their children a get out of jail free card. That is, until the university systems adjust their flawed admission processes and the world balances its imbalanced wealth structures. If that’s even possible.