Yesterday news broke regarding the nation's largest college admission scandal to date. Nearly 50 individuals were involved in the incident, including parents, college administrators, coaches, and exam proctors. The misconduct included cheating on standardized tests, bribery, and efforts to have non-athletic students admitted as athletes.
Let's break this down because this story is wild.
FIRST OF ALL, are we even shocked? I for one was waiting for something like this to happen because it was only a matter of time before these fools got caught. Let's be real. Your child has never been an extreme athlete, why would anyone believe your child is suddenly the star of the team? I guess when your parents pay $500,000 to be accepted to USC, it's a little easier to overlook the fact that you have no athletic capability.
Among those involved, most notably has been actresses Full House actress Lori Loughlin and Desperate Housewife actress Felicity Huffman, as well as Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade. Although the scandal involves numerous families and college admins, the efforts to conceal the crime along with the attitudes held regarding the situation shed light on the notion that wealthy American families can lie and cheat their way to additional privilege.
Now, I understand some inequality is inevitable, and some people are just simply lucky to be who they are. Still, what gives you the right to take an opportunity away from a well deserving student who worked hard to earn their admission and paid the appropriate amount to attend?
In 2018, Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade disclosed on her Youtube Channel her opinions of college and education altogether. She said, "I don't know how much of school I'm gonna attend ... I do want the experience of like game days, partying … I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." As a YouTuber with nearly 2 million subscribers, Olivia Jade has made a name for herself, aside from her mother's fame. In fact, Olivia earns a profit from advertising and promoting school-related brand products, including being teamed up with Direct Smile Club and Amazon Student.
The YouTube star may be a hardworking social media star, but her work as a student did not earn her a spot into USC. In order to gain admission to USC, Loughlin bribed recruiters from the USC rowing team paying up to half a million dollars. Additionally, Loughlin sent pictures of her daughter on a rowing machine to college officials, since Olivia had never competed in the sport herself. Some families even photoshopped their kids' faces on the bodies of legitimate student-athletes in order to deceive doubters.
Following the scandal, talks of criminalizing wrongdoers, firing college staff involved, and possibly expelling those students aware of the scandal have circulated. And here's where my opinion matters. As a POC and a student at UCLA, I am appalled by the entitlement and arrogance of these individuals. I'm sorry, but if someone will be criminalized for lying about their zip code in hopes of their child attending a better school, then anyone involved in CHEATING via bribery should without a doubt be held accountable and penalized. I have worked hard my entire life to attend a great college. My family didn't have the extra cash lying around to throw it in the faces of the next person willing to offer me admission. I am fortunate enough to be able to afford college.
A STUDENT WHO HAS THE GRADES TO ATTEND A SCHOOL SHOULD NOT BE REJECTED IN PLACE OF ANOTHER STUDENT WHO LACKS THE GRADES BUT HAS THE MONEY TO BRIBE THEIR WAY THROUGH.
In relation to the scandal, competitive schools should reconsider the harm caused by donations and legacy admissions. Beginning with legacy admissions, no student should be automatically accepted to a school for the mere fact that someone in their family has already attended. THIS IS HOW INEQUALITY IS REPRODUCED. The history of education in America is unjust, and legacies help keep outsiders out while keeping insiders in. In a sense, donations also represent inequality. If two students are being considered for admission, the student whose family is donating a new library might be admitted over the student with the exceptional grades and financial aid.
EXCUSE ME, but how is this acceptable? Rich kids taking the spots of deserving students at notable universities has occurred long enough. The power is systemic and the inequality is structural. The system disproportionately benefits you already, even without your bribes!
IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE. Your privilege is showing. Thank you, next.