The College Cheating Scheme Is a Slap in the Face to All Students of Color

The nationwide college admissions cheating plot has rocked the world of academia

Photo: Unsplash/@jasminecoro

Photo: Unsplash/@jasminecoro

The nationwide college admissions cheating plot has rocked the world of academia. Nearly 50 people have been charged so far, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, a.k.a Aunt Becky from Full House (the jokes write themselves here). It is one of the biggest college admissions schemes the Justice Department has ever prosecuted. Sadly, I’m not the least bit surprised.

Aunt Becky and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli bribed a coach in the USC athletic department to get both of their daughters into the University of Southern California. All in, they paid $500,000 in bribes to have their daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team, which is interesting considering neither of their daughters rowed crew. Tough luck for all those young women who had been training in the wee hours of the morning for years on end in the hopes of earning a spot on the team. 

Their daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli is a YouTuber and began her first semester at the University of Southern California in the fall of 2018. Incorporating her college experience in her Vlogger brand, she received a ton of backlash for a video she posted in August where she admitted she only attends college for the parties. “I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know,” she scoffed. How embarrassing! And this is the girl who straight up stole another deserving young lady’s spot. I’m sure Aunt Becky and her husband are asking themselves if any of this was even worth it. Unfortunately, they weren’t the only parents paying big money to get their kids into fancy schools.

Justice officials claim that parents were paying a man named William Singer who had created a for-profit college admissions company based in Newport Beach, California in 2011. According to reports, a number of rich, powerful, and famous parents paid up to $6 million to assure that their privileged children were accepted into highly competitive universities including Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and the University of Southern California.

Interestingly enough, the sports tactic was one a lot of parents took, going as far as photo-shopping their kids’ faces on athletic bodies — true story. The money would also go towards bribing SAT or ACT administrators to alter students’ test scores so that they would meet the requirements to get into these competitive schools. Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman (who was charged on Tuesday) was accused of allegedly paying Singer $15,000 for a falsified high SAT score for their daughter

What’s especially bothersome about all this is the fact that rich people — rich white people especially — seem to think that their already privileged kids deserve special and preferential treatment. The sad thing is, I didn’t bat an eyelash when I heard the news. In fact, some of my friends and family even admitted that they always assumed rich White people did this. We all believed that a majority of the kids of these parents get into fancy colleges through personal connections or financial bribery, and this case just proved our assumptions to be true.

It’s unfortunate because, for every rich privileged kid whose parents paid and scammed to get them into a school, there are a number of students that got into those same competitive schools based on real achievements. There were no other options for them other than to work hard, get great grades, and earn their way in. For many of us, getting into a college of our choice is a lifelong dream. Whereas kids like Aunt Becky’s daughters got in because they were lucky to have rich scam artist parents that would help them get the best education possible, regardless of their merit, or in this case, the clear lack thereof. Seriously, how unfair is that?

There have been many debates about whether affirmative action is still necessary. Well guess what? It is. Affirmative Action policies are essentially the only guarantee of equal access to education for minorities who have been historically excluded in from these institutions — Latino and Black students especially. It’s policies like these that keep qualified Latino and Black students from being overlooked. Oh, and by the way, the largest beneficiaries of affirmative action policies have actually been young, white women

Our current president says we should get rid of affirmative action policies because they “discriminate against whites in admissions,” and to now learn that rich White parents paid bribes to get their vastly unqualified kids into some of the top schools in the country is disturbing, to say the least, and straight up discouraging for lots of minority students out there right now working hard day and night to pursue their dreams.

We’re told in this country that education is the key to success. If education is what ultimately sparks real and significant change, we need more people of color attending top universities. To think that so many students of color could have missed out on attending the school of their choice because some rich White kid got illegal financial help from mom and dad, literally makes me sick to my stomach.

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