I’m not sure whether to feel shame, guilt or disappointment as I watched my favorite television show character’s face plastered all over the news today. Felicity Huffman, best known for her role on Desperate Housewives, is one of many wealthy and high-profile parents accused of paying to secure spots for their children at elite universities around the country.
Called “Operation Varsity Blues,” the scheme consisted of two different scenarios, according to a recent report by CNN. Allegedly, parents could either pay a college prep organization known as The Key, for someone to alter answers on SAT/ACT tests, or someone would pretend to be the student and take the test for them. In the second scenario, the organization allegedly bribed college coaches to admit students into schools as recruited athletes, regardless of whether they played the sport. So far, 50 people were charged by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling.
In a statement to CNN, Leilling said the case is nothing but a “catalog of wealth and privilege,” —people who tend to think their wealth and elite statuses make them immune to the rules that apply to everyone else, in my opinion. Leilling says that the college admissions system cannot provide a separate window or “side door” as the scheme’s ringleader Rick Singer described it, “for the wealthy.” Adding, “there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.”
Side door my ass. How about calling it the window you busted open to force entry into these schools. Entry through a front door, back door, or side door does not result in criminal activity or criminal charges, Dumbo(Singer).
But what does a criminal justice system mean when you hold the pleasure of having financial freedom and you can buy yourself out of something or into something–as the admissions scandal proves. At least that’s what one would think of actress Lori Loughlin, known from the T.V. show “Full House” and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. The two are accused of paying up to $500,000 to get their two daughters into The University of Southern California. One daughter had posted a video on YouTube saying she only wanted to attend school for the games and partying. “I don’t really care about school, as you guys know,” said Loughlin and Giannulli’s daughter, Olivia Jade according to CBS. Olivia did apologize after she made the comment, however it still displays what she really thought of the importance of a college education. And to think about it, I guess being mad at her parents isn’t necessary either. They did spend a ton of money to get their brats, I mean daughters into college, when they could’ve used that money to build a USC campus in their backyard—assuming they have a yard. LOL!!
On a serious note though, the problem really isn’t the parents scheming to get their kids into college. It’s the adrenaline behind being prestigious and privileged that’s the problem. CNN correspondent Frank Bruni discussed the college application process on CNN Business. He examined the different college tiers– which divide schools up by academic prestige, — that accept 50% of their applicants such as the University of Georgia or University of Florida, while other tiers such as Columbia or The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor will take 10-20% of their applicants. Bruni said, “We’ve turned the college admissions process into a shopping mall.” Parents and students shop their applications to the most prestigious Universities, as if it means more because the student attends that school. He described the colleges as the Neiman Marcus’s, the JCPenney’s and the Targets of higher education,
The school that you attend does not matter though. What matters is the work you do when you get to that school” according to Bruni.
As a graduate student myself, I understand Bruni’s point. NYU may not be Ivy League, but it offers me the opportunity to better prepare myself for the workforce because I choose to work hard. And while NYU may not be the Barney’s or Neiman Marcus’s of colleges, my Saks Fifth Avenue school is perfect for me.