The college admissions scandal that ensnared Hollywood celebrities and dozens more dominated the media and sparked fresh debates on privilege and the education system.
Last week, breaking news hit that Full House star Lori Loughlin and Desperate Housewives’s Felicity Huffman were two of 33 parents that were caught in a college entrance scam known as “Operation Varsity Blues.”
Elites paid large amounts of money to coaches and college recruiters in order to secure an acceptance from prestigious schools like Yale, Georgetown and University of Southern California. Loughlin allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes to get her daughters on the row team — even though they aren’t athletes. The cooperating witness, who some call the “ring leader” of the scam, was William Singer, the CEO of a college prep company in California.
The scam also involved cheating on entry exams like the SAT and ACT. Mark Riddell, the man who allegedly took the SAT for these students, was reportedly paid $10,000 per test by Singer. According to Buzzfeed, the criminal complaint by the FBI in Boston explains how they got away with it: “By posing as the actual students, and … by providing students with answers during the exams or by correcting their answers after they had completed the exams.” In all, 50 people were charged.
The news dominated media across the country. Black and Latino voices on the web expressed their perspective: Without all the criminality and cheating brought up by the scandal, the playing field is already tilted toward rich white people. While affirmative action has been demonized, wealthy have access to resources like SAT-prep courses and guidance coaches — resources that many POC don’t have. The idea that the privileged would still go out of there way to cheat in a system that benefits them is a frustrating thought to those who actually work really hard for the same academic consideration.
Here are some of the voices sparking the wider discussion: