The Scandal of the Year?

By Drew Siskin

You may have heard about this news on  Instagram, News 12, or even from your parents, but regardless of where you received your information, odds are the college admissions scandal touched close to home. Every other day, now that it is March, someone is getting an acceptance, deferral or rejection from a school of their dreams. As we all know, schools are difficult to get into and to have someone pay $50,000 to be guaranteed admission is shameful.

Firstly, I cannot wrap my head around how parents would encourage cheating by manipulating colleges around the world. In this situation, specific children knew of the crime their parents were committing to place them into elite schools such as Stanford, Yale, Georgetown, USC, UCLA, The University of Texas at Austin, among many others. One example of children who knew of the crime were those of Lori Loughlin, Olivia and Bella, who were both “recruited” to the USC Women’s Crew Team. Neither child, however, played a sport. Both kids were photoshopped onto ores as well as photoshopped over images of professional rowers. Olivia was also CC’ed on an email chain between her mother and the college counselor, William “Rick” Singer, that corrupted the system. Singer was caught wearing a wire while instructing wealthy families to conduct crimes such as cheating on the SAT, and lying to coaches by using the one thing these people had more of than most of the American population: money.

As a huge Olivia Jade fan myself, a couple of months ago I saw when she posted a video stating that “she is not excited for learning at school, she is only going to party.” It is absolutely crushing to hear this statement, as families around the world sacrifice so much to have their child admitted to any university. I, much like most other people, understand that the college system is corrupt and often unfair, however, to cheat the system is quite shameful. I cannot say whether Olivia was aware of her crimes or not, but no matter what happens, this news story will have a lasting impact on college admissions for years to come.

Finally, another terrible part of this scandal is the disrespect of the term “student-athletes.” Being a student-athlete is time-consuming and requires hard work. It is heartbreaking that wealthy children were labeled as student-athletes, disrespecting the term worldwide and potentially taking a spot from someone who probably worked their whole life to reach the highest level of competitive play: Division I athletics.

A couple of weekends ago, I was out for dinner with a group of people and we were discussing what had happened right after the crime broke out. We each went around the table stating our take on what we thought the punishments for these crimes should be. Someone at the table raised an excellent point, stating that these families deserve limited jail time or house arrest, as well as months of community service. Another person mentioned that “although these people are criminals, they do not deserve to be treated the same way, as if they committed a violent crime” (Sophie Stumacher, 10th grade). Instead, each family who committed the crimes should take their given charge and donate this amount of money to a national scholarship fund. Overall, all people at the table agreed that since these people are guilty, a punishment must be doled out and they do not deserve to escape their situation because of wealth or fame.

Overall, I would love to see what our community thinks about this issue, as well as how this crime should be handled. Please leave a comment below, letting us know any of your perspectives on this devastating and disgraceful college scandal.