Loss of integrity in college admissions scandal

Maureen DeGregorio, Social Media Manager

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Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday for paying to inflate the scores of her daughter’s university entrance exams. Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to William “Rick” Singer, a college admissions consultant. Singer ran an illicit operation to prey on his wealthy clients and their concerns for their children not getting into top schools. Huffman is one of 33 parents charged.

While Huffman and select others were accused of paying Singer to record a higher SAT or ACT score, others were alleged to have paid six-figure sums to ensure their children’s entrance into schools such as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, UCLA and USC under the guise of athletic recruits for sports the children didn’t play. Interestingly enough, Huffman was one of 15 parents who did not fight the government’s case as she pleaded guilty in May.

This is where the debate comes into play. While many people are arguing that 14 days is not long enough, others believe this is “the only leveler” against their money and influence. I agree with this because sentencing a well-known person to 14 days will send a message. Along with the two weeks, she is to pay a $30,000 fine and serve 250 hours of community service. She is also on probation for a year after she serves her time in custody.

 

I am taking Urban Relations with Dr. Deresse Kassa this semester. In class, we distinguished the difference between money, power and influence. Money contributes to influence, but influence is not equivalent to power. However, there are exceptions to this depending on how you define power. This is true in the college admissions scandal. The children of these wealthy individuals should not receive special treatment or special admissions because their family can afford it. The issue is not being able to pay tuition but the acceptance into these elite schools. Despite them being wealthy, this does not give them the power to grant their children better opportunities compared to others who are applying to the same school.

I find it absurd that some of these students were admitted into these schools under the guise of being athletes when they do not possess the skills to be on the team. It is easy to lose sight of what is truly important in society, but these wealthy individuals are no different from the rest of us. Perhaps coming from a certain family will help someone get a job, but education is not always the determining factor. We keep trying to hide under labels and think that the best of the best are the only ones to survive in this world. Steve Jobs did not come from a wealthy family, but he worked to earn his success and wealth. Although there might be more obstacles to face if you are not as rich, it does not mean that you cannot make something of yourself and prove others wrong.

I also believe that we should be proving ourselves. There is already a heated debate regarding the effectiveness of standardized testing for college admissions, and this is something that is trying to be fixed. These parents did not have the right to intervene and use their money to ensure their children’s future success.