College admissions scandal: the unfair advantages of wealth in America

Taylor Teifke, Memorial Staff Writer

The emergence of the 2019 college admissions scandal is nothing to be shocked about. Many members of the upper-class have used their money as an advantage to obtain positions they didn’t earn, and this scandal is nothing new. With such a high standing in society, none of the 50 individuals who paid college recruiters to guarantee their child or children’s acceptance to some of the country’s top universities expected to be caught.

The details of the scandal are simple: wealthy parents wanted their children to attend elite colleges, but the child’s academic performance or athletic records barely met the qualifications for acceptance. Instead of using their money for tutoring or private coaches, the parents chose to pay testing centers to inflate their children’s test scores or college athletics advisers to falsely increase the chances of acceptance.

Now universities like Stanford, University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California (USC) and Yale are allowing an extensive probing of students’ records to find those who are also connected to the scandal, most notably actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli’s two daughters. The girls’ parents falsified their athletic records for their acceptance to USC on athletic scholarships, which they knowingly participated in. Thus far, only Yale has revoked the admission of a student involved in the scandal, though USC has fired its women’s water polo coach, Jovan Vavic, after authorities indicted him for accepting bribes to admit students on athletic scholarships, despite the students having little to no experience with the challenging and physically demanding sport.

This scandal raises the issue of the advantages the upper class have in society. While elite universities are populated with rich teenagers whose parents paid for their acceptance, countless other students who actually work hard to attend college are deprived of the chance to do so simply because they do not have the money for tuition. If parents bribe colleges so their non-deserving children can attend, what’s to stop them from going straight into a job they don’t deserve?

At least in the face of this scandal, those who directly participated are in the process of being held accountable for their actions. In Loughlin’s case, the actress has been dropped from her role in the popular TV series Fuller House, as well as the countless movies she has starred in for the Hallmark Channel. Loughlin and the other 49 individuals, including American Crime actress Felicity Huffman, will likely also face prison time for what is considered a federal crime. Both the public and the media have responded to this event with disdain for the arrogance and dishonesty of the general upper-class, but also satisfaction that the transgressors have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar and will be disciplined accordingly.

Hopefully, the discovery of the scandal will send a message to the upper class: no matter how much money one has, they are not above the law any more than the rest of us.

Contact Taylor Teifke at [email protected].