Felicity Huffman’s college scandal: a cautious approach


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Huffman and Williams-Bolar, two convicted mothers from different walks of life, face backlash from the public on their crimes to the education system.

Natalia Mora, Memorial Copy Editor

Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman wove herself into a nationwide college admissions cheating scandal to increase her daughter’s chances at a prestigious acting college. The charge, costing her 250 community service hours and 14 days in prison, claims that Huffman paid $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT math scores so her daughter would be accepted to college.

Huffman, wrought with shame, was insistent that her actions were influenced by wanting to be a better mother to her daughter with a learning disability. In her testimony, she passed on the liability to a cheating scheme called The Edge College & Career Network disguised as a so-called “private life coaching and college counseling company” hellbent on giving the wealthy families of Los Angeles an edge in the education system. 

The scam, allegedly spearheaded by CEO Rick Singer, promises to attach a price tag to academic success, an offer that was irresistible to Huffman’s purposes.

The surprisingly inconsequential sentence almost suggests an elitist advantage. Fans haven’t hesitated on slinging backlash, stating that the “severe” sentence was incredibly light compared with the same hypothetical scenario in the shoes of someone without her standing.

Eight years prior, Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar, living in a bad neighborhood, was convicted of forging her address to enroll her children into a better school district and sentenced to five years in prison. Despite her time served being shrunk to 10 days at a later date, the internet community has eagerly taken to compare the two cases–and use the racial Williams-Bolar is African-American and class disparity to highlight justice system hypocrisy.

In truth, as insatiable as this occurrence is, and though I can completely back the argument that the government’s court system is severely flawed based on even more variables than race and class, the difference between the cases is too wide to hedge them on the same playing field. In truth, Huffman and Williams-Bolar’s attempt to maneuver the government’s flawed system to benefit their child’s education is one of their few parallels.

This scenario appears to pose a legitimate bout of hypocrisy in the justice system’s application to the rich and famous. Huffman’s sentence speaks lengths about the lack of equal justice in the court system, but so does Williams-Bolar’s. The comparison’s colloquial translation has shrouded this truth into obscurity.

The media took to disperse a sensationalized version of each story to make a point of injustice. Though the stance was a valiant effort, its evidence was a grossly overgeneralized distortion to serve their rhetoric.

Huffman and Williams-Bolar, two mothers on opposite ends of the class spectrum, tried to ensure that the education system wouldn’t push their children out of their opportunities. Their respective breaches of the law, though stemmed from similar motives, should be approached with great caution when in comparison.


Contact Natalia Mora at [email protected]