College scandal brought to light

50 people accused in college admissions scandal


Olivia Jade, on the left, and Lori Loughlin, on the right, posing together at a publicity event for Maybelline. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Alex Glaspie, Feature Editor

In late March of 2019, a bold statement was made regarding Yale University during a court case, something that would bring the world aware of a big problem among many universities in the country. An alumnus from Yale, Morrie Tobin, informed a judge in court that the Yale Women’s Soccer coach offered him an opportunity to pay her $450,000 so that his daughter would be automatically accepted to the prestigious university.

Since this information was released, 50 people have been accused of maintaining relations with coaches, admissions counselors, and important people affiliated with distinguished colleges around the country in hopes of gaining acceptance for their children into their schools.

“I don’t know if I was completely surprised about this scandal,” RHS counselor, Mrs. Aaliyah Caggins said. “I just thought that it was extremely unfortunate. I was glad that something like this had come to light and this is something that hopefully won’t continue, but it was still unfortunate on many levels to me.”

Money had been given to colleges as a bribe by the parental guardians of the students accepted into the schools, an illegal offence punishable by law. These adults have all been accused in a court of law, some which have already underwent trials.

“The parents initiated the requests and the admissions people involved had a means by which to carry out these requests,” Mrs. Caggins said. “[The parents] never would have taken advantage of that means if they didn’t initiate the request. I feel like the parents share the majority of the blame, but every one involved had an equal part and they are at fault as well.”

Since this has been released, many have debated that the reason this happened was because families with mass amounts of wealth had the opportunity to bribe colleges, which not everyone is able to do. Money might not play a big factor in the lives of many people, but it did in this situation.

“Without their wealth [those accused] wouldn’t have been able to do this in the first place,” Mrs. Caggins said. “This speaks to how much of a divide there is between students who are actually academically worthy to get a place at a university like that and students who just have the money to get in.”

Many people involved in the scandal were sued by third parties for preventing other children from getting into the colleges that were involved in the scandal. Among those sued was Full House star, Lori Loughlin (“Aunt Becky”), and American film actress, Felicity Huffman; both were sued collectively for 500 billion dollars.

“I can’t see the parents getting jail time for this,” Mrs. Caggins said “I don’t think that would be appropriate. They already have money. The fine that they’re getting isn’t the best punishment, but I don’t see any better way to find closure.”

The parents have been continuously blamed by people around the globe for causing such an uproar within the college admissions process. However, after this situation came to light, their children have taken harsh feedback as well, many going silent on social media.

“Students are still young and they’re following the direction of their parents and the adults in their lives,” Mrs. Caggins said. “If the adults in their lives are telling them it’s a good idea and this is what’s going to happen, it’s going to be very difficult for students to disagree with that.”

This scandal brought to light the differences between wealthy individuals and those who were not blessed with mass amounts of money. Many students feel betrayed by those involved in the scandal, since not everyone gets an opportunity to go to a prestigious college because of the cost of universities.

I feel that due to my family’s financial status that I won’t be able to get into a good college,” senior Brooklynn Zale said. “I understand the lengths parents go to for their kids, but it’s unfair for the ones who don’t have that same lifestyle.”

Lori Loughlin was among many famous faces involved in the scandal. Her and her husband were accused of bribing the rowing coach at the University of Southern California to lie that her two daughters were elite members of the crew team. Loughlin was immediately dropped by all of her sponsored companies in light of the scandal, including the Hallmark channel and the Netflix series “Fuller House.”

I love ‘Full House’ and to be completely honest, when I heard about Lori, I didn’t know that this was the type of person that she was,” Mrs. Caggins said. “I don’t know why she felt like this was something she needed to do for her daughters. It does take me back a bit like maybe I won’t watch the next season of her show on Netflix.”

Many believe that academics should be the driving force in the admissions process so that kids are accepted into colleges that they are worthy of. To those involved in the scandal, this wasn’t the case. Money seemed to play a deeper role in the motive behind bribing colleges.

“It’s unfair to the other students that their rich parents can use money to their advantage,” senior Gabrielle Wilson said. “Others who are striving for the same opportunity may not have that same money to help them ‘bribe’ their way in.”

A main focus that the media has emphasized is if the children who were accepted under false allegations had any idea that their parents committed this crime. Olivia Jade, the daughter of Lori Loughlin, has supposedly not spoken to her mother since the scandal came to light, implying that she had no idea of the bribe.

I would say that the students were probably aware,” Mrs. Caggins said. “Only because if you’re the student, you know if you have the ability to get into a prestigious university. Especially having the parents they have and the wealth they have, they had to have known that there was something not 100 percent right with their college acceptances.”

For many students, the thought of getting rejected from a college because another student bribed their way in is upsetting.

“I would feel discouraged,” Wilson said. “If someone at the same academic level as me got in to a college because their parents got them in with their money and I got denied, I would be upset.”

In light of this scandal, it is obvious that from this, colleges have rearranged their admissions process and have begun heavily analyzing each applicant more than they did before. This could turn out to be a good thing, as it could prevent anything like this happening again.

Since this all happened, it has exposed the corrupt and faulty application and acceptance system/process,” Wilson said. “This shows that there needs to be a change and that this can not happen again.”