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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Review: The largest college admissions scam in U.S. History

Dozens of wealthy parents [including celebrities] have allegedly been found guilty of paying millions to have a third party bribe universities.This includes tampering with standardized test results, paying off athletic coaches, and using photoshop as a guarantee for their child’s admission to their desired university.

“Operation Varsity Blues,” the name that the FBI has dubbed this investigation, has exposed about 50 people involved in this national scandal being the biggest college admission scam in U.S. history. Some of the people charged so far include two very well known actresses, Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, and influential business leaders. Prosecutors believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg and that many more people could be involved.

Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband allegedly paid Singer $500,000 to a USC rowing coach to recruit their daughter as an athlete on the university’s team.

Felicity Huffman allegedly made a $15,000 donation to a fake charity in exchange for her daughter to take her SAT exam at a location where the test proctor corrected all the answers for her.

celebrities in scandal bribe
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori loughlin, are among the 50 people being investigated in one of the biggest college admissions scams in U.S. history. Photo credit: Google Images

So far, the universities involved in the scandal include: USC, Yale, Georgetown, UCLA, Wake Forest, Stanford, University of Texas, and University of San Diego.

The third party responsible for the corruption was CEO Rick Singer, who owns the admissions company Edge College and Career Network. He used these factions to funnel all his money through.

Singer bribed officials administering college entrance examinations to turn a blind eye when sending another person to take the test for a student that has paid Singer off. He has also falsified medical notes that diagnose students with a learning disability in order to give them unlimited time to take the exams. Singer has also bribed college coaches to recruit students as athletes, for the sole purpose of admitting them into the university. Singer has raked in an estimated 25 million dollars in bribe money from parents.

Currently, Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith [head soccer coach at Yale University], Jovan Vavic [men and women’s waterpolo coach at USC], and John Vandemoer [sailing coach at Stanford University], have all been fired for their role played in the scandal. Other coaches are still awaiting their fate.

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In the wake of this scandal, many students are feeling cheated by a system that promises that their hard work will be rewarded by acceptances into universities.

Two Stanford students, Kalea Woods and Erica Olsen, are filing a $5 million dollar lawsuit against the university. They are suing on the basis that amidst this college scandal, their degrees from this prestigious university will no longer be valued. They have reason to believe that prospective employers question if they received their degree based on their academic merit or if their admission was simply bought.

Students around the nation are frustrated and feeling cheated by a rigged system.

Fullerton College students were quick to voice their opinions on this scandal.

“I think it is unfair that people are taking away places from students who actually work hard and may have earned their way into a school. And the people paying for their children to get into these schools are just the tip of the iceberg because there has to be a whole system of going about this process and everyone turning a blind eye is and should be held just as guilty,” said Math major Antoinette Murphy.

“This scandal is not surprising but it is nice that is is being brought to light and hopefully will be brought to justice”.

Jonathan Hasson, liberal arts major, also shared his frustration. “I am very upset that these rich people are taking the opportunities away from the students and families that actually deserve the spots in Ivy League schools.” said Hasson.

Rick Singer
CEO Rick Singer is the accused ring leader of accepting near 25 million dollars in bribes from other wealthy CEO's and actors in order to get their kids into some of the top schools in the nation. Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Although this scandal can be discouraging to some students with aspirations of eventually attending one of the US’s most prestigious universities, Cecilia Arriaza, Director of FC Cadena Transfer Center, shares some words of encouragement.

“We here at Fullerton College Transfer Center thing what happened is disgraceful and unfair to students who do not have parents with the means and influence to buy their way into college. While the incidents in the news seem to be primarily at the freshmen level (an applicant pool that is typically separate from that for transfers) I can understand students’ frustrations,” said Arriaza.

“Despite this scandal students should know that their hard work will always pay off in the end. It is worth mentioning that countless FC students have been admitted to highly competitive universities based solely on their academic acumen and talent. This fact alone should encourage our students to continue to consider competitive colleges and strive to their very best.” added Arriaza