Program Success 24 March 2019
This White People College Cheating Scam Is the Perfect Example of Why We Need Affirmative Action
By Monique Judge
News Editor for The Root and # TheRootAfterDark Columnist
White People College Cheating Scam Monique Judge Jacksonville , Florida March 2019
Lori Loughlin , left , and actress Felicity Huffman ( r ) are among at least 40 people indicted in a sweeping college admissions bribery scandal . Both were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in indictments unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Boston .
Whenever people try to tell me that affirmative action admissions policies give black people ( and by extension other nonblack people of color ) an unfair advantage , I always have to remind them that the deck is stacked against us in the first place . White privilege , systemic and institutionalized racism and nepotism are some of the biggest advantages that white students have when applying for college . And , apparently , when those don ’ t work , their parents will just spend a lot of money to flat out cheat the system .
And so it is that actresses Lori Loughlin ( Aunt Becky from Full ( er ) House ) and Felicity Huffman ( Desperate Housewives , Transamerica ) are among the at least 50 people who have been charged in a college entrance cheating scandal , according to NBC News . An FBI investigation , code named Operation Varsity Blues , uncovered the $ 25 million scam involved parents spending thousands of dollars to boost their children ’ s chances of being accepted into top-tier schools , including Yale and Stanford , by paying people to take college entrance exams on their children ’ s behalf , bribing exam administrators to allow the cheating to happen , and bribing college administrators and athletic coaches to identify applicants as recruited athletes — despite their ( non ) athletic abilities .
Both Huffman and Loughlin are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud . A total of 50 people , including 33 parents and 9 college coaches , are charged in the plot that involves students who were seeking admission to schools such as Georgetown University , Stanford University , UCLA , the University of San Diego , USC , University of Texas , Wake Forest , and Yale .
William Rick Singer , the founder of a for-profit college preparation business based in Newport Beach , Calif ., is said to be the mastermind of the scheme . Parents allegedly paid him between $ 15,000 and $ 75,000 per test for someone to either take the SAT or ACT on behalf of their children or to change their child ’ s incorrect answers after the student had already taken the test . Additionally , parents reportedly paid Singer to bribe college coaches and administrators to designate their children as student athletes or “ other favored admissions categories ,” according to court documents . The colleges themselves are not targets of the investigation , and aside from the named college coaches , the schools had no part in the scam .
Loughlin allegedly paid $ 500,000 to have her two daughters designated as recruits for the crew team in order to gain admission to USC , according to MSNBC , while Huffman is alleged to have spent $ 15,000 to have her daughter ’ s incorrect answers changed on the SAT . Huffman is on a recording the FBI has with a cooperating witness discussing the alleged scheme .
“ We believe everyone charged here today had a role in fostering a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for students trying to get into these schools the right way through hard work , good grades and community service ,” John Bonavolonta , FBI special agent in charge , told NBC News . “ Following 10 months of investigation using sophisticated techniques , the FBI uncovered what we believe to be a rigged system ,” Bonavolonta said , “ robbing students all over the country of their right to a fair shot of getting into some of the most elite universities in this country .”
And that is the crux of it . All affirmative action does is level the playing field so everyone has a shot . What these parents are accused of doing is paying to give their children a leg up above everyone else - a leg up they didn ’ t deserve - so they could gain admission to the school of their choice . Because this is how privilege works . This is how white privilege works . They see something they want , and they believe that someone else shouldn ’ t have it , so they do whatever they have to do to make sure they get it — even if that means cheating other more well-deserving candidates out of the way .
Shame on everyone involved in this . And shame on anyone who still thinks affirmative action is unnecessary .