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The college admissions scandal sheds light on a flawed justice system

The college admissions scandal sheds light on a flawed justice system

The college admissions scandal sheds light on a flawed justice system
October 12
16:25 2019

College is the chapter in everyone’s life where they journey to truly find themselves. Some do so in the earlier stages of college, and others later.

Either way, this is the time where we find our passions and explore them. It is here where we really start living. Our professors, the courses we take, as well as the activities we partake in mold us for what is yet to come in the future.

We’re told that if we work hard enough, make all the right grades and participate in all the right activities, we’ll make it to wherever we want to go.

This, however, is far from the truth.

No matter how well you do in your academics or extracurriculars, if a privileged wealthy person comes along, they will be sure to take your place even if they’re less qualified.

Bribery into college is not a new thing. In fact, it has been happening for years by entertainers, business leaders and other wealthy parents.

According to an article by The Insider, 51 participants and 33 parents of college applicants were accused of paying over $25 million dollars from 2011-2018 to William Rick Singer in order to get their children admitted into America’s top universities, in the scandal known now as “Operation Varsity Blues.”

The schools at the forefront of this scandal include Yale, USC, Stanford and the Georgetown universities.

As shown by court documents inspected by The Insider, this arrangement consisted of giving mass amounts of money to college athletic coaches in exchange for getting their children recruited into athletic teams despite their lack of athletic ability, as well as falsifying college entrance exams.

The college admissions scandal is a perfect example of what takes place when we allow mediocrity to flourish.

Out of all the participants of this horrendous and shameful scandal, the most high profile partakers were actresses Lori Loughlin of “Full House” and Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannuli, paid $500,000 dollars to ensure that their two daughters would get recruited into the USC’s rowing team despite them not even knowing how to row. The couple even took the absurd measures of photoshopping their daughters into a rowing team to portray them as avid rowers.

As stated by the Los Angeles Times, Felicity Huffman paid $15,000 to a false charity in exchange for a boosted, yet phony SAT score for one of her daughters. Huffman was allegedly going to do the same for her younger child but opted against it due to fear of suspicions. Like the other participants, both women have been charged with fraudulent crimes.

Everything about “Operation Varsity Blues” has disgusted me, but what I found to be absolutely shocking was the incredibly light sentence Felicity Huffman received.

According to an article by Vox, Huffman was given just 14 days in prison, as well as a $30,000 dollar fee. For the judge to sentence Huffman with only 14 days is the biggest, tasteless joke of 2019.

Not only does this show the public that cheating your way into college is okay, it also highlights how white privilege works in our nation.

In addition, the sentence is a reflection of America’s flawed justice system that’s laden with racism. This illustrates how the white and wealthy can get away with merely anything due to them having privilege in their favor. This cannot be said about women of color who have been punished with far longer sentences simply for enrolling their children into better primary education public schools.

In 2011, a homeless Connecticut mother named Tanya McDowell was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny for using her babysitter’s address to send her 5-year-old son to a nearby school in a different district in hopes of granting her son a better education. Unlike Huffman, McDowell paid no money and asserted no power in enrolling her young son into a better public school. Because of her homelessness, McDowell resorted to selling drugs to support her and her son.

According to Refinery29, at her sentencing, McDowell stated, “Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament?” Unlike the rich and powerful parents that participated in “Operation Varsity Blues,” McDowell was extremely limited in the options she had in trying to attain quality education for her son.

In 2011, Kelly Williams-Bolar of Ohio, a single mother living in public housing was found guilty of using her father’s home address instead of her own in an attempt to provide her daughters with education in a better public school.

According to The Atlantic, Williams-Bolar desired a school that obtained “far more resources” than the inner city school her daughter was attending. The Copley-Fairlawn school district hired a private investigator to follow Williams-Bolar’s daughters home in order to prove that they were out of their district. Following the revelation, Williams-Bolar was sentenced to two converging five-year sentences, suspended down to 10 days, as well as ordered to pay $30,000 dollars by the Copley-Fairlawn school district.

Tanya McDowell, Kelley Williams-Bolar, Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were all mothers who longed for better education for their children.

However, the latter are privileged individuals who have everything they need and more, while the former are individuals of low-income earnings who were only trying to seek better opportunities for their children. McDowell and Williams-Bolar simply wanted to give their children better than they had despite the obstacles society threw at them for being African American and lower class.

There is deep-rooted racism embedded in the education system which is illustrated by the fact that low-income schools of high African American presence receive fewer resources and less attention. This inequality in education leads to cases like those of McDowell and Kelley Williams-Bolar.

If not addressed, children and parents will continue to suffer at the hands of an unfair system when this can be avoided by making the opportunity for ample education equal to people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status.

The criminal justice system is also to blame due to its favoring of the white and wealthy over poor minorities.

Huffman was able to receive a light sentence that will provide no restitution, only because of her large amount of wealth and her privilege.

A less offensive sentence would have been to order Huffman and her fellow participants in “Operation Varsity Blues” to provide financial aid to schools of lower-income families along with their fines for being involved in such a despicable act.

Both the education and justice system failed two of many black mothers that were just trying to give their children better despite having very limited options.

Featured Illustration: Jeselle Farias

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Michelle Monari

Michelle Monari

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