Education

Elitists Caught Cheating College Admissions

We predict the scandal's fallout will be greater calls from the Left for "free college."

Thomas Gallatin · Mar. 13, 2019

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced charges against more than 50 people involved in cheating and bribery for admission to colleges and universities. Individuals charged included two well-known actresses, several business CEOs, college coaches, college administrators, and William Rick Singer, founder of The Key which is in California where he lives, which was the organization responsible for running the whole scheme. The schools implicated include Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, University of Texas, University of Southern California, UCLA, and others.

Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, explained, “Based on the charges unsealed today, all of them knowingly conspired with Singer and others to help their children either cheat on the SAT or ACT and/or buy their children’s admissions to elite schools through fraud. This case is about the widening corruption in elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud. … There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy.” He further noted, “For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected.”

“The cherry on top?” National Review’s Jim Geraghty asks: “The whole enterprise was granted tax-exempt nonprofit status by the Internal Revenue Service since 2013. Those Tea Party groups couldn’t get nonprofit status, but these crooks could.”

Cheating always raises people’s ire, especially when it comes at the hands of those with wealth and influence. Indeed, as Geraghty put it, “The full description is an epic portrait of graft, corruption, elitism, and sleaze that will leave you wanting to burn down the Ivory Tower.” That said, in many ways the system has been legally rigged for years, primarily through affirmative action. Claiming to seek the goal of equality of access, affirmative action instead promulgates the idea that some groups are inherently more worthy or deserving than others, based upon historical circumstances viewed through the lens of race rather than individual merit.

The point here is that neither cheating the system via bribery nor legally rigging the system to favor (or in the case of Harvard University, discriminate against) racial minorities are just. A truly just system would apply the same standard to all applicants, irrespective of their economic status or race.

How will this criminal fiasco be spun by those on the Left? We predict it will become a call for greater government intrusion; remember, never let a crisis go to waste. Don’t be surprised to see more calls for “free college” as a solution. Leftists will claim that free college will serve to limit the “evil” impact of “white privilege” and the “wealth privilege” of capitalism. This is the same logic Democrats use to defend their free-speech-squelching campaign-finance reform.

(Edited.)


Publisher’s note, 3/14: The alleged crimes here are indeed outrageous, but the language used by FBI agents and the U.S. attorney in California to describe these crimes was at times highly unprofessional and judgmental.

“Make no mistake,” said Joe Bonavolonta, FBI Special Agent in Charge in Boston, “This is not a case where parents were acting in the best interests of their children. This is a case where they flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat the system so they could set their children up for success with the best education money could buy — literally.”

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling added, “The parents charged today, despite already being able to give their children every legitimate advantage on the college admissions game, instead chose to corrupt and illegally manipulate the system for their benefit.”

We can do the editorializing, but it is dangerous and disgraceful when the U.S. attorney and FBI do it.

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