Arts & Entertainment

Stars caught in college admissions scandal

“[This is the] largest admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice …,” said Boston’s United States attorney Andrew Lelling. According to the Washington Post, 50 people nationwide have been caught illegally getting their children into college one way or another. College officials involved helped forge plans and deviations to get the students admitted to various institutions successfully by manipulating test scores, excusing the children to be tested in a “special facility” in order for someone to take their college entrance exams for them and so on.

The mastermind behind this fraudulent ring was William “Ricky” Singer, a college admissions adviser who came up with plans and devices to get children into some of the best schools in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribery. Singer would have a scam fixed price, depending on the ranking of the school. The better the school, the higher the price. For instance, endowments at top universities such as Duke started at $100,000. Singer would also allegedly direct parents to create fake applications, photoshopped photos of kids participating in sports they didn’t play to fake “athletic résumés” and paid university staffers to classify their kids as athletic recruits.

However, all came to an end on March 12, when Singer pleaded guilty to four charges in federal court in Boston. The charges included one count each of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice.

Many Queens College students were furious. “I believe this [case] is a huge contradiction to the American dream, which is [to] work hard to get where you want to” said Karina, an accounting major set to graduate in 2021. “Apparently now it’s … if you’re rich, you can get to wherever you want without working hard.”

Ben, a senior and economics major, was also outraged. “As a soccer player, it can be tedious to balance school and sport life. I can’t understand why the mother would ignorantly lie saying her daughter is an athletic; when she hasn’t played a sport a day in her life. This isn’t fair at all.”

33 wealthy parents were caught and charged for allegedly bribing and cheating their children’s way into college. Among these parents are celebrities and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars: actress Felicity Huffman and Fuller House star Lori Loughlin. A plan code-named “Operation Varsity Blues” involved Huffman secretly bribing an SAT exam proctor to correct her daughter’s score to an almost perfect score. Lori Loughlin had her daughter, YouTuber and Instagram influencer Oliva Jade Giannulli, apply with fake applications containing fake athletic résumés in order to look attractive to the University of Southern California. She was admitted to the school’s Crew team and, although not athletic in the slightest, scored Amazon Student Prime endorsement deals. However, apparently, Oliva told her 2 million subscribers on YouTube that she “…didn’t know how much of school [I’m] gonna attend.” It doesn’t seem like Oliva even asked for this. She also told her fans “…I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.” This indicated that Oliva never had plans for college in the first place.

Loughlin, Huffman and others involved in this operation have pleaded guilty. Loughlin is currently facing up to 5 years in prison. It’s not sure what will happen to Giannulli and her career, but this case has severely damaged the family’s reputation.

Crystal, a pre-law junior, said, “I understand why [the parents] pay all that money to get their kid(s) into a college that they did nothing to deserve. Yet, their reasons don’t justify their awful actions. Taking up a spot that would’ve belonged to an actual hard working, high achieving student. These parents have no morals and it’s a shame…”

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