By: Yeichan Kwon, Staff Writer
On March 12 of this year, the FBI disclosed a bribery scandal involving multiple universities accepting money in order to admit students who otherwise wouldn’t have been accepted due to not meeting the admission requirements.
Who Was Involved
The plot’s mastermind was William Rick Singer, the Owner of Key Worldwide Foundation and Edge College & Career Network.
He organized a series of bribes and falsifying records that included numerous people including parents of wealthy families, sometimes even celebrities, such as actor Lori Loughlin and CEO of Crown Realty and Development Robert Flaxman; College staff such as Micheal Center, the head coach of Men’s tennis at the University of Texas, and Niki Williams, an administrator for the College Board and ACT.
The scandal spanned prestigious colleges such as University of Southern California (USC), Yale, and Stanford.
Many methods were used to illegitimately increase the students’ admission chances.
The SAT and ACT were used in many ways from falsely labeling students as having a learning disability so that they could receive advantages such as having more test time to having custom proctors who would change the test answers of certain students so they could receive higher scores.
Another way students were falsely admitted was through sports. Coaches were bribed into faking athletic credentials for students, some of which never even participated in sports. To make them look realistic, the faces of the students were photoshopped onto athletes for use on their records.
In order to keep the massive flow of bribe money from drawing suspicion, the money was labeled as donations from wealthy families.
As expected, everyone found to be a participant of the scandal would have to face punishment. Multiple lawsuits were held against the university coaches and parents involved resulting in numerous fines.
Many of the coaches were fired or suspended if they hadn’t already left their job by the time the consequences arrived. Similarly, some of the parents involved where also fired and had their reputations ruined.
The entire ordeal shocked many as they didn’t expect colleges and parents to have such indecency to do things such as lie about learning disabilities and fall to bribery. However, it didn’t affect college choices for many high school seniors.
As Andy Choi, a senior, says, “That entire event didn’t really affect the way I looked at where to apply; although I did hear somewhere that some people have less faith in the SAT and ACT so I should focus more on my GPA.”