“Operation Varsity Blues”: The largest college admissions scandal

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By Melina Kostopoulos, Staff Writer

Wealthy parents were recently charged by government prosecutors for cheating the college admissions process at top colleges to secure a seat for their children. With college decisions around the corner, THHS students and faculty have reacted strongly to this scandal.  

These parents resorted to disguising bribes to colleges as donations, paying others to take their children’s SAT/ACT exams, and asking coaches to  portray the children as star athletes. The accused parents collectively paid over 6.5 million dollars. The entire operation, which has gone on for years, was run by California businessman William Singer.

The FBI has named the scandal “Operation Varsity Blues” and is being investigated further. Over 50 people have been charged including test proctors, coaches, SAT/ACT administrators and parents involved. The majority of them were arrested as well, most notably Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, and Mossimo Giannulli.  

This scandal caused many students to lose faith in the integrity of the college admissions process.

Junior Cailin Bell stated, “As a student, this scandal makes me feel extremely disappointed.” The admission of unqualified, wealthy students to elite colleges like Yale and the University of Southern California made her “feel as if there’s a chance that [she] may lose a spot at a certain school because someone with more money bribed the school to admit their child.”

This alleged scandal has prompted discussion about the unfair advantages that are given to the wealthy over the majority of the population.

As a result, senior Sumayyah Fara feels “betrayed to see that hard work doesn’t necessarily pay off; at the end of the day, it’s the money, financial status.” She added that “As the first child to attend college in an immigrant family, I believe I need to educate myself to get my family to be wealthy one day; unfortunately, the wealthy seem to get advantages and continue to get wealthier, while the middle and lower class struggle to make their way up.”

Teachers also feel deeply saddened to see that their students are not given a fair chance to get into college, especially after students work hard during their academic careers.

AP United States History teacher Nicole Gleizer stated, “I think especially being in an environment like Townsend, where you can really witness how hard students work to excel academically and how much time and energy they exert into participating in their community events and giving back to the community, it’s upsetting to know that people do, indeed, get away with this type of behavior.”

Several colleges have already issued statements declaring that the students enrolled or recently admitted as a result of the cheating methods will be denied or have their offers rescinded.

“Colleges should do more thorough background checks to credit those who deserve it,” said junior Hannah Kim. “Some people actually achieve many great things and colleges should acknowledge those achievements. I hope that the college process is more equal in the future. I hope that money or fame will not determine the acceptance of a student into a college or university.”

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