Operation Varsity Blues: Felicity Huffman and Others Charged In College Cheating Scheme

Dakota Tebaldi

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Sep 19, 2018
999
Gulf Coast, USA
Most seriously rich people don't buy their kids' way into colleges by paying for buildings. Universities have only so many buildings after all, and all of them are named already. Being alumni certainly goes a long way, but only if your kid decides to go to the same school you did - common, but no sure thing by any means, especially these days.

Rather, most seriously rich people buy their kids' way into elite colleges by sending them to preparatory schools first, which make sure the kid doesn't need to cheat on the college entry exams. Like healthcare in the US, the best education is available to those who can pay for it. One thing that can be said for it though, the kid still needs to put in the effort to get through prep school.

People like the parents who bought into this scheme aren't really in the same class I think. They're rich to us, but they're McMansion-rich. They might not be able to sustainably afford preparatory school - or, they simply never really thought about their kids' college until the last minute, and then they started panicking.


Way to wreck the lives of the children you supposedly cared so much about. They will be the target of scorn or ridicule for years to come. I do feel sympathy for the one son whose mother is recorded saying "He must never know." Welp. Now he knows.
Fer real. How must that feel to their kids, to know their parents had so little faith in their ability to get a decent SAT score that they actually paid someone to cheat for them behind their back?
 

Jopsy Pendragon

Rearranging chairs on the Titanic
Sep 20, 2018
325
Hillcrest, San Diego, CA
What pisses me off about this is that it goes far beyond the "my dad donated a building" bullshit that rich people have used to get into schools. Using the front of a charity for underprivileged kids, these assholes were laundering money for their overpriveleged kids to undeservedly get into schools through fraud. Fuck all of them - I hope they get nailed for this. I'm a fan of Felicity Huffman, but there's no excuse for this. Obviously her fame and wealth distorted her view of right and wrong.
Well, it's not like there's a "Super Ethical and Moral Rulebook for using nepotism, bribes, threats and deceptive personal promotion to get your kids into an elite school."
 

Beebo Brink

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Sep 20, 2018
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They might not be able to sustainably afford preparatory school - or, they simply never really thought about their kids' college until the last minute, and then they started panicking.
From the professions and sums of money being flung about, I would say that all these families could easily afford private schools if they had been interested in them. But the parents seem much more focused on superficial appearances than on substance. That perspective becomes really obvious when they discuss the option for paying someone to attend their children's classes, too, not just getting them in the door.

These parents don't value college as an opportunity for their spawn to learn, to access the best knowledge available in some specific field. They value college only as a marketable asset based on its prestige. It's a 4-year selfie backdrop.
 

Free

I'm taking your cows
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Sep 22, 2018
2,701
Earth-90214
Per the indictment, Huffman and husband William H. Macy (who is not referenced by name) paid $15,000 to have someone take the SAT in place of their older daughter, which ultimately resulted in a 1420 SAT score for her. They also allegedly pursued doing the same for their younger daughter, but eventually decided against repeating their involvement in the scheme.
I imagine that younger daughter must feel relieved - and pissed off.
 

Grandma Bates

Only mostly banned....
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Sep 20, 2018
46
Airport
Unfortunately, no one seems to be using this event to ask why the tests are used in the first place. A number of institutions have stopped requiring them. The ACT and the SAT are poor predictors of student success. Their only real purpose is to increase a school's US News & World Report rankings. The result is that kids from affluent families who have been groomed to do well on these tests are coveted so they can make a school seem more exclusive and end up getting more enticements to go to a school.

On top of this admissions personnel are notoriously conservative in how they make decisions. They are caught between relying on the decisions of fickle teenagers and impatient college administrations. I have seen and heard of administrators who cannot understand why the admissions people cannot consistently deliver the exact right number of students with the right "numbers."

In the meantime, more businesses think they have to have college graduates for jobs that simply do not require them. For example, FedEx demands college degrees for relatively low paying jobs that do not need a degree. The generational divide just keeps getting wider, and many older Americans have no idea the kinds of pressures many kids are under.
 
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Dakota Tebaldi

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Sep 19, 2018
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Well if you think about it, universities NEED entry exams if for no other reason than to figure out whether a kid will start off in 101, the honors course, or a remedial class in any given subject.
 

Spirits Rising

Voice of Reason/Quite Blunt
Sep 21, 2018
77
Akron, OH
Well if you think about it, universities NEED entry exams if for no other reason than to figure out whether a kid will start off in 101, the honors course, or a remedial class in any given subject.
Considering the knowledge base of the average High School "graduate" ... nearly all entrants will need 101 or remedial courses. More likely the latter.
 

Cristiano

I AM BABY GROOT
Admin
Sep 19, 2018
1,417
It's an amusing name for the operation, certainly, but it's really bad practice -- for security reasons -- to give law enforcement operations names that have any connection with the operation itself. In the UK, most police forces (and the military, too, I believe) simply issue, from time to time, lists of neutral code names -- names of rivers or trees are sometimes used, for example -- and new operations are simply assigned the next name on the list.

Much safer, since it ensures no one can guess, from the name, what the operation is concerned with.
From what I can tell, it was named that as the official name for the operation when announced to the public - it was not the internal name as the investigation was ongoing.
 

Halo Minoptra

Not shown in actual size
Mar 12, 2019
8
I think what's different about this is the falsification of documents -- the test results, participation on sports teams, things like that.

Back when I was in high school and we were all taking the SATs, the person who got the highest score, two 800s, was a boy who was the class clown (individual A). It made a lot of us laugh, but it was INFURIATING to others. Another boy (individual B), who was also bright but very lazy, asked A to take the test for him. What makes this story funny (to me) is that while the A was taking the test, he would look at some questions and think, "There's no way B would know this," and he'd mark it wrong in the way he expected B would.

Of course, B got a very respectable (but believable) score, and he was angry because he wanted a perfect score as well.
 

Aribeth Zelin

Faeryfox
Sep 23, 2018
220
I think what's different about this is the falsification of documents -- the test results, participation on sports teams, things like that.

Back when I was in high school and we were all taking the SATs, the person who got the highest score, two 800s, was a boy who was the class clown (individual A). It made a lot of us laugh, but it was INFURIATING to others. Another boy (individual B), who was also bright but very lazy, asked A to take the test for him. What makes this story funny (to me) is that while the A was taking the test, he would look at some questions and think, "There's no way B would know this," and he'd mark it wrong in the way he expected B would.

Of course, B got a very respectable (but believable) score, and he was angry because he wanted a perfect score as well.
Dang it, I just read an article from someone who actually used to write term papers, and applications and all sort of other false documentation. It isn't anything new, which makes me wonder -why- this is going on now. Because its never been a problem before - its how the system works.
 

Beebo Brink

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Sep 20, 2018
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On the other hand, Jane Buckingham's son Jack sounds like a decent human being, with more integrity than his mother.

https://nypost.com/2019/03/14/son-apologizes-for-moms-alleged-role-in-college-admissions-scandal/

“I know there are millions of kids out there both wealthy and less fortunate who grind their ass off just to have a shot at the college of their dreams,” he told the publication. “I am upset that I was unknowingly involved in a large scheme that helps give kids who may not work as hard as others an advantage over those who truly deserve those spots.”

“For that, I am sorry, though I know my word does not mean much to many people at the moment,” he continued. “While the situation I am going through is not a pleasant one, I take comfort in the fact that this might help finally cut down on money and wealth being such a heavy factor in college admissions.

“Instead, I hope colleges may prioritize an applicants’ character, intellect, and other qualities over everything else.”
 

Beebo Brink

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Sep 20, 2018
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GoblinCampFollower

Active member
Sep 20, 2018
211
I hope this deeply damages the idea that going to a "fancy" school makes you smarter. Society benefits from education for the masses, not super elite clubs.

Going to a fancy pants school won't give you a radically different education than other accredited programs and it won't raise your inborn cognitive ability. It's good to encourage kids to try hard in school, but the elitism around it is toxic.