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

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Tutoring and private schools isn't cheating, though. It's just better education. Of all the ways rich people use their money that can be criticized, I honestly don't think paying for a better education is one of them.

I mean sure, the fact that rich people as a general set have access to higher-quality education than non-rich people is a problem that ought to be fixed; but on the individual level, what kind of parent who has that option for their child deliberately refuses to take it?
There's at least a few well-off people who sent their kids to normal schools, mostly celebrities from working-class backgrounds who felt it violated their principles or whatever. The rich *could* pay more taxes and get everyone a better education, but they go to great lengths to avoid doing that. They'd rather just push up their own kid, in which case it actually helps them that most people aren't given an elite education because the competition won't be as fierce. And you can't overlook the networking aspect of private schools, where they make friends who will later loan them a million pounds or invest in their business. It's not just smaller class sizes and more qualified teachers, the entire system is rigged to favour the rich.

You can get to Harvard/Oxbridge/wherever from a working-class background with one parent and state schooling, but it's a lot (A LOT) harder and less likely and you still won't have all the advantages of networks, confidence, fancy schooling on your CV, and the general sense that you deserve to have all the money and rule the world. The "just better education" is part of the system that keeps the rich rich and the poor poor.
 

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*has a giggling fit*

Of course, Loughlin did not act alone, as her apparel company-founder husband, Mossimo Giannulli, shares the blame for the alleged crime. And while there has been lots and lots of irony associated with Loughlin’s part in the scandal, her husband asks to kindly hold his fancy beer while he adds some hypocrisy to the whole thing.

According to Tom Arnold, just weeks before the scandal broke, Giannulli was sloshed at a Hollywood party going on about his support for President Donald Trump and how people should be “carrying their own weight.” Oh, do tell!

“Couple wks ago I got into it with for 10th time with #CollegeCheatingScandal DAD at big party cause his sloppy ass was rambling on again about Trump & people carrying their own weight & his own conservative politics being ‘right of Attila the Hun,'” Arnold, an outspoken Trump critic tweeted earlier this week. “He embarrassed Scandal Mom again.”

Page Six got in touch with another person allegedly in attendance at the same party who backed up Arnold’s account. “Mossimo was talking about how he agrees with Trump, and that people need to carry their own weight,” the spy offered. “He was saying there’s a lot of ‘takers’ out there and entitled people.”
 

Aribeth Zelin

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With the presence and availability of online plagiarism checkers that professors can use, is the buying and selling of term papers still a thing?
Read an article; if someone writes a brand new fresh paper? Not sure a checker would catch it, and that's what this guy said he used to do for a living. Not just for college but even afterwards. He did it because he needed the money.
 
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GoblinCampFollower

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There's at least a few well-off people who sent their kids to normal schools...
My parents. I had no idea how much money they had growing up. My father grew up working class (raised by an alcoholic roofer) and went to great lengths to make sure my sister and I didn't grow up spoiled. I had to get a job as soon as I could drive and was always told there wasn't enough money for this and that. I don't always agree with him on everything, but I think I'm better off because of this.

I was actively discouraged from going to a pricey school since he just thought it would be all the same anyway once you have a bit of real world experience. ...my dad was also a cheap ass in a mostly rational way, haha.
 
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Beebo Brink

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I was actively discouraged from going to a pricey school since he just thought it would be all the same anyway once you have a bit of real world experience. ...
That's mostly true -- for rich white kids. For minority kids, a high prestige degree can make a big difference; it serves as a counter-weight to racist perceptions. But you also have to factor in the burden of student debt, which can erase the benefits of that degree.

I'm still agog that anyone put themselves at criminal risk to get their kid into the University of Texas. If you can't get in to UT on your own merits, you need to re-think college as an aspiration.
 

danielravennest

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This is the part that is the problem. Kids working hard to get into the school they want isn't a problem. I don't think we need nepotism born elite clubs.
I would point out that I made friends with, and even dated a rich kid. The truly elite clubs are the prep schools that only the rich can afford to attend.

Universities, by their nature, are a mix of rich and smart. Major research universities earn hundreds of millions a year from research grants. They need a pipeline of people good enough to get those grants.
 
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danielravennest

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Read an article; if someone writes a brand new fresh paper? Not sure a checker would catch it, and that's what this guy said he used to do for a living. Not just for college but even afterwards. He did it because he needed the money.
Later in life they call it a "ghost writer", like Tony Schwartz, who "helped" Donald Trump write "The Art of the Deal".
 

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Lawsuits flying

In her suit, Stanford University undergrad Kalea Woods claimed to be damaged because of the time and money she wasted on applications to other schools implicated in the scandal.

In addition, students from Tulane University, Rutgers University and a community college in Orange County, California, filed what they're hoping will become a class-action lawsuit against William Rick Singer, who allegedly organized the complex schemes for wealthy parents, and the implicated universities.

Those schools are Stanford, the University of Southern California, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas, Wake Forest University, Yale University and Georgetown University.

Woods, of Stanford, a top-tier school in Palo Alto, California, had also applied to USC, according to her lawsuit, though it wasn't immediately clear if she had been accepted by the school.

"At the time she applied, Woods similarly was never informed that the process of admission at USC was an unfair, rigged process, in which parents could buy their way into the university through bribery and dishonest schemes," the suit said.

And even though Woods is now attending Stanford, No. 7 in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, the federal lawsuit claims that her degree now won't carry as much weight.

"Woods has also been damaged because she is a student at Stanford University, another one of the universities plagued by the fraud scandal," according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California. "Her degree is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having rich parents who were willing to bribe school officials."

Tulane student Lauren Fidelak claims she had a 4.0 high school GPA and scored 34 on her ACT, but still couldn't get into USC and UCLA.

"She was so upset that she did not get into her chosen schools that she had an emotional breakdown and needed to be hospitalized in Boston," according to the lawsuit.

Rutgers student Nicholas James Johnson was rejected by Stanford and Texas despite a 4.65 GPA earned with the help of Advanced Placement classes and a 1500 SAT score, according to the lawsuit.

Tyler Bendis, who attends a community college in Orange County, said he had a 4.0 GPA but couldn't get into UCLA, Stanford or San Diego, his lawyers said.

All the plaintiffs claimed they didn't get a fair shot at their first-choice campuses because of Singer and the "unfair admissions process" of the universities named as defendants.
I think they make good-sounding arguments, but I'm not a lawyer.
 

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With Ivy League schools, it isn't really about the difference in education..
You are buying a network. You can call up well connected alumni or have them call you about career opportunities and advice that are not generally available to those of us who went to state schools. It is privilege reenforcing privilege.
 

Beebo Brink

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With Ivy League schools, it isn't really about the difference in education..
You are buying a network.
I remember Desmond Shang posting something along those lines a few years back on SLU.I don't remember the specifics but I'm guessing he was referring to USC when he said it was THE place to go if you wanted to "succeed". It was news to me then, but appears to be fairly widespread knowledge among those classes of people who aspire to success. As a working class child I was always more focused on getting a good job rather than enhancing a career. That distinction -- even just the awareness of the difference -- was a class marker I learned fairly late in life.

Now that these children of privilege are being thrown out of USC and other colleges, I wonder who will take them in? They're basically toxic from a PR standpoint, with their poor academic records broadcast globally, not to mention the assessment of their own parents who consider them to be "stupid." From these small glimpses into their backgrounds, I get the feeling that some of these offspring have precious few coping mechanisms of their own. Their lives have been stage-managed by their parents to create the illusion of competence rather than drawing any true substance from their privilege.

How awful to be the mediocre child of "exceptional" image-conscious parents. And I'm not being snarky. That really is its own circle of hell.
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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Now that these children of privilege are being thrown out of USC and other colleges, I wonder who will take them in? They're basically toxic from a PR standpoint, with their poor academic records broadcast globally, not to mention the assessment of their own parents who consider them to be "stupid." From these small glimpses into their backgrounds, I get the feeling that some of these offspring have precious few coping mechanisms of their own. Their lives have been stage-managed by their parents to create the illusion of competence rather than drawing any true substance from their privilege.
Wellll....but the small glimpses we've had are only of the couple who already had public lives before the scandal broke. Because they were already prolific social "influencers" or whatnot.

I predict that a kid in this circumstance with some initiative would be able to believably make a pointed show of asserting independence, outrage at being underappreciated or undersold by his or her parents, maybe even sympathy at having their life nearly ruined outside of their knowledge and control, and proving to the world by taking retests or other actions that they genuinely belong in college and aren't idiots their parents unfairly made them out to be.

Unfortunately, it's also possible for a PR agency hired by parents to "rehabilitate" their kid's image to put on the same show, which will always leave room for doubt.
 

Beebo Brink

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Wellll....but the small glimpses we've had are only of the couple who already had public lives before the scandal broke. Because they were already prolific social "influencers" or whatnot.
My comments weren't about Olivia Jade.
 

Beebo Brink

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Here's an interesting counter-point:

Why the college admissions scandal merits prosecution

Those directly involved in paying and receiving bribes will find their conduct hard to defend, and Singer and a coach have already pleaded guilty. With the accused parents, it’s going to vary case by case. Those who only reportedly paid for fake test scores may argue that cheating on a test should not be a crime....

We are currently in the midst of a national debate about over-criminalization. Not everything that causes outrage merits a federal prosecution. The NCAA defendants are appealing their convictions and have a plausible argument that prosecutors have pushed the boundaries of criminal fraud too far. Parents charged this week may try to make a similar claim, but given the nature of the schemes here, they will have a steeper hill to climb.
 

Innula Zenovka

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An anonymous professor writes about the pressures unqualified students who are there because of parental bribery place on teachers -- the time and effort they must devote to helping these students catch up is at the expense of better qualified students:

 

Desmond Shang

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I remember Desmond Shang posting something along those lines a few years back on SLU.I don't remember the specifics but I'm guessing he was referring to USC when he said it was THE place to go if you wanted to "succeed". It was news to me then, but appears to be fairly widespread knowledge among those classes of people who aspire to success. As a working class child I was always more focused on getting a good job rather than enhancing a career. That distinction -- even just the awareness of the difference -- was a class marker I learned fairly late in life.

Now that these children of privilege are being thrown out of USC and other colleges, I wonder who will take them in? They're basically toxic from a PR standpoint, with their poor academic records broadcast globally, not to mention the assessment of their own parents who consider them to be "stupid." From these small glimpses into their backgrounds, I get the feeling that some of these offspring have precious few coping mechanisms of their own. Their lives have been stage-managed by their parents to create the illusion of competence rather than drawing any true substance from their privilege.

How awful to be the mediocre child of "exceptional" image-conscious parents. And I'm not being snarky. That really is its own circle of hell.
USC isn't 'the' place to go, there isn't any one school for that and that's not what I meant. There is no 'the' place.

It depends on the situation. UCSF is notable in the medical profession, Cal Tech is notable among the sciences, and the Cal State polytechnics are notable for engineering. If you just want a huge income quickly that's easy, go to Cal Maritime (and graduate), but of course most people haven't heard of that. That's the west coast; the east coast is vaguely comparable.

It's one thing to be nouveau riche, but quite another to show such utter lack of parenting, and class, that you bribe your kid into a school. If there's anything that says to the world 'I really don't belong here' more than that, I can't imagine what.

I have no idea where people 'aspiring to success' think they should go. You might have someone who is currently broke but knows full well. You might have someone who knows of good colleges from popular culture, much as a person might learn about good car brands from rap music. Useful? Counterproductive? I don't know.

The stupid thing is that anyone bribed their kid into a school in the first place. Wealthy kids have the time to cultivate skills. This is not about wealth at all; if you have real money the kids will be just fine at a 2nd tier school regardless. And nobody's going to dump their fiancée because she went to a no name school. Now, if she downs an after dinner MacAllan 18 as a 'shot' then of course she has to go. But that's different.

Alright, have fun. It's a fine warm evening to put the top down on the jag and take a break, before continuing to scratch my living from the hard dirt of OC.
 

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Felicity Huffman and 12 wealthy parents plead guilty in college admissions scam

Huffman, the "Desperate Housewives" star, pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to a fake charity associated with Rick Singer to facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs, the complaint says.

"I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions," she said in a statement.

"I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.

"My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty," she said in the statement.
That is a strong statement. I am disappointed in her, but I am glad she is taking responsibility and not trying to explain away her actions. I'm curious if Lori Loughlin and her husband will be as gracious, though I somehow doubt it.