The largest college admission scam in history made headlines in 2019. CEO William Rick Singer allegedly acted as the head of the scandal involving at least 50 others with the intentions to admit their children to prestigious schools such as USC, Yale, and Stanford. SAT and ACT scores were fixed and fake athletic profiles were created in order to ensure that the alleged thousands and even millions of dollars parents spent were not put to waste. Recently exposed, colleges and universities struggle with what measures to take on students who have already been admitted.
In response to the scandal, one’s initial reaction is to punish those involved in every part of the cheating. Anger and the desire for justice overpowers the human mind. The reality is most of us humans function according to our own self-interest. Although the issue is more complex than to resolve the issue with one exact solution, the students or children of those who participated in the college cheating scandal should not be punished for their parents’ actions; each college should consider whether or not each student was aware of the honesty in their admittance to colleges prior to kicking any student out.
Life consists of decisions we are constantly challenged with, and just like actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, we are bound to choose ones with a problematic effect.
Although there should definitely be consequences to their actions, this does not necessarily mean it should be placed on the children, for some were unaware of the cheating, lying and bribery their parents were entangled in. A tape recording exists where it suggests a student’s lack of knowledge towards his admittance due to being a varsity track athlete and his parents’ attempts to not reveal this to him. Additionally, Felicity Huffman recently plead guilty for the charges pressed against her and revealing her daughter, “ knew absolutely nothing about my actions,” and feels as if she has betrayed her by paying $15,000 to adjust her daughter’s SAT answers. There are many cases such as these where parents take the extra steps in ensuring their kids are in the dark on exactly how the students were admitted; a text message between Singer and USC dentistry professor Homayoun Zadeh expresses the worry his daughter had about “getting in on her own merits” to USC. In this case, the student might have discovered the harsh truth the same time as the public; it would be unreasonable to blame the student with expulsion.
It makes sense for these institutions to act upon the outcome of their reputation as a school, as they are not indifferent to those who were involved in the scandal in the terms of doing what’s best for themselves, or in other words, acting upon self-interest. Instead of considering the damage of a teenager’s future or their true potential as student who truly does “belong” or fit the requirements and standards of their institution, they heavily weigh the public’s opinions on the matter.