In one sense, Tuesday’s detailed revelations about the largest college admissions scandal ever discovered by the Justice Department were shocking. In another sense, they weren’t shocking at all. A lot of people wouldn’t be surprised if the 50 people indicted by the feds were just the tip of the iceberg.
Wealthy parents in Hollywood and the finance and tech industries used millions of dollars in tax-deductible bribes, test cheating and false claims of athletic prowess to get their children admitted to schools such as Stanford, Yale, Georgetown, the University of Southern California and the University of San Diego — taking spots away from more deserving students. Coaches allegedly helped arrange the admissions by falsely asserting the individuals were legitimate athletes.
Rich people use money to buy advantages for their children all the time, especially when they make huge mistakes. They use politicians to press law enforcement officials to not prosecute them for their alleged crimes, pay off accusers, or, more frequently, hire top lawyers. Wanting the best for one’s children is human nature, even if limits vary widely.
So to many poor and middle-class families, the scandal appears to be just part of a continuum in which society is rigged to favor the rich. This is why every college — not just those named in the indictment — must have an admission oversight process with credible checks and balances that ensures admissions can’t be gamed to help rich kids in ways that harm kids with less money. Income inequality shouldn’t translate into life outcome inequality.
-- The San Diego Union-Tribune