College Admissions Scandal Injustice

Jack Pitcher, Staff Writer

David Collins
Renown Carnegie Mellon University is part of Central Catholic’s backyard and Oakland landscape.

How would you, a hardworking high school student, feel if your spot at your dream college was instead given to someone who was underserving of the spot?I’m sure you would feel cheated and want to take action to stand up for yourself. Well, this was the case for many students applying to UCLA, Georgetown, Stanford and many other top universities after news broke about a conspiracy to alter SAT and ACT scores.

The scandal involved top celebrities and their children paying college counselor, William Singer, to put together embellished resumes and fake test scores. Two television stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were both involved in the scandal with Huffman sentenced to 14 days in prison and Loughlin still waiting on her sentence. These women used their celebrity status to cheat their children’s way into universities, and in doing so took away the opportunity and education of other college applicants. As a high school student, this should be a very personal issue for the majority of people.

Imagine working tirelessly not only to submit an application to a university, but also all the time and energy put into studying- taking SAT and ACT tests, extracurriculars, and volunteer work- and then to have it stripped away because of a fake resume and fake test scores. This should anger you, right? Right.

Think of Tanya McDowell in Connecticut, who put her child into the wrong public school district and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for seeking a better education for her son. This is vastly different sentence than Felicity Huffman’s 14 day prison sentence and no where was there a mention of  “stealing an education” as in the case of McDowell. This injustice highlights the white privilege in America where persons of color are given harsher prison sentences just for the color of their skin.

Huffman should be given a longer prison sentence and should be held responsible to pay the tuition of those students who did not get into Stanford University because of a fake application. Even more recently, Peter Sartorio, who was also involved in the scandal avoided prison time and was instead given 250 hours of community service and a mere $9,500 fine. Anyone involved in this large-scale scandal should not only serve jail time but also be required to give back to students what they stole from them. Privilege and status should not be present in the court system, which should instead act in the name of justice and fairness for all, not just for the few.

As high school students on the cusp of beginning the college process or in the midst of it, we should be angered by this scandal. The college application process should be more thoroughly checked to be made sure they are truthful. College is already a very stressful process, and hearing that there are celebrities cheating their way in because of their name is very troubling. We as students should stand up for ourselves and demand harsher sentences for those involved. In addition, this scandal is an example of how the justice system plays in favor of white privilege and prestige rather than being a system founded on justice for all no matter who the person may be.