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The College Cheating Scandal

Updated: Dec 21, 2019

By Nkem Okorie

At an early age, I was told by my parents that if I wanted to go to college, I needed to work hard, study, and put in the hours. After late nights of studying for the SATs and hours of submitting applications, I was able to attend college at the University of Nevada, Reno. All my dedication and hard work have paid off. But, who knew I could actually pay for my hard work.

In March there was a college admissions scheme that not only infuriated students, but the entire country. Famous actress Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, are one of 30 parents who paid to have their children get into prestigious universities. Huffman paid $15,000 for an SAT proctor to correct her daughter’s answers so that she would get a higher score, resulting in and with that high score her daughter gettingot into Yale. Loughlin paid $500,000 for athletic recruiters to “recruit” her two daughters for the row team at USC. These girls were never in a row team nor did they play competitively in this sport. Never. Loughlin went as far as to have her daughters faces photoshopped into a team picture.

Huffman, Loughlin, and the other parents are currently facing legal consequences, but will their punishment fit their crime? Bribery is illegal and is punishable by a federal prison term of one year or more, depending on the circumstance. Just last Friday, Huffman pleaded guilty for her participation in the college scheme and was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison, 250 hours of community service, a year of supervised release and a $30,000 fine. Loughlin has yet to be sentenced and is pleading not guilty, but I’m sure she will receive almost the same sentence as Huffman.

After the news of Huffman’s sentencing was released, there was public outrage and rightfully so. There’s no question that Huffman’s race, fame, wealth, and privilege worked in her favor for a lighter sentence. Ironically enough, Huffman told the judge that all she was trying to do was give her kid a “fair shot.” With that being said, many started to share the stories of Tanya McDowell and Kelley Williams-Bolar, two women of color who were also trying to give their kids a fair shot, but were given hefty sentences. McDowell and Bolar were both given five years in prison for using an address that they did not reside in. Even though the addresses belong to family members, they were still charged with educational theft. Many were shocked that bribery gets you 14 days in prison while using an address gets you years.

Singer John Legend posted this on Twitter:

“I get why everyone gets mad when rich person X gets a short sentence and poor person of color Y gets a long one. The answer isn;t for X to get more; it’s for both of them to get less (or even none!!!) We should level down not up.”

I do agree that there must be some sort of balance when it comes to sentencing someone for these type of crimes. The higher education admission is already rigged for the rich and it’s honestly a shame that this type of college scandal is just now being uncovered. At least this shows that no one is above the law, including famous rich celebrities.

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