On March 12, 2019 in Boston, CNN reported Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts said that from 2011 through 2019 wealthy parents wanting to get their kids admitted to top universities allegedly paid William Rick Singer of Edge College & Career Network LLC (‘The Key’) to create false academic and athletic credentials and bribe college college staff. Parents allegedly paid between $200,000 and $6.5 million for this service. Boston FBI special agent in charge Joseph Bonavolonta called the operation Varsity Blues. The accused parents are CEO’s, investors, lawyers, and celebrities. The accused staff are athletic coaches and college exam administrators from Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, University of San Diego, University of Southern California, University of Texas, Austin, Wake Forest University and Yale University. The charges include conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice, cheating on tests such as the SAT and ACT and even faking photographs. Lelling said “There will not be a separate admissions system for the wealthy. And there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.” As these wealthy parents will learn, it is better to go to a state university than a state prison.
This is yet another example of income inequality getting so out of control that it is difficult for poor people to improve their lives through education. Many can barely afford college and are mired in student loan debt. A free college education for all would help everyone. That way an electrical engineer can compete against someone with a masters degree in tennis. Sometimes it is not the Ivy League surgeon who saves your life, it is the community college EMT.
Quite often I will run into Silicon Valley companies that want only candidates from top universities. Often the companies are disappointed with graduates who cannot perform. They are young, attractive, wealthy people. Most of these companies fail because they have no idea what life is like for billions of other people. When it comes to hiring from universities, hire the brain and not the brand.
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