On the morning of Tuesday, March 12th, major news broke: “Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin Are Among Dozens Charged in a Massive College Admissions Scam.” Buzzfeed, E News, the New York Times, and various other news outlets began revealing the unbelievable story of a number of wealthy and elite individuals participating in not only unethical, but illegal, activity in order to insure their children gained admission into colleges and universities around the country.
Before diving into the questions and concerns that have followed the release of the FBI’s report known as “Varsity Blues,” here are the facts:
Firstly, The FBI’s initial discovery of the case came from a Southern California father who was being investigated for other crimes when he revealed his connection to the Yale women’s soccer coach to lessen his sentence. The Yale women’s soccer coach led the FBI to Rick Singer, the mastermind behind the cheating and scamming that occurred. Singer ran an elite company called “The Key” that insured teenagers and their parents admittance to any school of their choice for a hefty price tag. Singer aided parents in setting up standardized test fraud as well as recruitment scamming. In many cases, the children were completely unaware of this activity.
Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are arguably the two most famous names amongst the laundry list of parents charged by the FBI. Huffman allegedly paid $15,000 in bribes in order to have her daughter’s standardized tests improved, while Loughlin and her husband allegedly paid $500,000 for their two daughters to be admitted as crew recruits (neither has ever rowed crew) for the University of Southern California.
While all families involved have likely experienced extreme backlash, Lori Loughlin’s Youtube star daughter, Olivia Jade, has arguably had the most public response. Not only have numerous brands—including Sephora, Lulus, Amazon, TRESemme, and numerous others—ended their relationship with the star, but she has also been ridiculed through news platforms and social media to a very personal degree. The question many are asking is: did Olivia Jade know? And if so, how much did she know?
Though the “Varsity Blues” scandal caused national uproar, amid most conversations on the topic there is consensus: no one is surprised. For decades, money and status has diluted the foundation of the American education system in a legal way. The only true difference in this conspiracy is the blatantly fraudulent and illegal routes that these families used. The true meaning of this case will only be fully realized if we look past the jokes and celebrity flourish associated with this Hollywood scandal and ask ourselves: how can we fix this inequitable system that prefers the white and wealthy? If “Varsity Blues” exposes anything, it is the need for educational reform.
COVER PHOTO: AOL