Varsity Blues Scandal

Full House actress Lori Loughlin and Desperate Housewivesactress Felicity Huffman’s involvement in a collegiate bribery scam raises interesting points about privilege and corruption.

Loughlin and her husband are accused of spending $500,000 to get her two daughters into the University of Southern California by faking athletic ability and bribing a rowing coach. Huffman is accused of spending $15,000 to bribe a PSAT proctor into changing her eldest daughter’s incorrect answers on the test.

I believe this story has received so much attention because it is a shining example of privilege being abused, and as the underdogs, the public wants to see the big guys fall when they unfairly use their status.

However, there are perfectly legal ways to influence colleges into accepting prospective students. The only reason Loughlin and Huffman were arrested because their money went into the pocket of a random schmuck instead of the pockets of the university itself.

Wealthy people use their influence every day to get their children into the college of their choice.

I am not condoning the actions of Loughlin and Huffman because they committed fraud and acted nefariously, but they just took the easier and cheaper way to get their kids accepted into a college.

It is no secret that parents who donate large sums of money to a specific college are going to drastically improve the chances of their child getting accepted into that college. At some universities, this gives their child a “legacy status” which will be considered during the admission process.

42 percent of private institutions and 6 percent of public institutions take into account legacy status during the admission process, according to a 2018 survey of admissions directors by Inside Higher Ed.

It’s not just Ivy League colleges that consider legacy status, according to an article by NPR, the University of Tennessee, Auburn University and the University of Alabama all consider legacy in admissions.

Unlike Huffman and Loughlin, parents who make substantial donations to colleges do at least give back to schools in the form of buildings and equipment, but the preference they receive creates an uneven playing field that discriminates against financially-challenged students.

Comments criticising Huffman and Loughlin often cited that their children took away places at these universities for deserving students, but “legacy status” does exactly the same thing. 

It creates spots reserved for affluency instead of merit. 

I believe Americans need to continue discussing this issue while the topic is hot because after it's over we'll just continue to accept the established system that's unfair and biased.