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Old 03-12-2019, 10:06 AM
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Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin indicted in Ivy League bribery scheme


William H. Macy must be having an awesome morning...

Hollywood actors, CEOs charged in nationwide college admissions cheating scam


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Originally Posted by ABC News
Hollywood actors, including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and a slew of chief executives are among 50 people charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating scam, according to court records unsealed in Boston Tuesday.

Those indicted allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said.

"Beginning in or about 2011, and continuing through the present, the defendants -- principally individuals whose high-school age children were applying to college -- conspired with others to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children's admission to colleges and universities in the District of Massachusetts and elsewhere, including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and the University of Southern California -- Los Angeles," the indictment said.

...

According to the charging papers, Huffman "made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000 ... to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter."

"Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so," the documents allege.

Federal agents secretly recorded telephone calls with Huffman and a cooperating witness, according to the court papers.

The documents say actress Lori Loughlin -- best known for her role as Aunt Becky on the ABC sitcom "Full House" -- and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, "agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team -- despite the fact that they did not participate in crew -- thereby facilitating their admission to USC."
Oh, no! Not Aunt Becky!
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:11 AM
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Those indicted allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said.
In other news, the sky appears blue, water remains wet and the sun IS expected to rise tomorrow in the east.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:15 AM
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Who, exactly, were they bribing? I'm more concerned about universities overtly accepting bribes for admission (as opposed to the usual method of accepting "donations" in return for "special consideration") than I am about specific rich people bribing them.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:34 AM
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Half a million to get into USC? That is crazy.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:36 AM
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Someone paid half a million dollars to get their kids accepted into USC???!?

Slipping the interviewer $100 would've been plenty enough to get both teens into Penn State.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:48 AM
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What's the point of money if you can't use it to get your kids into a college they'd never be accepted to without it?
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:05 AM
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Wow! I just turned on the TV, prosecutors are giving a press conference on CNN, this is BIG!

These weren't just a few bribes, the parents involved here, and their kids, and school officials, and test proctors, were all involved in actively rigging test scores and fabricating biographical information to get these kids into schools, and the payments were fraudulently passed through a non-profit and then written off on their taxes making this tax fraud as well.

This is not just a couple of well known actresses, this a widespread picture of wealthy people, they may not be as well recognized as the actresses but there are going to be all sorts of financial and political repercussions.

What a wonderful time to be alive!
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:22 AM
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What's the point of money if you can't use it to get your kids into a college they'd never be accepted to without it?
...and then will be unable to cope in, so you'll have to bribe more people to give them better grades, so they can graduate with a prestigious degree knowing nothing?
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:41 AM
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...and then will be unable to cope in, so you'll have to bribe more people to give them better grades, so they can graduate with a prestigious degree knowing nothing?
and one day, become President.




They talked about the scheme in emails and phone calls and then used a paper trail to try to disguise the bribes (as opposed to just hiding them by giving cash in an envelope)? One of the few things money can't buy you is a brain and the willingness to use it.

It does make me curious about all the ways rich people use their affluence to cheat in other situations.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 03-12-2019 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:41 AM
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Who, exactly, were they bribing? I'm more concerned about universities overtly accepting bribes for admission (as opposed to the usual method of accepting "donations" in return for "special consideration") than I am about specific rich people bribing them.
In some of the cases, such as Laughlin, they were allegedly bribing officials in the schoolsí athletics departments, to have their kids accepted into the schools as athletes, when, in fact, the kids werenít actually going to be members of those teams (and may not have actually competed in those sports at all).
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:45 AM
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Nitpick, most of the schools mentioned are not Ivy.
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:57 AM
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Some were. And "Ivy League" is a bigger brand/draw than "Felicity Huffman" and "Lori Loughlin".
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:17 PM
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Some were. And "Ivy League" is a bigger brand/draw than "Felicity Huffman" and "Lori Loughlin".
I'm only seeing one, but I haven't dug deeper than the quote. One one hand, if there were more, I'd think the article would jump at the chance to include more. On the other hand, I'd guess that more Americans think Stanford is in the Ivy League rather than Dartmoth, Brown or Cornell. Or UPenn, because obviously that's just Penn State Philly campus right?
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:43 PM
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Man...at what point, dollar-wise, do you say "Gee, I guess my kid is just not cut out for this school"?
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:48 PM
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Man...at what point, dollar-wise, do you say "Gee, I guess my kid is just not cut out for this school"?
To play devil's advocate - lots of people who are qualified to attend Yale and Stanford don't get in, because they only accept a certain number of applicants, regardless of how many qualified applicants they receive. So at some point it becomes a crap shoot, especially at the most prestigious schools. So that explains the issue with bribing coaches.

Now having someone else take the SATs for your kids - that's just remarkably stupid.
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:48 PM
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I'm only seeing one, but I haven't dug deeper than the quote. One one hand, if there were more, I'd think the article would jump at the chance to include more. On the other hand, I'd guess that more Americans think Stanford is in the Ivy League rather than Dartmoth, Brown or Cornell. Or UPenn, because obviously that's just Penn State Philly campus right?
I just downloaded the FBI's affidavit (to which this Washington Post article provides a link). Schools named in the first part of the affidavit are:
- Georgetown
- Stanford
- UCLA
- University of San Diego
- USC
- Texas
- Wake Forest
- Yale

So, yes, only one Ivy in that list. I skimmed through the affidavit (it's long), and I see several other schools mentioned tangentially, including at least one other Ivy (Cornell).

Last edited by kenobi 65; 03-12-2019 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:17 PM
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Which law are they accused of violating? I'm not being obtuse; prior to this story I had no idea that trying to bribe you son or daughter's way into college was a crime. A good way to get shown the door, sure, but a crime?
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:19 PM
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Mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, general fraud in that they deducted the bribes from their taxes as "charitable contributions," etc.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:25 PM
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Also, many internal to the universities were being bribed - for example, Yale's soccer coach accepted $400k to put a kid on the team who didn't play soccer.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:26 PM
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Supposedly, Laughlin's daughter had to have someone fill out the forms because she couldn't figure it out. She's on Instagram, and talks about how she didn't even care about going to school and mostly wanted to party.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:26 PM
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Which law are they accused of violating? I'm not being obtuse; prior to this story I had no idea that trying to bribe you son or daughter's way into college was a crime. A good way to get shown the door, sure, but a crime?
The FBI affidavit says that the crimes are "conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud."

It looks like there were two separate sorts of bribery going on:
- One was bribing athletic administrators to get the kids admitted into elite schools as student-athletes, when they were not, in fact, going to be on those teams.
- The other was bribing entrance exam administrators to facilitate cheating on exams (ACT and SAT).

Last edited by kenobi 65; 03-12-2019 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:51 PM
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I wonder if the kids were listed on the rosters of the teams. It sounds like they did not do that. Also I wonder how this was uncovered .

For trivia, there are 2 famous actresses who have sons that played college hoops. Julia Louis -Drefyuss son played at Northwestern and Julianne Moore's son was at Davidson. Those are 2 schools that are not known for cutting athletes a break on grades.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:52 PM
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Also I wonder how this was uncovered .
They received a tip during an unrelated investigation.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:55 PM
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They went as far as staging photos of participation in athletics, sometimes just photo-shopping faces onto stock photos.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:57 PM
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Take a look at this article on 5 status symbols the rich are investing in. Number one on the list is education.

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Old 03-12-2019, 01:58 PM
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I wonder if the kids were listed on the rosters of the teams. It sounds like they did not do that. Also I wonder how this was uncovered .

For trivia, there are 2 famous actresses who have sons that played college hoops. Julia Louis -Drefyuss son played at Northwestern and Julianne Moore's son was at Davidson. Those are 2 schools that are not known for cutting athletes a break on grades.
I should mention the kids of Moore and Louis-Dreyfus were not star players on their teams. I believe both were reserves. A couple years ago when Northwestern was on TV for a game they spent a ton of time showing his mother Julia in the stands.

Moore's son:

https://davidsonwildcats.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=6304

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Old 03-12-2019, 02:10 PM
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A lot of coaches have resigned or are suspended. I can't wait to see how this continues to unfold. I am more interested in the CEOs than the actors. I wonder if any of them will have to step down or if they will claim ignorance and blame the spouses.

My schadenfreude is off the charts.
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Old 03-12-2019, 02:11 PM
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Schools named in the first part of the affidavit are:
- Georgetown
- Stanford
- UCLA
- University of San Diego
- USC
- Texas
- Wake Forest
- Yale
WAKE FOREST?!?!?

Oh, man, that does my Furman-educated heart good.
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Old 03-12-2019, 02:19 PM
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. wrote about being a visiting professor at places where the rich sent their scions to get edumacated. He was not pleased with what he found. Classes full of lazy, stupid, uncaring kids.

This was a key part of what turned him against the plutocracy in the US.

It's hardly surprising to anyone familiar with colleges that there's an entirely different set of rules for the kids of wealthy people. And it is so easy to pay legally to get a college degree at certain small private colleges it is amazing that people go thru such great lengths (including breaking the law) to buy a degree for a kid that just doesn't care.

Oldie but goodie: One of the Walton (Walmart) family got caught cheating to get a degree. Hmm, USC again.
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Old 03-12-2019, 02:23 PM
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This article has more details on the indicted participants

Except for the actresses there's not a lot of name recognition there, although some of the companies may be recognized.
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Old 03-12-2019, 02:38 PM
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A lot of coaches have resigned or are suspended. I can't wait to see how this continues to unfold. I am more interested in the CEOs than the actors.
So, Iíll wager, is the FBI. The celebrities who participated in this are unlikely to see jail time, but they may be willing to turn on coaches and university officials who facilitated these schemes. Going after smaller fish in a very public way to build a case against major participants is an well honored tactic by federal prosecutors.

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My schadenfreude is off the charts.
When Jared Kushnerís father goes to prison (again) then Iíll celebrate a victory for Western civilization. Until then Iím not going to hold my breath that much will really come out of this other than wealthy ďdonorsĒ will find more inventive ways of ensuring that their children enjoy the unearned privileges of familial wealth.

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Old 03-12-2019, 03:09 PM
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So, Iíll wager, is the FBI. The celebrities who participated in this are unlikely to see jail time, but they may be willing to turn on coaches and university officials who facilitated these schemes. Going after smaller fish in a very public way to build a case against major participants is an well honored tactic by federal prosecutors.
I think that the people who have flipped have done so already.

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When Jared Kushnerís father goes to prison (again) then Iíll celebrate a victory for Western civilization. Until then Iím not going to hold my breath that much will really come out of this other than wealthy ďdonorsĒ will find more inventive ways of ensuring that their children enjoy the unearned privileges of familial wealth.

Stranger
None of them will see jail time. They will pay big fines that they can easily afford and probably start scholarship funds for underprivileged youth. The CEOs may lose their jobs and the actors will continue on having lost a bit of pride. They will make public statements about how they lost sight of things out of love for their children.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:10 PM
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Half a million to get into USC? That is crazy.
Half a million isn't NEAR enough to get you into USC directly. I mean, Jesus Christ, normal tuition/fees is going to be $250,000 over 4 years for a full-pay kid: half a million isn't even all that much more.

The old fashioned was to do this was to donate lots of money directly to the University a few years before your kid applies. These are known as "Development cases". However, and this is important, "development cases" cannot generally be trainwrecks: they have to meet the standards of the university--students that might well have gotten in, so it's just a matter of accepting THIS qualified kid over THAT qualified kid. Half a million MIGHT be enough to get into USC that way, though even then, it's a little low.

But that's not what this was. These kids were starkly unqualified. You have to pay a lot more--like tens of millions--to get a dramatically unqualified kid accepted into a wealthy university. It may not be possible at any price.

So that's why these parents were looking for a cheaper option. I mean, examples vary, but the heart of the scheme seemed to be lying/cheating/whatever to get the kids to look at least as good as recruited athletes, the group with the lowest stats at most schools. Then you pay the coach, not the school, to put the kid down on the "recruited athlete" list, which the admissions committee more or less rubber-stamps.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:27 PM
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Like others I was surprised at how unelite most of the schools named are. Before anyone gets defensive its all about perception. Beyond the Ivy League there are at most a handful of other schools that are perceived as elite enough to impress someone just by having the diploma. Texas is not one of them. Even if you are rich just save your money and have your kid go to a community college for a few years first.



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and one day, become President.
Even a certain president who had a millionaire father went to Fordam for a few years first.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:28 PM
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If nothing else, I'd love to see the degrees revoked for those students that made it all the way through. But the privileged class rarely suffers much real harm when scandals like this erupt, so I would be surprised if any of the repercussions are very serious. A few firings, a few fines, and that's about it. :/
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:29 PM
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Moderator Note

Since this is kind of a current events story, I'm going to shift this over to MPSIMS from IMHO.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:30 PM
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I think that the people who have flipped have done so already.
This is pretty much a text book example of a federal investigation. You don't hear shit until the cage door is shut and locked. The announcement comes at the same time that the main conspirator is pleading guilty to all charges in court.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:34 PM
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If it costs 6 million to get your kid into a good school so that kid can become rich and successful, wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to just give the kid 4 million and call it a day?

Also, I love that we live in a country where we can buy a building for a university to get our kid in and that somehow is acceptable, but whatever happened here is somehow not.

Last edited by Fiveyearlurker; 03-12-2019 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:58 PM
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And in case anyone is wondering, yes, William Macy was up to his neck in this.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:58 PM
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Also, I love that we live in a country where we can buy a building for a university to get our kid in and that somehow is acceptable, but whatever happened here is somehow not.
Well for one "whatever happened here" has been very clearly laid out in all the stories. As for the stereotypical buying a building, if it is a direct quid pro quo it may be illegal depending on the circumstances. One big difference is in one case the school and a large number of its students benefit from the donation. In the other one dude pockets $25 million dollars.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:59 PM
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And in case anyone is wondering, yes, William Macy was up to his neck in this.
Of course. Have you seen Shameless?
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:03 PM
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Well for one "whatever happened here" has been very clearly laid out in all the stories. As for the stereotypical buying a building, if it is a direct quid pro quo it may be illegal depending on the circumstances. One big difference is in one case the school and a large number of its students benefit from the donation. In the other one dude pockets $25 million dollars.
Didn't mean to suggest that whatever happened here was right, just that we have a long history of buying our way into college and nobody bats an eyelash at it. There's a certain senior advisor to the president of the United States (not to mention the president himself) whose parents openly bought his way into school. If this story brings that larger issue to light, then I'm all for it.

By the way, Lori Laughlin's daughter's twitter feed is chock full of videos of her talking about how she is only at school to party and doesn't care anything about classes. She's about to become the face of this whole thing.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:08 PM
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If nothing else, I'd love to see the degrees revoked for those students that made it all the way through. But the privileged class rarely suffers much real harm when scandals like this erupt, so I would be surprised if any of the repercussions are very serious. A few firings, a few fines, and that's about it. :/
Apparently some of the kids literally didn't know. I can believe it. . .youth is moreidralistic than adults. I don't think revocation is fair in those cases.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:13 PM
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So they paid $500,000 to get their kids into college? The older daughter didn't even want to go to school! I'm assuming with in-state tuition they would have paid far less to send their daughters to USC if they hadn't bribed.

Are they going to bribe employers to hire their children for work? I am quite baffled by this whole thing.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:13 PM
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From the SAT scores I heard bandied about, community college should have been the target--1020 is not too far above room temperature.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:14 PM
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Didn't mean to suggest that whatever happened here was right, just that we have a long history of buying our way into college and nobody bats an eyelash at it. There's a certain senior advisor to the president of the United States (not to mention the president himself) whose parents openly bought his way into school. If this story brings that larger issue to light, then I'm all for it.
But I'm saying its rarely a one for one exchange. The Johnson family of Band-aid fame has enough buildings named after them in and around Rutgers that they probably let anyone in with the name just to be sure. I doubt any money has to be exchanged when RWJ VI applies. Is that a crime? And maybe its me and maybe I'm wrong but I see a big difference between a donation for the betterment of all and a bribe to fill the pockets of an individual.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:20 PM
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I'm assuming with in-state tuition they would have paid far less to send their daughters to USC if they hadn't bribed.
USC is actually a private university*, and it looks like the tuition rate is the same for residents and non-residents.

* - I only learned this, myself, a few years ago; I'd always incorrectly assumed that it was a public university, like UCLA. USC was originally affiliated with the Methodist Church, and became independent in 1952.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 03-12-2019 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:34 PM
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But I'm saying its rarely a one for one exchange. The Johnson family of Band-aid fame has enough buildings named after them in and around Rutgers that they probably let anyone in with the name just to be sure. I doubt any money has to be exchanged when RWJ VI applies. Is that a crime? And maybe its me and maybe I'm wrong but I see a big difference between a donation for the betterment of all and a bribe to fill the pockets of an individual.


I see a distinction without much difference. In both cases, an unqualified kid’s parents bought a qualified kid’s spot.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
USC is actually a private university*, and it looks like the tuition rate is the same for residents and non-residents.

* - I only learned this, myself, a few years ago; I'd always incorrectly assumed that it was a public university, like UCLA. USC was originally affiliated with the Methodist Church, and became independent in 1952.
Although I knew it was a private school if someone told me they graduated USC I wouldn't be any more impressed than if they said UCLA. Well I would probably be impressed if they were a starter on the football team because there aren't many who could. Maybe its because I'm on the east coast.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sachertorte View Post
I'm only seeing one, but I haven't dug deeper than the quote. One one hand, if there were more, I'd think the article would jump at the chance to include more. On the other hand, I'd guess that more Americans think Stanford is in the Ivy League rather than Dartmoth, Brown or Cornell. Or UPenn, because obviously that's just Penn State Philly campus right?
Yeah, my first thought when I read the article was "UT must be loving this; they're being lumped in with the Ivy League and Stanford for the purposes of admissions bribery." That's a huge endorsement for them, considering that they're nowhere near Stanford/Ivy caliber.
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