In early March prestigious universities across the nation such as Stanford University and Yale were shocked to find out that some of their students were a part of a $25 million bribery scandal that took place over seven years.
The easy solution would be to expel all of the students involved however, it’s not that simple. All the colleges are still looking into how much the students knew about the scandal.
Considering it will be difficult to know how aware the students were about being cheated into acceptance the best course of action would to take it case by case, raise the students’ minimum GPA, and revoke any scholarship or financial aid that they may have received for those who are allowed to stay.
The scandal not only included bribe money but the alteration of the SAT and ACT exam scores. For some other students, they had fraudulent applications that claimed that they were top recruits or elite athletes.
For those who intentionally cheated on the SAT or ACT should be automatically expelled, no exception. However, students who got aided by fraudulent athletic profiles is a little more tricky to deal with. This is because other students tend to boost their profiles already. One “student-athlete” has already been expelled from Stanford because of falsifying sailing credentials.
Each university is facing a hard dilemma to deal with because no matter what decision they come up with in the end, they still lose. There’s no victory for them after the dust has settled. If they try to be sympathetic with the students for being “victims” they will be criticized for siding with the wealthy children and poorly reacting to serious crimes of racketeering, fraud, and bribery.
On the other hand if they all punish the students similarly to Stanford, they can end up being condemned by the public. Which will create disruptions they are trying to avoid.
Even if some of the students end up not getting expelled, they may have a problem with receiving a degree. According to the Common Application used by many universities, they have the right to revoke any degree of any graduate that may have falsified their information.
Until the universities have definite proof that the students were aware of the scandal, they shouldn’t expel anyone. However, different punishments should be inevitable for students that aren’t expelled.
Those who were directly involved with the scandal such as the parents and athletic coaches are facing heavy punishments. William Rick Singer, who orchestrated the scandal, is already facing 65 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine. Some of the parents involved such as Lori Loughlin may also go to prison and is facing charges of bribery and fraud.
I have faith that the universities will handle the students appropriately despite them having to deal with the implications for years to come. Expect reforms coming to the admissions process as well as standardized testing in the future.