By Raoul Lowery Contreras
When the college admissions bribery scandal broke and the colleges involved in this criminal conspiracy were revealed, I initially shook my head and decided it doesn’t affect me or mine. But that’s wrong!
Almost five dozen rich people paid college administrators, coaches and test-takers upwards of $25 million so that less-than-bright kids could get into prestigious colleges and universities by cheating, bribery and plain criminality.
First, of the colleges involved, the University of San Diego was prominent on the list. One of my nephews graduated from its law school. In my own experience, I recall a visit to our home by a couple of parishioners when I was in middle school. They asked our family to “tithe” 10 percent of my stepfather’s police-officer salary to help built the university on empty land on Linda Vista Road. By the time I graduated from high school, tuition at the newly-built university was already more than my stepfather earned in a year.
Whenever I give a lecture at USD, I tell that story and it draws some laughs. Within the past few days, USD has raised its tuition to more than $50,000 a year.
Secondly, mention of the University of Southern California raised my hackles because one of my goddaughters had her heart set on attending USC. She had a brilliant six years of competitive school and club soccer behind her, and she looked forward to playing college soccer.
She had a perfect straight “A” scholastic record, and an outstanding community service record, having raised thousands of dollars to support a Central American orphanage and taking clothes and necessities to the orphanage while other kids went to Cancun for spring break. She was and is the perfect accomplished student.
Her soccer reputation was such that the USC soccer coach invited her to a soccer camp for high school players graduating soon to evaluate them as potential USC players.
All that and USC turned her down. She is now starring at the University of California. Why was she turned down? We don’t know, but we do know that that USC soccer coach was one of the 55 conspirators in the college admissions scandal. He was arrested on charges of taking $200,000 in bribes.
This shattering scandal news comes as Harvard University is in court defending why Asian students who on paper should be more than 40 percent of the Harvard University student body are only 20 percent.
This is not new to Harvard (and other prestigious Ivy League schools). A hundred years ago Harvard had a blatant “Jewish quota.” Leading Harvard academics like Samuel Huntington have spearheaded anti-Mexican smears from their lofty Harvard rooks.
Fortunately for Harvard, it is not involved in the “pay for admission” scheme exposed by the U.S. Attorney in Boston. I hope it isn’t because I have a niece who graduated from there two years ago.
Right now millions of 17- and 18-year-olds are racing to their family mailboxes and expecting to receive their notice of acceptance to the college of their choice (of the dozen or so colleges they applied to).
Now, if turned down they will wonder if they were turned down because someone else with money paid for phony test scores, a phony athletic career complete with altered photos, or the help of a conspiratorial athletic coach.
Not long ago the U.S. Supreme Court slapped down critics of college admissions who thought it was wrong to consider race for college admission. It was embarrassing to see a white girl whine that she wasn’t admitted to the University of Texas because Texas allowed automatic admission to the top ten percent of the state’s student body . She was turned down and had to go to another college.
The same could be said about my goddaughter’s rejection by her favorite choice; she just had to go to another school. But her place may have been taken because rich parents bribed a coach to recommend their kid despite the fact the kid didn’t play soccer, row in crew, or whatever. The difference was hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to the coaches.
College admissions need to be more transparent like they were for a 17 year-old boy who was the first in his family to apply for college 60 years ago. I applied to nine colleges and was accepted by all of them. Because I was the first in my family to apply for college, however, I didn’t know about out-of-state tuition and had to attend the closest college — San Diego State College.
The school that became San Diego State University required 14 “A” and “B” grades in high school college prep subjects. No tests scores, no community service — nothing but grades. Because I hadn’t decided to attend college until the second semester of the 10th grade, I made the grades in five semesters and was admitted. The requirement was in plain view; no amount of family money was involved, only 14 “A” and “B” grades.
The ringleader of this national college admissions conspiracy pleaded guilty. Let’s hope that not only does he go to prison, but all those rich people who paid $25 million to undermine the greatest higher education system in the world serve time as well.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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