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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

I know the news has been a little crazy lately regarding education.

Let’s simplify it a bit so that everyone can understand?


What happened?

Photo Credit: CNN

On March 12, 2019, United States federal prosecutors found out that celebrities and really rich people tried to influence college admissions decisions at several prominent American universities, with at least 50 “big name” people alleged to have been part of it.

Basically, celebrities you watched your whole life made it so that the people who they wanted to go to the top colleges WENT to the top colleges.


Who was involved?

According to the 204-page indictment released on March 12th, many notable names were a part of this scandal.

You’ll see childhood actors and actresses such as Lori Loughlin to award-winning lawyers such as Gordon Caplan all involving themselves in a notorious scandal to get the children of their choice into dream colleges.

Photo Credit: Elle

Here’s the official list of people you might know involved in this:

Gregory Abbott and Marcia Abbott — The “founder and chairman of a packaging company for the food and beverage industry, and the former chairman and CEO of a private-label clothing manufacturer.”

Gamal Abdelaziz — A former Las Vegas gaming executive who previously worked for Wynn Macau and MGM Resorts International.

Diane Blake and Todd Blake — Diane is “an executive at a retail merchandising firm” and Todd is an “entrepreneur and investor.”

Jane Buckingham — CEO of the boutique marketing company Trendera and author of The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life, an advice book “for the busy modern woman.”

Gordon Caplan — The co-chair of mega law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher and The American Lawyer’s 2018 Dealmaker of the Year.

I-Hsin “Joey” Chen — A California resident who operates a “provider of warehousing and related services for the shipping industry.”

Gregory Colburn and Amy Colburn — Gregory is a doctor in Palo Alto.

Robert Flaxman — CEO and founder of Crown Realty & Development, a real estate firm.

Elizabeth Henriquez and Manuel Henriquez — Manuel is the “founder, chairman, and CEO of a publicly traded specialty finance company based in Palo Alto, California.”

Douglas Hodge — Former CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co. Bloomberg got him on the phone to talk about the scandal. He said, “I can’t talk right now.”

Felicity Huffman — An actress who most notably starred in Desperate Housewives.

Agustin Huneeus Jr. — An “owner of vineyards in Napa, California.”

Bruce Isackson and Davina Isackson — Bruce is president of real estate firm WP Investments.

Michelle Janavs — A “former executive at a large food manufacturer formerly owned by members of her family.”

Elisabeth Kimmel — A Las Vegas and La Jolla resident and “owner and president of a media company.”

Marjorie Klapper — A resident of Menlo Park, California, and the co-owner of “a jewelry business.”

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli — Loughlin is an actress best known for her role on Full House and Giannulli, her husband, is a fashion designer.

Toby MacFarlane — A former “senior executive at a title insurance company.”

William E. McGlashan Jr. — A “senior executive at a global private equity firm,” and the guy behind the Rise Fund, a social impact fund he co-founded with Bono and Jeff Skoll, eBay’s first employee.

Marci Palatella — CEO of Preservation Distillery in Kentucky.

Peter Jan Sartorio — A “packaged food entrepreneur.”

Stephen Semprevivo — An executive at Cydcor, a “privately held provider of outsourced sales teams.”

Devin Sloane — The founder of aquaTECTURE, a water-focused investment firm in Los Angeles.

John B. Wilson — The president of private equity firm Hyannis Port Capital and a former executive at Staples and Gap Inc.

Homayoun Zadeh — A dentistry professor at USC.

Robert Zangrillo — CEO of Dragon Global, a private investment firm in Miami.

It’s so sad that the list was so long, you had to scroll all the way down here to the bottom.


How did the scandal work?

Essentially, the whole scandal was created by the guy below, William Rick Singer. He was the CEO of an elite college admissions prep company called The Key.

Photo Credit: CNBC

He’s also the guy who was charged with four accounts of fraud and pleaded guilty to each.

His process: cheat on the ACT/SAT or become a fake athlete.

For cheating, Singer made parents pay thousands of dollars to get a third-party to take the exam for the student and get a high score. So, now you’re wondering, “but couldn’t the test administrators realize that the student wasn’t the person on the exam sheet?”

Well, Singer paid off the test administrators too. And it worked.

So many students had their exams taken for them by paying from a range of $15,000 to $45,000 per student.

Now onto sports! Singer used his contacts with Division I coaches at esteemed universities such as Stanford, University of California Berkeley, University of Southern California and more to get high school students fake sports credentials so that they could go to a college for that sport.

While students don’t get into the schools for sports, coaches recommending potential athletes to admissions counselors help move the process along… so, Singer facilitated it.

Our Full House mom, Lori Loughlin (the one who got caught first), and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were the first to get caught providing fake credentials for their two daughters.

Photo Credit: Page Six

Allegedly, Loughlin and Giannulli paid a sum of $500,000 to the University of Southern California athletic recruiters to get their two girls on the Division I crew team with no prior experience.


Why should we be enraged?

You guys, this hurts all of us. The whole “the rich are getting into college over the poor” is literally proven to be true. People were paying to get others into college and that is a serious offense.

Not only did this scandal hurt the chances of an abundant of underprivileged kids, but it also hurt many schools’ credibility. Now, the University of Southern California is scarred by this scandal and it’s something that will continue to unravel.


What should I do next?

Keep. Reading. The. News. Follow this scandal. See what happens to the courts. After all, this is your future and you should care about it. Learn about it, figure out the injustices and see this to the end.


Find out why the system got so messed up and tell others about it. Our generation is the generation that can make a difference and check those in power. So do it! Check them and spread the work.


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I'm Kirthana Iyer, and I go by Kir as well! I am super fascinated by investigative reporting but I also have a soft spot for a simple listicle. At Boston University, I am a Journalism major with a concentration in International Relations. Since high school, I have had a passion for writing whether it be an argumentative essay or an article on the next Senior class event, so I wanted to find a way to do that in college. HerCampus provides me with that outlet. I am able to write about issues that an everyday teen deals with to pieces about our current political climate. 
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.