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Culture > News

Operation Varsity Blues: What You Need to Know

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

The lives of America’s elite were turned upside down on March 12th, when it was revealed that over 30 parents across the United States got their children into top schools under false pretenses. Through fake learning disabilities, photoshopped images of athletic abilities, and a series of insurmountable payments, a number of students gained admission into top-tier schools based on anything but their own merit.

The parents involved in the case hail from affluent backgrounds. A series of company executives, coaches, and even a University of Southern California professor were involved in the scheme. Two well-known actresses, Lori Loughlin of Full House and Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives, have served as the poster children for the case.

At the center of the scheme lies a lesser known figure, William Rick Singer. Singer worked under a fake, tax-deductible charity, Key World Charity, to help clients get their children into prestigious schools like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California. Loughlin’s two daughters, Bella and Olivia, attended USC prior to the story making headlines.

On April 3rd, Loughlin, amongst others, appeared in court at the John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts. It was then that Singer referred to his workings as a “side-door” to college admissions that would guarantee students a spot, unlike the more riskier school donations that don’t always assure admission.

Lori Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia (Jade) Giannulli, attended the University of Southern California alongside her older sister, Bella. The daughters were “recruits” for the university’s crew team, despite the fact that neither girl had ever participated in the sport.

Giannulli’s story is just one of many at the forefront of this scheme. Parents to students across the country are infuriated to learn that an already high-stakes process caters to the elite. Additionally, for every spot taken by an unqualified student, a qualified one is rejected.

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Hi! I'm Kate, and I'm a junior at New York University majoring in English.
Carly Mantay is currently studying Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU.