Whither the Olivia Jades?

Universities caught up in the admissions bribery scandal have a series of decisions to make about the students caught up in the mess, some knowingly and others not.

A new report in the New York Times lays out their current response, which has so far included preventing some students involved in the scam from registering for classes:

The University of Southern California said it had identified six current applicants associated with the case and would reject them. The school informed an additional number of enrolled students who were linked to the scandal that they could not register for classes until administrators had determined their level of culpability.

Yale, another university implicated in the fraud, reminded students last week of a longstanding policy to rescind the admission of students who falsify applications. A statement from Stanford said that inaccurate information on a college application was grounds for being “disenrolled” from the university or having an offer of admission rescinded, “as has happened regretfully in the past.”

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But it’s still unclear what will happen to most of the enrolled students. The Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago told the Times that, “The admissions process is held together by a tissue of trust.” But that tissue was happily ripped to shreds by the 33 parents who were charged with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their children into name brand colleges. Among these parents are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, whose children, were accepted into schools are part of the scheme. Both of Loughlin’s daughters, including YouTuber and influencer Olivia Jade, went as far as posing with rowing equipment for their applications. (Olivia has lost a series of sponsorships as a result of the scandal.)

But apparently not every student was aware of what was going on. For example, Wake Forest University President Nathan Hatch said that a student involved in the admissions scandal will remain enrolled at the university because they, “have no reason to believe the student was aware of the alleged financial transaction.”

It’s unclear how many students were left in the dark. This is a question that has become almost philosophical: what does it mean to “earn” your spot at a college in a system already so driven by wealth, backroom agreements, and status?

But the court documents show that some appeared to be unaware of their parents’ activities.

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From the Times:

In the court papers, which contain transcripts of conversations between parents and officials at the organization that arranged the bribes, one parent recounted a “glitch” when her son, fraudulently recruited as a track athlete, was asked about the sport by an adviser at orientation.

“Apparently the adviser said something to the effect of, ‘Oh, so you’re a track athlete?’ And [my son] said, ‘No.’ Cause, so [my son] has no idea,’’ the transcript reads.

“I understand, she won’t even know,’’ another parent said, referring to elaborate plans to deceive her daughter about an arrangement to falsify her standardized test score.

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Even if discipline is eventually doled out to wealthy students and parents involved in this particular scam, the system is still rigged.

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About the author

Ashley Reese

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.