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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

All perpetrators are to blame


Women get the brunt of college admission scandal

The media exploded with news of the college admissions scandal on March 12. 50 people including actresses, business leaders and other wealthy parents were charged with college entry fraud: they paid absurd sums of money to ensure that their kids would get into their top choice schools.

The issues in question include bribing sports coaches and college officials, faking learning disabilities so a student could get a proctor for the SAT to help improve the score and plenty more.

The college students at the center of the scandal were guaranteed spots on soccer, rowing and tennis teams, as well as admission into prestigious schools, mainly Yale University, Harvard University and the University of Southern California (USC).

The list of those charged includes law firm chairmen, business executives, CEOs and entrepreneurs. Many of the people on this list are men, yet actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman seem to be the only faces of the scandal.

I’m not particularly surprised to find out that rich people treat college as just another thing to be bought. I’m also not surprised that these two actresses are taking the brunt of all of this negative attention when many wealthy men committed the same crime.

If you Google the college admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are the thumbnail picture for almost every article. The only other person getting as much attention as the two of them is Rick Singer, a “college counselor” who accepted large sums of money from parents to fake athletic credentials and help students cheat on tests to get them into their choice of top-tier schools.

I should say that these two women are also getting a lot of the attention because they are well-known. Loughlin is known nationwide as Aunt Becky from “Full House,” and Huffman rose to success as Lynette Scavo in “Desperate Housewives.”

It’s true that Loughlin and Huffman’s names are more likely to be familiar to those keeping up with the scandal, yet personally I find it offensive that they’re the ones mentioned in every headline.

Gordon Caplan, one of the men indicted in the case, was the co-chair of a prestigious law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, though he’s been put on leave since the story broke. John B. Wilson is the president of private equity firm Hyannis Port Capital and a former executive at Staples and Gap Inc. Douglas Hodge is the former CEO of a huge investment company called Pacific Investment Management Company.

These are serious businessmen who are in charge of massive companies, yet I had to accompany their names with “college scandal” in my searches to see them mentioned in any news coverage as the information unfolds. They were all named in the indictment, yet Loughlin and Huffman are the center of every article.

I’m not saying I think Loughlin and Huffman are innocent or shouldn’t be held accountable. Both them and their kids deserve a hefty dose of some serious criticism.

But I don’t think it’s fair for these two women to be the sole faces of this scandal when men like Caplan, Wilson and Hodge did the same deplorable and illegal things for their kids.

I don’t think there’s a right way or wrong way to report a huge scandal like this. Personally, I didn’t even think rich people using bribery to get their kids into college was really a secret. I’m glad that both the colleges and the parents are being criticized and held accountable for their actions.

But how are Loughlin’s and Huffman’s crimes any worse than what Caplan, Wilson or Hodge did? Why are journalists acting like these two famous women have committed the world’s worst crime when 48 other people were charged with the same college entry fraud?

I don’t think that Loughlin and Huffman should be the only parents being consistently named in this debacle just because they’re women who were previously famous. I don’t think their crimes are any less despicable because one of them was the loveable Aunt Becky, but Loughlin and Huffman are not the only ones at fault.

Those CEOs and executives deserve to take the blame publicly as well.

What each of these people did for their children is incredibly loathsome, and all of the perpetrators deserve an equal dose of the criticism regardless of their gender.

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