AACE Condemns Appalling Corruption Exposed by the College Admissions Scandal

By | March 14, 2019

For Immediate Release

March 14, 2019

Livingston, New Jersey: Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) denounces the college admissions cheating scam recently charged by the U.S. Department of Justice as a glaring demonstration of the corrupted higher education entrance system. This horrific scandal showcases how structural loopholes, non-transparency and abuse of power within the current college admissions landscape could be easily exploited by frauds to the detriments of hardworking students, meritocracy and justice.

Codenamed “Operation Varsity Blues”, this high-profile case upended an elaborate scheme, in which a for-profit consultancy helped super-rich parents in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall Street to obtain admissions slots into competitive colleges for their children. Via illicit tactics such as inflating test scores, falsifying application profiles, doctoring student photos and forging racial/ethnic identities, this criminal enterprise had placed hundreds of their clients into top universities, including: Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, among others. Over a dozen of college athletic coaches, ACT/SAT administrators, and school officials also co-conspired in this shameful plot by taking large sums of bribery.

On an individual level, this belligerent scandal severely erodes equal education rights of millions of ordinary American children and robs deserving students of fair chances of admissions into their desired colleges. In this light, AACE stands with the petitioners of a series of lawsuits filed by a California-based parent as a civil complaint and by two Stanford students as a class-action suit against the implicated universities. As revealed by this scam, the college admissions process is deformed in such a way that fair consideration gave way to dishonesty. Many Asian-American children, suffering from both economic and racial disadvantages, could hardly secure any chances matching their credentials in this rigged system of college admissions and fall victims to scandalous practices that only helped the rich and powerful to cheat the system.

More importantly, this case stands as a sheer reminder of the structural injustices inherent in the current college admissions system. Flexible standards overseeing standardized tests allowed able students to claim learning disabilities and corrupted test proctors became willing accomplices to falsify scores. Furthermore, the broken system extended little oversight over athletic coaches and school administrators who have major influences on recruiting special admits like athletes and could utilize their schools’ channels to receive bribery payments as donations. For these non-academic recruits, institutional restraints such as checks and balances on key decision-makers are utterly lacking, while subjective standards serve as easily-manipulated guidelines, rivetted toward the privileged instead of the disadvantaged who truly need a boost, constructing a “shady business to school” pipeline. Additionally, the mere fact that part of the scheme involved falsifying the students’ ethnicity to “take advantage of affirmative action” implies the fallacy and hypocrisy of race-based affirmative action policies in college admissions.

AACE president, Mr. Yukong Zhao said: “AACE is outrageous by the entrenched corruption and cunning deceit displayed by this large-scale college entrance scandal. The broken college admissions system hurts hard-working children from ordinary families, especially working-class Asian-American children. Not only they have no resources to compete with the rich and powerful, but also suffer from racial discrimination widely adopted by America’s selective colleges. Following this prosecution, the Justice Department must strengthen its monitoring of the college admissions system. Meanwhile, we call upon Asian Americans children join the class action lawsuit in order to drive the social changes. We need a complete overhaul of this problematic system to restore true meritocracy, ban racial discrimination, and regulate recruiting of special admits such as athletes.”

Asian American Coalition for Education

Swann Lee, telephone: (617) 906-6380, email: swanleeca@gmail.com.
Wenyuan Wu, telephone: (786) 393-8028, email: admin@asianamericanforeducation.org.

About the AACE: www.asianamericanforeducation.org

Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) is a non-political, nonprofit, grassroots national organization, the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal educational rights. On May 15, 2015, the founders of AACE united 64 Asian-American organizations and jointly filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request that they conduct investigations into Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. As the largest joint action taken by Asian-American communities over the last few decades, this complaint is now being investigated by the Justice Department. Over the years, we have advanced the cause of equal education rights for the Asian-American community. In July 2018, the federal government adopted our policy recommendations by rescinding Obama era guidance that promoted racial balancing and acquiesced to racial discrimination in college admissions.