[243] The Side Door
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[243] The Side Door

We have been deluged with news of celebrities and other well-heeled citizens buying their children’s way into elite universities.  In short, instead of having their offspring earn their way into the front door of these august institutions–via test scores, grades, and other conventional criteria–they have been writing checks to strategically-placed university personnel who can slip their unqualified prospective students though the side door.

Their devious machinations have been ingenious–bribing coaches in non-revenue sports to enter their children’s names as athletic recruits and sliding them past the admissions people.  On the surface, everybody wins.  The kids get into the elite institutions, the coaches get some welcome extra cash, and the parents are assured they have given their already privileged adolescents every advantage possible.

Not exactly.

Clearly these academic institutions are being compromised, and some more worthy would-be freshmen’s places are taken by outliers.  But there is another, more concerning matter to consider.

These parents have criminalized not only themselves, but they have tainted their children by making them part of an illegal scheme—children, who in many cases, may not have had no knowledge that they were unqualified to enter the front door.  No different from the football or basketball coach who engages in unethical recruiting, they are tarnishing these would-be students by drawing them into a despicable scheme.

They are teaching their children that operating outside the rules is not only acceptable; it is the way to go if life’s front door is closed.  And that may be more powerful than anything these students will ever learn in the classroom.  DC

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