Purchasing Privilege

 

When the college admission scandal broke a couple of days ago, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. (I’m known for my brilliant predictions.) I thought, “We’re supposed to be offended because kids are getting into colleges that they would not normally qualify for? Call me when we dump affirmative action. Then, maybe I’ll get offended by this.” But this has been a huge story. It’s all my patients want to talk about on our office visits. So people clearly got more upset about this than I anticipated. I just couldn’t figure out why. So after giving it some thought, I have a theory. I’m still not sure I understand this, but hear me out…

Again, my confusion arises from the fact that we admit unqualified applicants all the time. Depending on the college, it can be 30-50% of the incoming class. The classic example is a black male college applicant. The qualifications he needs to get into, say, Stanford, are a lot different than the qualifications that would be needed for an Asian applicant. You might say, then, that black race is a qualification for college, just like a high SAT score or a high class ranking. That is objectively true, but I look at it slightly differently.

Blacks are a privileged class. At least in terms of college admissions. More so than being a legacy at Harvard or having a famous parent. And it’s understandable to treat the privileged differently than everyone else. Such is life. Nothing new there.

I think what offends people about the college admissions scandal is that certain people are buying privilege that should not be for sale in their view – it is so precious a resource, that it should be controlled and regulated by the government, like ground water or liquor licenses.

Leftists don’t trust capitalism and personal liberty because it is unpredictable and uncontrollable. What will a phone look like ten years from now? Impossible to say what private industry will come up with. But Social Security hasn’t really changed in nearly 100 years. That is comforting to some people. In a free society, who will be the winners? Who will be the losers? Hard to say. And it’s not always fair, at least not by my reckoning. Wouldn’t it be better to have government control things? At least we can vote on our leaders, rather than subjecting ourselves to the rule of Bill Gates. Who chose him? Power should be controlled by the people.

Of course, there are a few problems with the, um, logic in the previous paragraph. But a lot of people think this way, to varying degrees. It’s one of the few things that Democrats can talk about these days that actually resonates with people. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t talk about banning air travel or killing babies. She talks about Bill Gates. It’s standard simplistic populism, playing off the jealousies of the masses. It’s not pretty. But it works.

What I’m getting at is that we don’t mind taking black students who normally couldn’t get into Ohio State and putting them at Harvard. That’s ok, as long as we all voted on it. Affirmative action is the law of the land (…although I think it’s also illegal, so, um, work with me here…). We’ve agreed as a society that the races should not be treated equally, so it’s ok to use race as a qualification for admission, even if it may not seem fair.

But if someone buys such privileged status – that is different. We didn’t get to vote on that. It’s ok to vote on unfair advantages, but it’s not ok to sell it to the highest bidder.

I was kind of hoping that this would make more sense once I wrote it down. I often don’t really understand my own points until I take the time to write a persuasive essay. That didn’t really work this time, which means either that I’m not writing very well today, or I’m full of crap. Perhaps I should set this aside and think about it a bit more.

Ha! Just kidding! I’ll just post it and let you folks figure it out for me. Much easier.

So what do you think? Are people offended by the purchase of government regulated goods? Or do you have a better explanation? Again, we admit unqualified college applicants all the time. Why is this different?

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 82 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Member

    Interesting take. I was traveling earlier this week and am catching up on the details. It probably is related to people’s tendency to hate the rich and want to see them taken down a peg.

    On a semi-related tangent, I listened to a lot of the SiriusXM Beatles Channel as we drove. Listening to “The Taxman”, I thought of Rep. Cortez. She wants to be the crushing government entity in the song instead of the plucky musicians. “Should five per cent appear too small; Be thankful I don’t take it all; ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman”

    • #1
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:04 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  2. Coolidge

    I think people like to be outraged at celebrities. Nobody really cares if the average SAT score is lowered by 0.1 %, because of shenanigans. These people are paying tuition but not taking anybody’s seat in the physics department. 

    Here’s the real scandal: The federal govt. pays $150B/year to 4-year schools and about zero to trade schools.

    • #2
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:07 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  3. Member

    I think the real concern is something few people are willing to talk about – that the “unqualified” entrants to the schools graduate at the same rates and roughly the same GPAs as the students who got in legitimately. What that says is the education received at an elite school really isn’t that elite. Or special. Or rigorous. That all having Harvard or Yale on the degree achieves is signalling. It has no real educational value over a degree issued by the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. And despite that, that elite degree opens doors the one from Hoople would not.

    In other words, attending an elite school is not about education. It is about aristocracy. Which is anti-American. It is right there in the Constitution. “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

    But that cannot be admitted – that we are creating an aristocracy. We cannot take the real lesson – that elite schools offer no better education than non-elite schools (and skipping the elite schools for more cost-effective alternatives) – unless we are willing to admit the United States over the 50 years has created a de facto hereditary aristocracy (and that we have done it through the institutions that bray most loudly about egalitarianism and fraternity.) So cognitive dissonance requires folks to concentrate on the cheating and how unfair that is.

    As Chesterton says, if you cease to believe in God you will believe anything. Many have substituted the Moloch of the University for God in their belief systems.

     

    • #3
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:12 PM PDT
    • 26 likes
  4. Member
    Dr. Bastiat Post author

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    elite schools offer no better education than non-elite schools

    When you admit non-elite students, you have to start offering non-elite majors. These kids aren’t majoring in organic chemistry. They’re majoring in psychology or African-American Studies or something.

    The high level stuff at high level schools (majoring in Physics at Princeton) is still probably a really exceptional education.

    So now, it matters not only where you go, but also what you major in. Employers know the difference.

    • #4
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 25 likes
  5. Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    The high level stuff at high level schools (majoring in Physics at Princeton) is still probably a really exceptional education.

    I agree completely with this.

    When we talk about higher education, I really think we need to separate the humanities from the technical subjects. College publishers talk about the “soft side” and “hard side.” It’s a useful way to think of it.

    And even within the humanities, foreign languages, fourteenth-century English poetry, and Greek architecture from the fifth century BC need to be separated from women’s studies. :-)

    • #5
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:27 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  6. Member

    Some years back I had a nasty cough. I called my family doctor who had several partners. I saw my regular doctor and he recommended I have a chest X-ray. After I had it I learned that my doctor got involved with an emergency while I was getting the X-ray. The nurse asked if I would mind having another doctor tell me the results. There was a black doctor in the practice and he seemed like a wonderful guy. He had a real nice personality and bedside manner. We hit it off well. However he initially spoke with me and left me in an exam room for over an hour. My regular doctor rescued me. I read between the lines, the black guy couldn’t read the X-ray. I found out later he had graduated last in his class at medical school. Affirmative this.

    • #6
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Member

    Again, we admit unqualified college applicants all the time. Why is this different?

    I haven’t fully digested the O/P, so let’s make this part fairly short and sweet. The conduct in question was (if as alleged) illegal.  Why is it illegal? Because it’s fraudulent, involving out and out bribes and the surreptitious gaming of the testing process on a significant scale. The affirmative action analogy that keeps cropping up is relativism. Just because “we” disdain affirmative action doesn’t mean that we should be analogizing questionable social policy with criminal acts.

    • #7
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:33 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  8. Contributor

    Dr. Bastiat: I was kind of hoping that this would make more sense once I wrote it down.

    I think a part of this is that we have a particular sense of what it means to put a price on something, and a particular sense of the things on which a price can be put. Things that can be purchased are considered commodities; things that are normally acquired through other means — that is, earned — we generally prefer to be acquired through those means, and tend to consider ill-gotten when simply purchased outright.

    Sex, loyalty, fame, credentials, prestige, leadership positions: these things are typically earned, and we don’t like to see them simply given to the highest bidder.

    Blacks are perceived by many people, rightly or wrongly, as having earned a right to special treatment, including in college admissions, based on a history of mistreatment. (The history of mistreatment is certainly true; how best, or even if, to address that is open to debate.) Pretty much no one feels this way about the kids of rich people.

     

    • #8
    • March 15, 2019, at 3:55 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  9. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    The conduct in question was (if as alleged) illegal.  Why is it illegal? Because it’s fraudulent, involving out and bribes and the surreptitious gaming of the testing process on a significant scale.

    Why is it illegal, you ask. That’s actually a darn good question. It is not fraudulent. Fraud means making a knowingly false representation with the intention to induce another to rely on that representation. The schools might be engaged in false advertising of some sort, if they represent to the public that they have some sort of uniform criteria for judging applicants. But the parents certainly haven’t made any sort of false representation. And I don’t really see anything else about this that is illegal. Anybody ever see the movie Back To School? Donate a building to the school, and the school will admit whoever you want. I thought everyone knew that. I also don’t see what difference the “scale” makes. If it’s illegal when a hundred people do it, then it’s illegal when one person does it.

    Nor do I see why it should be illegal. If a private school wants to admit students by selling admissions to the highest bidder, why should that be illegal? Why should the government be involved at all? The schools do the same thing every time they admit some illiterate jock who can sell tickets by playing on the football team. I think the Doc is really on to something with his explanation. Envy, plain and simple.

    By the way, as an alumni of USC law school I’m glad to see that it is now being called an “elite university.” The law school actually is pretty high quality, but the undergraduate college is known as a place for rich kids. Always has been. Ask anyone at UCLA. (By the way, USC is often called the “University of Spoiled Children.”)

    • #9
    • March 15, 2019, at 4:01 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. Member

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your explanation. I’d not exactly thought of it this way before.

    • #10
    • March 15, 2019, at 4:25 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Member

    Credentialism is not bad, if the credential carries real meaning. If the credential carries meaning, then the credential is very useful information for other people.

    The credential offered by elite colleges and universities has two components. If admission standards are high, the mere fact that a person was admitted indicates a certain level of desirable characteristics. If the academic education is rigorous, the fact that a person graduated indicates a higher level of desirable characteristics.

    If the admission standards are lowered for favored groups, whether they be minorities or the children of the rich and famous, the value of the credential is diluted. If academic rigor is compromised, often in order to accommodate students who were preferentially admitted for reasons other than merit, the value of the credential is further diluted.

    My impression is that the credential offered by top colleges and universities is significantly devalued by preferential admissions, but not as much as might be feared, because you can often distinguish the competent from the incompetent on the basis of their major.

    • #11
    • March 15, 2019, at 4:40 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  12. Member

    Dr. Bastiat:

    What I’m getting at is that we don’t mind taking black students who normally couldn’t get into Ohio State and putting them at Harvard. That’s ok, as long as we all voted on it. Affirmative action is the law of the land (…although I think it’s also illegal, so, um, work with me here…). We’ve agreed as a society that the races should not be treated equally, so it’s ok to use race as a qualification for admission, even if it may not seem fair.

    But if someone buys such privileged status – that is different. We didn’t get to vote on that. It’s ok to vote on unfair advantages, but it’s not right to sell it to the highest bidder.

    I don’t recall ever voting on this, and I don’t recall ever agreeing. I recall objecting, strenuously, for as long as I can remember.

    The reason that this is a big story is that it reinforces the Left-wing narrative.

    • #12
    • March 15, 2019, at 4:41 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Credentialism is not bad, if the credential carries real meaning. If the credential carries meaning, then the credential is very useful information for other people.

    The credential offered by elite colleges and universities has two components. If admission standards are high, the mere fact that a person was admitted indicates a certain level of desirable characteristics. If the academic education is rigorous, the fact that a person graduated indicates a higher level of desirable characteristics.

    If the admission standards are lowered for favored groups, whether they be minorities or the children of the rich and famous, the value of the credential is diluted. If academic rigor is compromised, often in order to accommodate students who were preferentially admitted for reasons other than merit, the value of the credential is further diluted.

    My impression is that the credential offered by top colleges and universities is significantly devalued by preferential admissions, but not as much as might be feared, because you can often distinguish the competent from the incompetent on the basis of their major.

    This comment is just to say that I like this comment.

    NB: Normally I’d just click, but it’s so rare that a comment contains such a large number of assertions, all of which are relevant to the article, and all of which I agree with. (Moderator: if there’s a way to not end, or I should say “not to end”, that last sentence with a preposition, it’s one about which I don’t know.

    about.)

    • #13
    • March 15, 2019, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Member

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    But the parents certainly haven’t made any sort of false representation. 

    Let’s go to the video booth for review: The record shows facilitation of fictional athletic backgrounds passed on to the school, and payments made to bribe test monitors so bogus test scores will “enhance” kids’ chance of admittance.

    Challenge denied. You will be charged a time out.

     

    • #14
    • March 15, 2019, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  15. Member

    This whole kerfluffle is populism run amok. These schools produce our ruling elites. They regulate our lives for our own good. This is just an attempt to discredit the system. 

    • #15
    • March 15, 2019, at 5:29 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  16. Member

    Blacks are a privileged class. At least in terms of college admissions. More so than being a legacy at Harvard or having a famous parent. And it’s understandable to treat the privileged differently than everyone else. Such is life. Nothing new there. 

    Yes. I myself have long said even more than that: blacks constitute an aristocracy, in that they have privileges deriving from the circumstances of their birth and guaranteed both by law and tradition. Affirmative action has been around so long, it is not merely on the books but in the culture.

    • #16
    • March 15, 2019, at 5:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Thatcher

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    But the parents certainly haven’t made any sort of false representation.

    Let’s go to the video booth for review: The record shows facilitation of fictional athletic backgrounds passed on to the school, and payments made to bribe test monitors so bogus test scores will “enhance” kids’ chance of admittance.

    Challenge denied. You will be charged a time out.

    Agreed. The distinctions here are important. I think all the universities and colleges involved are private institutions. If they decided to auction off 10% of their admissions slots each year to the highest bidder that would be fine. We know they cut alumni and big donors a break on admission of their children because it helps them to raise funds which, as private institutions, they are entitled to do. Same with their admissions criteria. They want to admit athletes, even dumb ones, they are welcome to do so.

    The problem here is the cheating of the applicants (and/or of their parents) and the bribing of employees, or the solicitation of bribes by employees of these private corporations.

    And it ticks everyone off because these are wealthy folks with kids who aren’t otherwise qualified who are cheating to give their already well-off kids a bigger advantage in a zero-sum game.

    The outrage is fairly easy to understand.

     

    • #17
    • March 15, 2019, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  18. Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    The high level stuff at high level schools (majoring in Physics at Princeton) is still probably a really exceptional education.

    Is the education sufficiently exceptional from the education you would get at University of Texas-Dallas to justify the difference in price? Probably not.

    UTD is not a flagship school in Texas. That means it did not have to take the top 10% of students in every high school in Texas (regardless of how good or bad the high school is academically). So, starting in the late eighties / early nineties they started recruiting for academic excellence, funded by telecom corridor in Dallas. They don’t have a lot of sports teams. No football (but they do give chess scholarships). It set out to be for the 21st century what Cal Tech was to the 20th.

    But it was not an elite school (and probably is not now). But it is likely one of the best academic schools in the nation – at least until its excellence gets noticed enough to draw the drones to it. It is a whole lot cheaper than Princeton. And at least as good.

    I doubt it is the only such school in the nation. I would bet most states have at least one place like that.

    No – you do not go to Princeton for the education. It is not better than UTD. You go there to get your patent of nobility. That is what the money goes for. 

    • #18
    • March 15, 2019, at 6:13 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  19. Coolidge

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    But the parents certainly haven’t made any sort of false representation.

    Let’s go to the video booth for review: The record shows facilitation of fictional athletic backgrounds passed on to the school, and payments made to bribe test monitors so bogus test scores will “enhance” kids’ chance of admittance.

    Challenge denied. You will be charged a time out.

    Agreed. The distinctions here are important. I think all the universities and colleges involved are private institutions. If they decided to auction off 10% of their admissions slots each year to the highest bidder that would be fine. We know they cut alumni and big donors a break on admission of their children because it helps them to raise funds which, as private institutions, they are entitled to do. Same with their admissions criteria. They want to admit athletes, even dumb ones, they are welcome to do so.

    The problem here is the cheating of the applicants (and/or of their parents) and the bribing of employees, or the solicitation of bribes by employees of these private corporations.

    And it ticks everyone off because these are wealthy folks with kids who aren’t otherwise qualified who are cheating to give their already well-off kids a bigger advantage in a zero-sum game.

    The outrage is fairly easy to understand.

    Was scrolling down to see whether anyone already made the point I was going to make, and this comes close. We all know that rich people can buy their way into college simply by sending a generous donation. In one sense, if it results in a building or a full scholarship for someone who can’t pay, others benefit from this practice and the numbers are probably not that large. And, besides, as many have pointed out, what business is it of ours how colleges determine their admission? If they got rid of financial aid and still chose to charge upwards of 70K per year for the tuition and board, it would only be the rich who could go anyway.

    My colleague also had an original take: it usually takes several million dollars to buy your child’s way into these universities through a direct donation. These extremely rich parents were cheating to get a cheaper deal.

    And that makes it doubly galling. Cheating by parents, who are supposed to be the example for their children. And buying their way in on the cheap through a middleman so that no benefits of that donation were realized.

     

    • #19
    • March 15, 2019, at 6:40 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Member

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    But the parents certainly haven’t made any sort of false representation.

    Let’s go to the video booth for review: The record shows facilitation of fictional athletic backgrounds passed on to the school, and payments made to bribe test monitors so bogus test scores will “enhance” kids’ chance of admittance.

    Challenge denied. You will be charged a time out.

    Agreed. The distinctions here are important. I think all the universities and colleges involved are privateu institutions. If they decided to auction off 10% of their admissions slots each year to the highest bidder that would be fine. We know they cut alumni and big donors a break on admission of their children because it helps them to raise funds which, as private institutions, they are entitled to do. Same with their admissions criteria. They want to admit athletes, even dumb ones, they are welcome to do so.

    The problem here is the cheating of the applicants (and/or of their parents) and the bribing of employees, or the solicitation of bribes by employees of these private corporations.

    And it ticks everyone off because these are wealthy folks with kids who aren’t otherwise qualified who are cheating to give their already well-off kids a bigger advantage in a zero-sum game.

    The outrage is fairly easy to understand.

    If memory serves, UCLA is also involved (a public school). In that a coach took significant bribes to list students as athletes when that was not the case.

    Soccer to be precise.

    • #20
    • March 15, 2019, at 6:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Member

    At the University of Pittsburgh, the business school is called the Katz School of Business. The Katz family endowed the school and it was named for them. They owned a corporation named Paper Craft. Shortly after the endowment the family was charged and convicted with fraud in connection to the corporation. It even gets worse. The endowment was pledged in installments and the last of them were never made. My point is maybe the Academic world isn’t as smart as everyone thinks.

    • #21
    • March 15, 2019, at 7:25 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Coolidge

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    UTD is not a flagship school in Texas. That means it did not have to take the top 10% of students in every high school in Texas (regardless of how good or bad the high school is academically).

    UT Austin is top 6% for 2019. I guess there are too many top 10% kids. I really like the top-x% rule. It solves the problem of smart kids in bad schools getting low test scores. It really does allow the cream to rise to the top. It is way, way, way better than some skin color quota that would give the Obama kids an advantage over some Asian kid in a crappy rural school. 

    • #22
    • March 15, 2019, at 9:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    The high level stuff at high level schools (majoring in Physics at Princeton) is still probably a really exceptional education.

    Is the education sufficiently exceptional from the education you would get at University of Texas-Dallas to justify the difference in price? Probably not.

    UTD is not a flagship school in Texas. That means it did not have to take the top 10% of students in every high school in Texas (regardless of how good or bad the high school is academically). So, starting in the late eighties / early nineties they started recruiting for academic excellence, funded by telecom corridor in Dallas. They don’t have a lot of sports teams. No football (but they do give chess scholarships). It set out to be for the 21st century what Cal Tech was to the 20th.

    But it was not an elite school (and probably is not now). But it is likely one of the best academic schools in the nation – at least until its excellence gets noticed enough to draw the drones to it. It is a whole lot cheaper than Princeton. And at least as good.

    I doubt it is the only such school in the nation. I would bet most states have at least one place like that.

    No – you do not go to Princeton for the education. It is not better than UTD. You go there to get your patent of nobility. That is what the money goes for.

    Ours is New Mexico Tech. Which is a top-50 science and engineering school, with a bottom-20 tuition. (The guy who invented the nicotine patch went there, and he gave the patent to the school, to keep tuition low.)

    Agreed on the Ivies. I didn’t even apply, because even back then they just annoyed me with their eliteness.

    • #23
    • March 16, 2019, at 12:41 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Thatcher

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    The high level stuff at high level schools (majoring in Physics at Princeton) is still probably a really exceptional education.

    Is the education sufficiently exceptional from the education you would get at University of Texas-Dallas to justify the difference in price? Probably not.

    UTD is not a flagship school in Texas. That means it did not have to take the top 10% of students in every high school in Texas (regardless of how good or bad the high school is academically). So, starting in the late eighties / early nineties they started recruiting for academic excellence, funded by telecom corridor in Dallas. They don’t have a lot of sports teams. No football (but they do give chess scholarships). It set out to be for the 21st century what Cal Tech was to the 20th.

    But it was not an elite school (and probably is not now). But it is likely one of the best academic schools in the nation – at least until its excellence gets noticed enough to draw the drones to it. It is a whole lot cheaper than Princeton. And at least as good.

    I doubt it is the only such school in the nation. I would bet most states have at least one place like that.

    No – you do not go to Princeton for the education. It is not better than UTD. You go there to get your patent of nobility. That is what the money goes for.

    I knew I made a good choice to send my daughter there. (Well, she made the choice, actually, but I paid for it so that’s something, right?)

    • #24
    • March 16, 2019, at 2:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Thatcher

    dnewlander (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    The high level stuff at high level schools (majoring in Physics at Princeton) is still probably a really exceptional education.

    Is the education sufficiently exceptional from the education you would get at University of Texas-Dallas to justify the difference in price? Probably not.

    UTD is not a flagship school in Texas. That means it did not have to take the top 10% of students in every high school in Texas (regardless of how good or bad the high school is academically). So, starting in the late eighties / early nineties they started recruiting for academic excellence, funded by telecom corridor in Dallas. They don’t have a lot of sports teams. No football (but they do give chess scholarships). It set out to be for the 21st century what Cal Tech was to the 20th.

    But it was not an elite school (and probably is not now). But it is likely one of the best academic schools in the nation – at least until its excellence gets noticed enough to draw the drones to it. It is a whole lot cheaper than Princeton. And at least as good.

    I doubt it is the only such school in the nation. I would bet most states have at least one place like that.

    No – you do not go to Princeton for the education. It is not better than UTD. You go there to get your patent of nobility. That is what the money goes for.

    Ours is New Mexico Tech. Which is a top-50 science and engineering school, with a bottom-20 tuition. (The guy who invented the nicotine patch went there, and he gave the patent to the school, to keep tuition low.)

    Agreed on the Ivies. I didn’t even apply, because even back then they just annoyed me with their eliteness.

    And my brother went there. This old dumb ex-cop is surrounded by brainiacs. 

    • #25
    • March 16, 2019, at 2:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    But the parents certainly haven’t made any sort of false representation.

    Let’s go to the video booth for review: The record shows facilitation of fictional athletic backgrounds passed on to the school, and payments made to bribe test monitors so bogus test scores will “enhance” kids’ chance of admittance.

    Challenge denied. You will be charged a time out.

    Leaving aside your snarky final comment, sure let’s go to the video booth for review. Show me this “record” you speak of. Provide a link. Show me the evidence.

    Even if you can do that, though, it does not change my point. Yes, falsifying records is probably a crime; especially if they are submitted along with an application which is signed under penalty of perjury (I don’t know whether college applications are signed under penalty of perjury, but they should be). But this post is not about that. It is about “purchasing privilege.” It is about the public outrage that kids with rich parents get advantages over ordinary kids. The mechanics of it are not what is driving the outrage. It is the money that is driving the outrage. But public outrage does not make something a crime if it wasn’t a crime to begin with. Again, show me the evidence.

    • #26
    • March 16, 2019, at 4:26 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Member

    Taking this down a bit of a rabbit trail…

    In earlier posts this week there was a significant amount of “relativism” in comparing those who donate a pile of money to a university to have buildings named after them, endowments, etc. and then having their progeny admitted to the people involved in this scandal. I saw the premise, but something bothered me about it nonetheless.

    I make no secret that I’m an alum of the University of Oregon. Folks often joke that Oregon’s football team has the Best Owner In College Football in Phil Knight – co-founder of Nike. The school is often referred to as Nike U. I’ve always known that “Uncle Phil” has supported the athletic programs and that he also donated to some of the academic departments, but this article outlines things a little more clearly. I see $552 million to academic departments compared to $171 million to athletic endeavors. I attended the UO 40 years ago, and Uncle Phil’s generosity has transformed the campus since that time.

    If one of Phil’s grandkids was looking to be admitted to the UO and had a 2.99 GPA (I believe you need 3.0 for regular admission), I would have no problem whatsoever with someone mentioning it to the President of the University, who would then presumably pick up the phone to the Admissions office and say “Let’s go ahead and accept this kid, kay?” If the donation benefits the school as a whole, it deserves some consideration. For that matter Phil has also donated $400 million to Stanford for graduate programs, so if the grandkid wanted an MBA from there, I would say give that kid a shot.

    The current scandal saw the money going to the pockets of coaches, testing officials, and Singer and his cohorts. Individuals. To me that’s a pretty clear distinction. And I’m also sure someone in here will shoot me down.

    • #27
    • March 16, 2019, at 6:15 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  28. Coolidge

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    Taking this down a bit of a rabbit trail…

    In earlier posts this week there was a significant amount of “relativism” in comparing those who donate a pile of money to a university to have buildings named after them, endowments, etc. and then having their progeny admitted to the people involved in this scandal. I saw the premise, but something bothered me about it nonetheless.

    I make no secret that I’m an alum of the University of Oregon. Folks often joke that Oregon’s football team has the Best Owner In College Football in Phil Knight – co-founder of Nike. The school is often referred to as Nike U. I’ve always known that “Uncle Phil” has supported the athletic programs and that he also donated to some of the academic departments, but this article outlines things a little more clearly. I see $552 million to academic departments compared to $171 million to athletic endeavors. I attended the UO 40 years ago, and Uncle Phil’s generosity has transformed the campus since that time.

    If one of Phil’s grandkids was looking to be admitted to the UO and had a 2.99 GPA (I believe you need 3.0 for regular admission), I would have no problem whatsoever with someone mentioning it to the President of the University, who would then presumably pick up the phone to the Admissions office and say “Let’s go ahead and accept this kid, kay?” If the donation benefits the school as a whole, it deserves some consideration. For that matter Phil has also donated $400 million to Stanford for graduate programs, so if the grandkid wanted an MBA from there, I would say give that kid a shot.

    The current scandal saw the money going to the pockets of coaches, testing officials, and Singer and his cohorts. Individuals. To me that’s a pretty clear distinction. And I’m also sure someone in here will shoot me down.

    I made a similar point above in #19, so I support you 100%! There is a difference between buying yourself in and cheating yourself in. We understand the former and the benefit to the school and it’s up to them how they determine admission. But lying on applications and cheating on tests? That’s just plain wrong.

    • #28
    • March 16, 2019, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  29. Member

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Credentialism is not bad, if the credential carries real meaning. If the credential carries meaning, then the credential is very useful information for other people.

    The credential offered by elite colleges and universities has two components. If admission standards are high, the mere fact that a person was admitted indicates a certain level of desirable characteristics. If the academic education is rigorous, the fact that a person graduated indicates a higher level of desirable characteristics.

    If the admission standards are lowered for favored groups, whether they be minorities or the children of the rich and famous, the value of the credential is diluted. If academic rigor is compromised, often in order to accommodate students who were preferentially admitted for reasons other than merit, the value of the credential is further diluted.

    My impression is that the credential offered by top colleges and universities is significantly devalued by preferential admissions, but not as much as might be feared, because you can often distinguish the competent from the incompetent on the basis of their major.

    This comment is just to say that I like this comment.

    NB: Normally I’d just click, but it’s so rare that a comment contains such a large number of assertions, all of which are relevant to the article, and all of which I agree with. (Moderator: if there’s a way to not end, or I should say “not to end”, that last sentence with a preposition, it’s one about which I don’t know.

    about.)

    This reminds me of an old joke that turns out to be on point, though a bit off color:

    On the first day of school, a freshman from Texas approaches an upperclassman at Harvard and asks, “Where’s the library at?”

    The upperclassman haughtily responds — think Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester — “At Hahvahd, we do not end sentences with prepositions.”

    The freshman considers for a moment and asks: “Where’s the library at, a**hole?”

    • #29
    • March 16, 2019, at 12:00 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  30. Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    On the first day of school, a freshman from Texas approaches an upperclassman at Harvard and asks, “Where’s the library at?”

    The upperclassman haughtily responds — think Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester — “At Hahvahd, we do not end sentences with prepositions.”

    The freshman considers for a moment and asks: “Where’s the library at, a**hole?”

    I like the response: “That is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put!”

    • #30
    • March 16, 2019, at 1:00 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3