WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 12, news broke of the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”
The FBI Boston Field Office revealed a devastating investigation in which dozens of patrons, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, paid millions of dollars in exchange for their children’s acceptance into top-tier universities, including my home, Georgetown University.
Among those implicated in the scandal is former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst. The university released a statement remarking that Ernst hadn’t coached the team since 2017 “following an internal investigation that found he had violated University rules concerning admissions.” Ernst, also a former personal tennis coach to first-family Michelle, Sasha, and Malia Obama, allegedly accepted over $2.7 million in return for use of his athletic priority to accept students who were not, in fact, tennis players.
Myself and many other students at Georgetown were understandably upset at the news; someone used their immense wealth to effectively nullify the hard work we put in to our acceptance.
However, this shared contempt for a morally corrupt individual who minimized and threatened many students’ accomplishments wasn’t enough for the divisive leftists on campus and beyond. Despite any evidence, this issue quickly turned into a racial battle.
“As a woman of color…I think it’s really important that I share my opinion about the recent college admissions scandal” wrote one Georgetown student in an Instagram post. In a BBC interview, another student described the situation as “white people who were not qualified who were getting into the University based on white privilege, their parent’s money.”
Similar sentiments were found off campus as well.
“For students of color, the college admissions scandal is a harsh reminder of the deep inequities in the process” read a New York Times push notification. The Root didn’t hold back calling it the “White People College Cheating Scam.”
These manufactured headlines demonstrate the insatiable appetite of those on the left for racial division – it fills their news rooms with content and their campaign coffers with cash.
But what happens when their false narrative is destroyed?
A devastating report from the Daily Beast, released after word of the scandal had already circulated, profiled my cheating classmate, Dominican-American woman Isabella Henriquez.
— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) March 14, 2019
One of the few students accused of actively participating in the fraud, “Izzy” is specifically named as having known and even “gloated about the fact that they had cheated and gotten away with it.” The Beast reports she corrected her SATs with the help of a well-paid proctor, and generated a false high school tennis career to gain her admittance into Georgetown.
In turn, many Georgetown students appeared surprised and even upset that the scammer failed to fit their mold and thus reaffirm their biases. “This one case doesn’t disprove the greater white supremacist narrative” I was told by a fellow freshman, though it was the only case we have.
Following the repeatedly racialized claims made by students, a March 15 op-ed in the Georgetown newspaper The Hoya conveniently relied instead on criticizing “the role of wealth in admissions.” This approach is commendable as low-income and first-generation college applicants don’t have the advantages of legacy boosts and exorbitant money for tutors and college prep schools. We can certainly question the role of massive donations in boosting a student’s acceptance rate.
Where I’m from in mid-Missouri there are thousands of low-income, non-legacy students of all races and cultures, many white and Asian. They deserve to be applauded for their hard work, not criticized because of their skin color, and supported in admissions processes – especially against wealthy frauds like Izzy even though she’s a woman of color.
However, we have a media complex and activist culture that thrives on racial divisions and alleges viscous inequality without, or even contrary to, available evidence. Instead of truly supporting first generation, low-income students of all backgrounds, they segregate by race.
This leads many to fall in line with “their side” and stokes the divides that have plagued us for generations. We should focus on the merit and character of all individuals and reward those who rose to the occasion, regardless of the color of their skin. By doing so we can hopefully eliminate the mistakes made in this case and bring our nation together toward a future of uniting against those who actually seek to abuse others and the system.
The views in this article do not represent those of the Department of Defense or the United States Army.