Things That Matter

College Admissions Scandal Mastermind Reportedly Told Parents To Lie About Ethnicity To Further Advantage Their White Children

New details have emerged from the college admissions scandal that made headlines back in March. According to the Wall Street Journal, William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the scandal, encouraged his clients to lie about their child’s race on applications to boost their chances of getting into elite colleges. He specifically told parents that to change their white child’s ethnicity to black or Latino because not doing so would put their children at a “competitive disadvantage” to other students.

A new report on the college admissions scandal is showing just how far the privileged will go to take places in higher education from students of color by any means necessary.

Elite colleges have long given preference to athletes and children of former alumni. Singer took notice and advantage of a new trend in college admissions, schools seeking students of color.

The son of Marjorie Klapper is one student who changed their racial identity as an advantage. He was reportedly falsely listed as being black and Hispanic on his Common Application, which includes an optional box where applicants can note their race or ethnicity.

Last Friday, Klapper plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors allege she paid Singer $15,000 to have a proctor take the ACT for her son in 2017.

In one instance, an application “may have been based on a tenuous connection, such as a distant relative of Native American ancestry,” a source told the Wall Street Journal. Yet according to that same source, “There was nothing Native American about this kid.”

The scandal has opened up the hot button issue of race being a factor in college admissions.

Credit: @aldeneducation/Twitter

Race being considered a major factor in college admissions has become a hot-button issue since the college admissions scandal broke back in March. The scandal has also shed light on affirmative action and the realities that many minorities face getting into top colleges.

While lying on college applications may not be a crime, schools can take disciplinary action over the false statements. The families embattled in various federal investigations face charges related to bribery or test-cheating.

At a court hearing in March, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen said Singer’s schemes included “lying about students’ ethnicities and other biographical information in an attempt to take advantage of perceived benefits from affirmative action and other programs.”

Singer then, responded that “everything that Mr. Rosen stated is exactly true.”

In the aftermath of the college-admissions scandal, the SAT will now include a new measure for privilege beginning this year.

Credit: @flippedhatnupe/Twitter

Along with scores measuring math and reading levels, the test will include an “adversity score” that indicates a persons social and economic background. The score won’t be shown to students and will be reported only to college officials, according to The New York Times. Race will also not be a factor in the score.

The college admissions scandals involved over 30 parents trying to get their children into elite colleges.

Klapper is just one of the 33 parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, charged in the admissions scheme. The U.S. Department of Justice reported that parents paid $15,000 to $75,000 to Singer in exchange for manufactured test scores. One student’s parents even paid $6.5 million to get their child into Stanford University.

This latest revelation about racial misrepresentation adds to a story that has brought national outrage over privilege. The college admissions scandal had also ignited a debate about diversity and legacy status in the college admissions process.

READ: The College Cheating Scandal Highlights The Different Paths Many Face Getting To College

‘Side Hustle’ Episode 2: Nude Modeling And Friend Rentals

Things That Matter

‘Side Hustle’ Episode 2: Nude Modeling And Friend Rentals

mitú / dorainwoodmusic / Instagram

Side hustles aren’t just limited to freelance writing gigs. There is a vast world of side hustles that can make people a lot of money. Some of them involve art, modeling, and unusual rentals that people would need. That is what the second episode of mitú original series “Side Hustle” is all about.

“That’s not art. That’s you being nude.”

Dorian Wood and Tatyana are young Latinos trying to make it in this wild world in which we live. While some people rely on a regular 9-5 job to make everything work, these two people found a way to take something they like to do and make it profitable.

Wood is using his body to make money and a name for himself with a global audience. His art is something that some people just don’t understand but he is beloved in the art world for his performance art. His nude body is the subject of his work and he has been featured in art shows around the world.

Tatyana is a college student working her way through college like so many others. However, she is taking a different route to pay for her college courses instead of working a retail job. What she has to offer is friendship and it’s paying off.

Wood might be celebrated for his art but his mom has some thoughts.

“I did a show in Madrid and this artist comes up to me after the show and offers to do a mural of me so I just said, ‘Okay. What have I got to lose?’ A few months later he sends me this video of him putting the finishing touches on a four-story mural in Segovia in Spain of me completely naked and my jaw just dropped,” Wood tells co-host David Alvarez. “‘El Gordo’ is what they called the mural. It somehow just triggered something in me. I was like, ‘Oh. Okay. What if I tried art modeling?'”

Wood admits that his friends and family are a little confused by his work. He adds: “They think I’m insane. My mother sees me posing nude and doing nude performance art and she’ll tell me in Spanish like, ‘You know. That’s not art. That’s you being nude.'”

Tatyana loves to make friends and now that makes her some money.

“This is just a way for me to pay for classes,” Tatyana explains to co-host Sahsa Merci. “There was a list of 100 things you could do to make side money and I checked a bunch of them out. The Rent-A-Friend seemed like something I could be good at. So, I started it and I really liked how it was.”

Tatyana says that “it was definitely a little too delicate to talk about at first.” She added. “They know that I enjoy making new friends so for me to get some benefit out of it, also financial help for my school, they were happy about that.”

READ: Cuddling And Wrestling Are Just Two Ways To Make Money On The Side

In-Person Courses Have Been Canceled As Well As Recreational Activities, Now Students Are Protesting To Cancel SAT Exams Due To Coronavirus

Things That Matter

In-Person Courses Have Been Canceled As Well As Recreational Activities, Now Students Are Protesting To Cancel SAT Exams Due To Coronavirus

@college_bloom / Instagram

Virtually every sector of the U.S. economy has taken a hit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The education sphere is no exception.

According to a recent report by the Washington Post, “an estimated 1 million high school juniors are missing the chance this spring to get their first SAT score, and many others face uncertainty about when they can take the ACT.”

Widespread exam cancellations and postponements have left many students uncertain as to what they will do come application season when many universities and colleges require the test.

Now students are calling colleges and universities to call an end to the tests altogether.

#TestOptionalNOW is the new trending hashtag that students across the nation have created in response to the uncertainty the virus has caused the tests. The hashtag along with a petition by Student Voice.imploring universities to waive the standardized testing requirements for freshmen applicants in the fall of 2021.

But many students are asking for just a temporary suspension, not just during this time of uncertainty. After all, the standardized exams have for decades been scrutinized for the inaccurate measures of intelligence and success.

The college scandal of 2019 —thanks to Aunt Becky and her wealthy cohorts— is just a recent look at how privileged people can easily change the outcome of tests and admissions only by forking money over to do so. Academic-based bribery is hardly a new scheme in the admissions process and the ways in which the system has become intricately rigged to keep out minorities is only just beginning to gain exposure. Minorities and low-income people are marginalized when it comes to admissions, test scores, and the workplace — it’s a system that continuously unbalances society.

When it comes to the SATs, an assessment test meant to categorize students solely on academic merit, this truth is no different.

The original intention behind the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is to show where a student stands among their peers, to indicate what their next educational move should be.

The SATs date back to the mid-1920s.

Carl C. Brigham, a psychology professor at Princeton University whose early writings strongly influenced the eugenics movement and anti-immigration legislation in the United States, created the SAT for College Board in 1926. Brigham proposed and produced the test after make observations that he said proved “American education is declining and will proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial mixture becomes more and more extensive.”

According to PBS, the College Board “puts him in charge of a committee to develop a test that could be used by a wider group of schools.” And “In 1926 the SAT is administered to high school students for the first time.”

However, the wording as to why students had to take the SATs in the first place is marred with racial discrimination.

The SATs came during an immigration wave, and college boards and universities wanted to define who would be allowed in. The test doesn’t necessarily attest to who is smarter but more extensive information about the student, their race, and economic background. And yet, college admissions board do not consider this a factor in their admissions process. Proving that in a deeply flawed and unequal educational system, where segregation is still alive and well, colleges and education systems continue to fail students of color and those who are not. After all, research has shown that diversity in school’s only further benefits students, particularly in fields that are related to critical thinking and problem-solving.

The truth is that high-stakes standardized tests work in ways that reinforce racist and discriminatory systems of old. Continuing to accept notions that standardize tests are merit-based only perpetuate the race and class gaps reflected in their results.

Now the SATs will include an “adversity rating” that will allow colleges to know the school that a student came from to evaluate them in a more fair way.

The rating — 1 to 100 — would help the college board (who own the SATs) understand a student’s quality of education based on the neighborhood, the school’s economic standing, and other relevant information. So, if a student doesn’t do very well on the SATs, the rating would reveal as to the hardships that student endured. The rating does not include information about their race, but more so the economic struggles.

Some people feel that the “adversity rating” is something people could take advantage of by lying about where they live.

For example, if a parent knows that their child may not do well on the SATs they could lie about where they live to get a better adversity rating. This would help them achieve a better score.

“The idea that ‘this is a great SAT score for someone from your neighborhood, for someone of your background’ — it’s not fair to the students,” Venkates Swaminathan, a college admissions consultant told The Washington Post.

Others say the “adversity rating” will be a significant boost to go alongside affirmative action.

“Merit is all about resourcefulness,” David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board, said to the New York Times. “This is about finding young people who do a great deal with what they’ve been given. It helps colleges see students who may not have scored as high, but when you look at the environment that they have emerged from, it is amazing.”