By Jennipher Vasquez
In the wake of the FBI arresting 50 people in response to the infamous Operation Varsity Blues, Riverside City College students and faculty respond to the scandal.
Public outcry began when details came out about the 50 people, including 33 parents, who have been charged with crimes consisting of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and honest services mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
“There’s students who come from very low income, on the borderline of poverty, but yet there’s these rich parents taking advantage of that just to hand it to their kids,” RCC student Neyra Rodriguez said.
This has been a common mindset among the campus community.
“I work really hard for my accomplishments, so do a lot of other students and hearing that people are paying their way in just isn’t fair. I think they need to be punished and learn the hard way just like we did,” Rodriguez said, who is working towards graduating and transferring to UC Riverside.
Rodriguez added that the scam downplays the efforts college students like her put towards making the most out of their education and earning their positions.
“In many ways this oppresses the work ethic within our institutions and allows them to be at a higher level in society that is easily given to them,” RCC counseling clerk Jose Martin Diaz Solorio said.
Diaz said that he thinks the situation validates the idea that students aren’t being recognized for their endeavors because they don’t have the same opportunities as someone paying for their admission into prestigious universities.
“I would want students to know their work ethic is just as valuable in the CSU/UC system just as going into a prestigious university,” Diaz said. “I want to remind students that no matter where you go you’ll be more prepared for anything than these individuals with higher power because you worked to prepare yourself for the workforce.”
According to Diaz, he views this as a learning moment.
“This makes us realize the higher education system is not working towards helping individual students, it is mainly working to provide an easier way for people with power, money and status,” Diaz said.
RCC student Amy Hutson-Ganlath said she believes students should earn their successes because it teaches good ethics and good character.
“I can’t get too upset about it,” Hutson-Ganlath said. “The best thing to do is just be the best I can be, at least I’ll have a clear mind that I earned my score fair and square.”
“Unfortunately these highly rich people seem to forget what good morals and values are,” Hutson-Ganlath said.
Universities involved in the scandal include Yale, USC, Stanford, the University of Texas at Austin, UCLA, Georgetown University, University of San Diego and several other esteemed colleges nationwide.
None of the universities have been charged with having any sort of involvement in the case, all are cooperating with officials in the investigation and conducting their own internal investigations.
“Take satisfaction in the fact that you’ve done it the right way,” RCC counselor Mike Barnes said.
Barnes also added students should be proud that they worked for and earned their accomplishments fairly because money can be corrupting.
“It’s a shame, but I’m not surprised,” Barnes said, “When something sounds too good to be true it probably is.”
This scandal isn’t limited to wealthy for-profit universities. UC Berkeley was discovered to have admitted wealthy students who had submitted falsified SAT scores among other accusations. As of March 20, no other public institutions have been indicted in the case.
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