Dr. Bill Atwood

College bribery scandal speaks to the lack of morals in our nation

When the news broke a few days ago about the scandal involving elite’s kids, my alma mater, USC, was caught up in the mess. To be sure other schools were also named and they were equally embarrassed.

I am still proud to be part of the Trojan family and I know that I received a high quality education at that university. No excuses can explain this away. I was chatting with a good friend who attended UCLA and his school was also named in this mess. What we both agreed upon was that there has been for many years a practice that has allowed for “winks and nods” in the admissions process.

In days prior to this, it was not uncommon for a wealthy parent to make a sizeable donation to a university and a year later their child was warmly accepted into that university program. While wrong because of the intent, it was open for all to see.

This scheme created a number of messes that the universities are going to have to correct. First, the proctors and coaches who changed test scores or created phony athletic records are being terminated or already have been walked out the door. They should be banned for life from ever again working at any university. The parents who paid the agent to arrange the cheating deserve to pay hefty fines and need to serve some jail time. Since they are wealthy, chances are they will only see a cell during their arraignment. They know how to work the legal system.

I hope the IRS will go after each of them for federal tax evasion and fraud charges. Since they claimed their bribes as a donation to a charity they filed false returns and took charitable tax deductions. They deserve to have penalties and the interest pile up. They deserve the same fate as Martha Stewart and Leona Helmsley — prison time. They should have to also donate without tax benefit an amount equal to the bribes they paid into each school’s scholarship fund.

Those cheaters deserve to be sued by the students who lost out on those athletic scholarships and admissions. The universities can easily determine who would have been the next in line but lost out to the bribe scandal. Those innocent victims that lost a chance to attend a first-rate university have a legitimate claim to damages.

The parents deserve the full penalties and their kids deserve to be booted out with zero credits for grades. It makes sense. If a parent steals a bike and gives it to their child, the police don’t let the kid keep the bike.

The parents who did the bribing also deserve our scorn and ridicule. They cheated the system and they cheated some deserving students. Imagine the bragging those cheats did at parties telling how their darling child had been accepted at an elite school.

This speaks to one other issue. The lack of morals in this nation. That is the saddest part of this whole mess. The casting off of integrity in such an easy manner tells a great deal about many in our society. To think that the elite crowd of A-listers have the gall to preach to the common folks about how simple-minded and “square” we are.

I wasn’t the brightest student to apply to the different colleges I attended but, like all my friends, we got in the old-fashioned way. We graduated the old-fashioned way. We have our diploma’s because we earned them.