As the investigation into the college admissions bribery scandal continues, prosecutors learned that grades and test scores weren’t the only things that William “Rick” Singer faked. The mastermind revealed that he also falsified students’ ethnicities to get them into the country’s top universities.
According to the New York Post, Assistant US Attorney Eric S. Rosen told Judge Rya Zobel that Singer “[lied] about students’ ethnicities and other biographical information in an attempt to take advantage of perceived benefits from affirmative action and other programs.”
The case, which is the largest college admissions scam in the history of the U.S., has raised a lot of questions about affirmative action, specifically whether or not it should be abolished.
Many conservatives, including some of the Supreme Court Justices, feel that affirmative action is unfairly taking away spots at colleges from qualified white students and giving them to potentially less-qualified minority students based on race alone. And they argue that the Singer scandal proves how unfair the racial bias in admissions can be.
Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, explained to CNN, “If racial preference is unjust, then it doesn’t magically become just because people notice some other injustice that has different beneficiaries. Two things can be unjust at the same time, and two injustices do not add up to one justice.”
However, defenders of affirmative action say the opposite is true—that the scam reveals the prevalence of white privilege and how much harder it is for students of color to get into college when the system is so easily gamed.
“Some people have said wealth is affirmative action for white people,” Anthony Jack, an assistant professor of education at Harvard University, told CNN. “What [this scandal] is exposing is the steps and the leaps and bounds that wealthy families take to secure a spot that is rightfully no one’s — that they think they have proprietary ownership of.”