A shame and a scandal — now where’s the justice?

Published 7:51 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

How much does it cost to go to college?

For the average Joe or Jane who plays by the rules, the cost is pretty high. Forbes reports that the average class of 2017 graduate owes around $28,650, and there is $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the U.S.

Of course, the problem of student loans would never be an issue for some kids. Namely, those whose parents paid millions of dollars to get their sons and daughters into the nation’s top colleges in the largest school admissions scandal ever prosecuted by federal authorities.

On Thursday, the ringleader of the scheme, a man named William Singer, pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud and conspiracy charges. Alongside Singer, more than 50 people have been charged as a result of the scandal, including parents who funneled donations through Singer’s bogus nonprofit to bribe college officials and coaches or cheat on exams.

The saddest part of the whole scandal isn’t the perversion of our educational system. It’s not even the stories of the kids who might have lost out on admission because an undeserving millionaire’s child took their place — a lot of those students are cooking up lawsuits, by the way, and more power to them.

The worst part is this: how many Americans saw the news break, simply shook their heads and said something along the lines of, “You can get away with anything if you’re rich?”

How many of these parents, college officials and coaches do you think will receive time in prison? How many will be able to simply buy their way out, washing their hands of scandal and consequences, as the rich can so easily do?

This case represents the worst of American society — wealth and influence, wielded for nothing but selfish ends; corruption and bribery in the halls of some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities; the breakdown of the American Dream and the promise that one can pull themselves up by the bootstraps through hard work and diligence.

Maybe the American Dream is still alive in some form. This case, however, shows how easily money can triumph over merit, and deny those chasing the American Dream a spot that should rightfully be theirs, not reserved for the wealthy and the privileged.

We’ll see how it all plays out. Time will tell who will be held accountable and who will weasel their way out of justice. Bottom line is, it’s about time for the American judiciary to put its foot down and say, “Your money’s no good here.”

Throw the book at ’em, judge.