College Scandal: Did Sentenced Parents Get Enough Jail Time?

Cecilia Sanchez, Staff Writer

Wealthy parents who paid their kid’s way to get into the best colleges in the United States are horrible people. 

The “Varsity Blues Scandal” as it is named, indicted 33 parents by United States federal prosecutors. Some parents paid Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scandal, between $15,000 and $75,000, to pay college entrance exam administrators to change answers on the SAT exams and boost their kid’s scores. While others parents paid Singer up to $500,000 to bribe coaches and college officials to secure admission to top universities.

Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty and admitted to paying $15,000 to raise her daughter’s SAT scores by using a SAT proctor who changed scores. Huffman received a short jail time of 14 days, fined $30,000, and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service. 

Huffman was given the easy way out. She is a successful actress with a net worth of $20 million. She received a fine which she easily paid that same day. Huffman should have had more jail time and a longer probation for her poor decisions. 

Senior, Alexander Popoca agrees that the sentencing was too short. “I believe Felicity Huffman should have been given a longer jail time to prove that rich celebrities can pay the same price as anyone else,” said Popoca. 

According to NBC News, Kelly Williams-Bolar, an African American single mother, was sentenced to five years in prison for using her father’s address to get her children into a better school rather than the dangerous neighborhood where she lived.

What happened to  William-Bolar is something that happens way too often within minority and poor communities. Although, William-Bolar’s case was later suspended by a judge who gave her 10 days and three years of probation, it is crazy how drastically different, the initial sentences are with Huffman and Williams=Bolar. Minority students who often work twice as hard and with fewer resources to get into elite colleges are afraid someone who is wealthy can just take their spot. And the wealthy have time and time again.

Businessman Devin Sloane, paid $250,000 to get his son into the University of Southern California and was “recruited” as a water polo athlete. Sloane told the judge he, “wanted what was best for my son.” 

Are they doing this for their children or their own status? 

Talwani, the appointee to the U.S District Court of Massachusetts, has given out seven sentences so far. Sloane received four months. Talwani sentenced couple, Gregory and Marcia Abbott, to one month in prison. The Abbotts paid $125,000 to have their daughter’s exam questions fixed to get into Duke University. 

As seniors complete their college apps, we question if our spot will be taken by people who are wealthy.

Senior, Michelle Ayala, has stayed after school for multiple late nights to work on her FAFSA and college applications. 

“It’s surprising these people aren’t serving more than a month in jail. Wealthy people shouldn’t just be given a slap on the hand when they’ve clearly crossed the line,” said Ayala. 

This is not the first time it has happened and will certainly not be the last. The amount of media coverage on this college scandal has opened people’s eyes. It just proves how certain people think money is the solution. When you have to pay your way out of jail, it just shows how unfair the judicial system really is.

These are real crimes that deserve longer sentencing. Time needs to be given, not money.