Hollywood Actresses Facing Prison Time:
Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are better known for their respective roles in television hits such as “Desperate Housewives” and “Full House,” but they are now making headlines for their alleged roles in a very scandalous bribery affair involving university admissions for their daughters. Both actresses appeared before a federal judge in Boston in early April, but they did not enter a plea, thus prompting legal analysts to believe that jail sentences could be likely for both.
The scandal is centered on the [Key Worldwide Foundation, a business organization that reportedly offered consultancy services to parents who wanted to improve their children’s chances of being admitted into Ivy League colleges such as the University of Southern California and Yale University. Prosecutors say that William Singer, director of the aforementioned foundation, actually collected $25 million from wealthy parents such as Loughlin and Huffman to bribe university admissions counselors.
“Operation Varsity Blues” is the name of the covert activity conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as it scrutinized Singer and 49 other individuals allegedly involved in this case. In addition to receiving monetary bribes, Singer reportedly forged documents, prepared fake entrance exams, invented student profiles, and even secured athletic scholarships for young college prospects who would otherwise not have been admitted into elite institutions. It is interesting to note that “Varsity Blues” is a 1999 film centered on the fictional lives of a group of small town college students who could not qualify to get into elite schools.
As the situation stands, Huffman and Loughlin could conceivably receive jail sentences ranging between six months and two years. Since public indignation over the case has been growing in recent weeks, there is a stronger chance of a prison outcome. The outrage is multifaceted: on one hand, there is the matter of undeserved privilege, on the other hand, many Americans feel that the system has always been rigged to favor the wealthiest families. The pressure of getting into an Ivy League institution is a matter of adding prestige to a curriculum vitae, and making powerful connections to keep up the status-quo of wealthy clans.
Socio-economic analysts who have followed this scandal have pointed out how much it reflects on a broken system that perpetuates elitism. The combination of wealth and fraud has unfortunately fueled the success of many American institutions, and the vaunted Ivy League system is not an exception. For students trying to get into these schools on their own academic and athletic merits, this is a devastating realization.