LEGAL EDUCATION – Is Fraud the Norm? Students are not Surprised by the College Admissions Scandal?

LEGAL EDUCATION – Is Fraud the Norm? Students are not Surprised by the College Admissions Scandal?

March 27, 2019

News broke earlier this month that wealthy parents paid millions of dollars in bribes, inflated test scores and falsified documents, all to secure their children’s enrollment in elite American Universities.  These elite institutions included: Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and my alma mater University of Southern California. Personally my only shock was that the nation was so appalled and surprised by this scandal.  As a society, I strongly believe that we’ve become accustomed to seeing wealthy individuals utilized their wealth, privilege and status to secure and illicit entry into realms, that are not otherwise accessible.

Following the breakout of the scandal, I was teaching my civil litigation course at Southwestern College and opened this topic with my students and wanted to hear their thoughts.  The consensus was similar across the board.  Student’s comments included: “why is anyone shocked by this revelation” and “didn’t we already assume this was going on anyways”.


The New York Times shared this curiosity and sought out student thoughts and opinions on the matter.  “We [‘New York Times’] knew that the middle and high school students who visit our site would have much to say, so we gave them a place to share their reactions in our Student Opinion question, “What Is Your Reaction to the College Admissions Cheating Scandal?”” Among the numerous submissions two included:

  • Breaking news about people with money and power using their money and power for their own gain is not breaking news because it is nothing new. – Reuben C, Burlington, Vermont
  • I don’t see why this is very shocking to most people—I feel like it is pretty well known that students often lie in a variety of situations. Whether it is to get a job by putting something down on your resume that you never did or lying about income to get free lunch and lowered AP test prices; students (at least from what I see) are always lying to help benefit themselves. This fact doesn’t necessarily bother me just because it is so prominent in my school and I assume in other schools as well. – Sarah, Buena Park, CA

More submissions are included in this New York Times article:


It is disheartening that we live in a society where corruption, indecency and disregard for the law are the norm. Rather than being astounded by the unethical acts of the parents and the academic institutions, the shock is that this is a scandal in the first place.  As one of my students put it best: “this is happening everywhere in our society, why are we shocked that it is happening at universities”

If you or someone you know, has fallen victim to a fraud we invite you to call us today at 619-432-5145 for a free consultation with one of our experienced San Diego Fraud Attorneys.

Diana Legal