The college admissions scandal which broke earlier this month — federal prosecutors on March 12 charged 50 people with taking part in a scheme where unqualified students were admitted to prestigious universities, allegedly because their parents paid bribes and the students cheated on standardized tests — angers us because it seems unfair, other students’ hard work and ability taking second place to Mommy and Daddy’s bank balance.
Private schools such as those in the Ivy League or, as in this month’s scandal, the University of Southern California or Stanford University, can admit for attendance whomever they like. But administrators at public schools such as UW-Madison know that they are funded by the people of Wisconsin, people who expect that their tax dollars will be used to educate the best and brightest students, from the Badger State or elsewhere (provided the out-of-state students are willing to pay more than three times what in-state students pay in tuition and fees).
So as Wisconsin taxpayers with that expectation, we were pleased to see the March 15 report from the Wisconsin State Journal that UW-Madison is reviewing its admission policies.
“Although we have confidence in our systems and our staff, whenever an issue such as this one arises, we take the opportunity to review and identify areas where we might improve,” UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas said in a statement. UW-Madison employs a comprehensive admissions process, Lucas said, where “every student admitted to the university is judged to be capable of success.”
The university received nearly 43,000 applications for the freshman class that arrived in the fall.
About 52 percent were accepted, according to UW-Madison data.
The university declined to say whether there have been any instances since 2011 in which students won a spot on a sports team and attended UW-Madison but did not compete.
If the review were to find UW-Madison has, or had, any impostor student-athletes, we would expect disciplinary action to be taken, including termination of employment or expulsion of students if necessary.
We hold the UW System to a higher standard, apparently higher than that to which some private universities hold themselves.