I am writing about the actions I have taken in the wake of revelations regarding an ongoing FBI investigation into an admissions fraud scheme that targeted universities nationwide, including Yale. Ones of people have been expelled from this college. These individuals allegedly bribed athletic coaches and standardized testing officials, or accepted the bribes, to deceive the admissions offices of universities. These dishonest and criminal actions are an affront to our community’s deeply held values of fairness, inclusion and honesty. I have therefore initiated a number of actions to make sure we understand the full impact of this scandal, chief among them typing “admissions” and “donors” into the search bar of yaledailynews.com.
The investigation has revealed that the actions of these individuals were indeed deeply unfair, counter to our values. How outrageous that this student’s parents would pay a single athletic coach $400,000 when you and Director of Athletics Vicky Chun have been busting your behinds for the past year to court donors, according to a News feature published two weeks before this stunning story broke. With such a valuable source of funds wasted on a single employee, it’s no wonder that, last April, you felt the need to request that deans and University officials get more involved in fundraising efforts.
A particular apology is owed to Yale’s first-year counselors who have been deprived of the valuable “networking” opportunity — as described in at least one email from the Office of Development — to privately tour and have lunch with prospective VIP students and their families. These VIPs, or “donors,” as Program Coordinator of the Office of Development Adam Cohen first described them to the News, paid their fair share to the University at large. They earned the right to be privately pampered by school-employed seniors before any college applications were due. And the University has even been so generous as to compile an admissions list of these VIPs — “institutional cases” in admissions speak — not to receive special treatment, but to earn a plus factor for their application. The indignity of some people to resort to bribing other school officials! Parents, it’s much more sane to have your “institutional cases” meet with seniors who are obligated to do so.
As to the matter of inclusion, a grave injustice has indeed occurred, since this false athlete took the spot of a more worthy, hardworking actual student-athlete. Athletes are part of the educational mission of Yale College. Under the Ivy League model, those who play on varsity teams are student-athletes, and “student” comes first, which is why we as a university have elected to allow programs like Indonesian language study and the London School of Economics summer excursions to become hotbeds for those not-necessarily-representative athletes who need a bit of an academic boost.
Our sports teams engender pride among our whole community. And you, President Salovey, have often said that we bask in their reflected glory, bringing the Yale College community closer together. As laid out in a recent Atlantic article, with 65 percent of student-athletes in the Ivy League being white — compared to 52.8 percent in the class of 2022 — and often being recruited for sports with a high cost of entry — like our national lacrosse champions — athletes are definitely bringing our backgrounds closer together. While my investigation fell short of finding data on Yale, this article informed me that 46.3 percent of Harvard’s class of 2022 recruited athletes come from households with an income of $250,000 a year or higher while one in five high school elite athlete families pay $1,000 a month on athletics. On average, lacrosse families pay almost $8,000 a year for indispensable equipment like fluorescent shorts.
The athletics program is also an important part of the Yale College educational experience; students better themselves by playing their sport. They learn self-discipline, how to work as part of a team, how to subordinate individual ambition to a group accomplishment and how to be resilient in the face of failure. These skills are important in every area of life, including academics, and it would be impossible to learn them through debate teams, mock trial teams, model UN teams, robotics teams or even working an after-school job. Thus, of course, athletics is the only structured activity or work experience which is counted as an official plus factor. And only those high-achieving students earn access to dean’s excuses to make up work when they miss class for their activity. How dare some suggest we bask in the glory of nerds.
Finally, my investigation led me to the question of honesty. What a brazen act of dishonesty for this student to suggest they’re something they’re not. To pretend to have the proper academic preparation to attend this university like the 11 percent of the class of 2022 who put in the hard work to put on their resume that their dad once stripped in the Yale Bowl. Or the 35.4 percent who, like me, struggled through private school, often wearing a uniform or formal dress code ALL day. Thank God we caught the last person who didn’t deserve to be here. Now, professors can get back to focusing on all the independently achieving students.
As I proceed with these first steps, I may find that more actions are necessary. I will not spare our university any scrutiny that will help us to be better and bolster the integrity of our community.
Owns a Computer
Jacob Hutt is a sophomore in Silliman College. His column runs on alternate Tuesdays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .