Scott Hardie | March 18, 2019
Should the students at the center of the college admissions scam controversy be expelled from school, or have their degrees revoked if they already graduated?

Erik Bates | March 18, 2019
I've been wrestling with this ever since the scandal began.

My current thought (subject to change):

Conditional expulsion for all students involved, under the understanding that they will apply and take the proper tests and go through the appropriate steps to get admitted normally. They may or may not make the grade, as it were, and in which case, their expulsion is made permanent, or at least until such time as they can prove that they can meet the standards the school is looking for.

If the students can get in on their own merits, then they should be admitted.

Unless it is determined that the students were aware of the actions of their parents, or were otherwise complicit in the scam themselves. In which case, permanent and immediate expulsion.

For those who already have degrees... I'd like to say the same as above, but I don't think that's entirely feasible.

Samir Mehta | March 18, 2019
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Steve West | March 18, 2019
Sadly, the precedent has been established. Paying for better test scores - who's to say that won't or didn't occur again. They're permanently stained with suspicion.

Scott Hardie | March 21, 2019
Doesn't every college application include some kind of paragraph that you have to sign, saying that you agree that everything in the application is truthful and accurate, and that your admission can be revoked if it's discovered that you provided false information? I suppose it's possible that the parents filled out the form for the kids, faking their signature or just making them sign it without reading it.

My understanding is that only a few of the kids were unaware of the ruse. Nearly all participated in it, such as by posing for photos in the sports they weren't playing.

Schools already expel kids for lying on their applications, the same as happens for other conduct rule violations like plagiarism. So there's already a punishment ready for the kids who participated in this lie.

That leaves the few whose parents set this up without their knowledge, which should be possible to confirm with evidence. I don't know what the term is, but there must be a way to revoke their admission without a true expulsion (which would be a permanent stain on their record affecting their ability to enter other schools). Like Erik, I'd let them reapply and try to reenter on their own merits, and even let them keep the credits already earned if they pull it off, but I know it's unlikely.

As for the kids who already graduated and earned degrees? If they participated in the cheating, revoke the degree. It's normal for that serious of a violation of ethics.

People keep talking about how this cheating on admissions deprived other students of a place in higher education. That's true, and sad, but not really relevant to the punishment. It's not like kicking out the cheater is going to make room immediately for another kid, or that the parents must fund some other kid's tuition as part of their court-ordered retribution.

Samir Mehta | March 26, 2019
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