Perhaps Felicity Huffman never broke character. Perhaps she still is a desperate housewife, while Lori Loughlin is (or may be) desperate in a different way. If the criminal charges against the two are true, their next roles will pay nothing—not even scale—and require everything: a performance that negates their alleged attempts to use fraudulent test scores and bribes to get their daughters into college.
Huffman and Loughlin are the most famous suspects in this case, but the unindicted co-conspirators are the colleges and universities named as victims in a federal indictment. The schools are more like accomplices in an ongoing criminal enterprise in which hope—false hope—is the currency of business, corruption the business of higher education, education nobody’s business. The schools are more like country clubs than temples of learning, not because they are havens of leisure, but because they are houses of exclusion.
For all their talk about light and truth, for all their double-talk about excellence and leadership, the one thing that talks to these schools—that speaks softly but forcefully—is money. Not the literacy of a particular applicant whose grades are second-rate but whose intellect is first-rate, whose scores are ordinary but whose talent is extraordinary, whose extracurricular activities are few but whose interests are many. From such average transcripts does history transcribe the greatness of grandiloquent men such as Roosevelt, Churchill, Kennedy, and Reagan.
According to Wayne R. Cohen, a professor at the George Washington University School of Law and a partner at Cohen & Cohen, P.C.: “If there is corruption at the university level, it will be incumbent for a specific institution to take steps to regulate itself.”
Intoxicated by power and blinded by prestige, the most selective schools are some of the most sanctimonious institutions on earth. Their vines are invasive—their ivy infective—to the development of free minds and free people.