The college admission scam is also horrifying for its abuse of disability accommodations

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A facilitator advised that a kid ‘be stupid’ so they’d have more time to take the ACT.

The internet cannot get enough off of college admission scam—mostly because it has picked at the open wound of systemic inequality.

“Operation Varsity Blues,” as it was code-named, uncovered a mass scheme involving CEOs, lawyers, and Hollywood stars who worked with university officials to help fast-track their children’s way into elite schools such as Yale University and Stanford University. In order to have their child’s admission guaranteed, some parents paid between $200,000 to $6.5 million. 

The scam reveals the layers of institutional racism and classism that exists in the U.S. education system, and many were quick to point out how low-income students of color miss out on college, despite honest efforts, while kids with rich parents are able to have their future secured. 

The disability community was also exploited in the scandal. William Rick Singer, who owned the Edge College & Career Network and worked as a “middleman” to facilitate bribes with parents, suggested to a parent that their daughter “be stupid” so she could get extended time on her ACT exam on the provision of a learning disability. 

According to a transcript of their phone conversations, published by the Daily Beast, Singer said this acting “stupid” plan was “the home run of home runs.” When the parent said it felt “weird,” Singer pushed him on. But the parent wasn’t “worried about the moral issue,” he was more concerned about what would happen if his daughter got caught.

Learning disabilities are obviously no joke and they most definitely shouldn’t be a ruse for a privileged, rich kid to get into college. Twitter is upset:

As one person pointed out, working with disability accommodations can be already challenging for many. To make light of that is purely insulting. 

And now there’s fear that going forward, it might negatively affect the people who actually need these accommodations the most.

As one user pointed out, it’s not the only negativity to hit the community this week, and abled people need to do better.

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque