Staff Editorial: We Need to Admit the Truth

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Staff Editorial: We Need to Admit the Truth

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The news of kids taking spots away from those who applied fairly comes as no surprise to a population well aware of the fact that the obvious solution, getting the rich to play fair, just isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

To prospective students and their families, it can be easy to feel powerless against the untouchable outcomes of back-room bribes and bottom lines. For those still wishing to send their children to Yale with falsified SATs and photoshopped extracurriculars, the only lesson learned from the intense media exposure is simply to be more careful with their fraud in the future.

But it is not in the hands of parents or students to fix this problem. Rich parents have exploited and will continue to exploit the same exclusivity and prestige that universities strive to increase with every new admissions statistic and U.S. News & World Report ranking.

It falls to Fordham and the rest of American higher learning to change the mindset that made the admissions scandal possible in the first place. This problem with college admittances goes far beyond the few dozen students implicated in this case, and it’s limiting to believe we can stop them completely in the admissions office alone.

Regardless of a university’s individual proximity to the recent events and other admissions scandals, institutions of higher learning should strive to delegitimize the culture of prestigious exclusivity that provides incentives to cheat the system.

It is no secret Fordham is often considered a “safety school” among its New York City neighbors, but the negative connotations surrounding that term obscure the fact that a truly effective system of higher education would be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. If Fordham is a place anyone can attend, no rich snob would dare pay thousands of dollars to cheat the system and send their child here, and we’re all be better for it. Inclusivity is the one thing that the rich can’t cheat at.

The first and most important step in changing the role and value of college education is to make an honest, inclusive and meaningful reinvestment in people — people who are passionate, who have diverse perspectives and who can make Fordham the school we want it to be. Look in the Bronx, Puerto Rico and Nebraska for students that can work for something more than themselves. That’s the real prestige. Not what your parents did, not how much you make, but how passionate you are about living your life for others.

That’s what we’re about, and now is Fordham’s chance to step up and prove it. As “elite” schools across the country are exposed for their superficial allegiance to exclusivity and reputation, Fordham can prove itself an institution dedicated to merit, by awarding the students who are deserving and denying the students who are riding on mom and dad’s paycheck. Here, it’s not about your false scores, your fake grades or your photoshopped athletic photos — it’s about what you bring to the table.