Piling on the college admissions process is fun. It’s opaque, confusing and often doesn’t seem fair. When we see 50 parents get caught for buying their kids into college, we say “a-ha, I knew it, the system is so rigged I shouldn’t even try.” Don’t get me wrong, I agree that these people are pretty low, but there is a silver lining. These were all incredibly wealthy, connected and influential people, and they had to cheat! They couldn’t buy their kids into Stanford; a few calls from Lori Loughlin didn’t get YouTube star Olivia Jade into USC. These people each had to commit a felony to skip the system, a bold and brazen crime. While it’s tempting to view this as the proverbial smoke of a much larger fire, perhaps it’s just the smoke from the local FBI fire department putting out the smoldering ashes of some incompetent parents.
Nicholas Conant, Minneapolis
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Included in the March 14 editorial “Buying admission to a college of choice” was the suggestion that possible motivation for wealthy parents’ decision to go to such an extreme to get their son or daughter into a prestigious college was to be able to boast about “junior’s acceptance” into a given prestigious college or university “at the next company meeting or neighborhood party.”
Yes, they might want to boast about it at such a gathering or venue, but the primary motivator, in my opinion, is to be able to announce the “acceptance” on social media. That effectively plants the seed for that next company meeting or neighborhood party.
Patrick Bloomfield, Chisholm, Minn.
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The “wink-wink” culture is alive and well at the high school level. Those in administration, coaches, teachers have the ability and power to “pull strings” in whatever direction they choose. There is zero accountability. Parents are afraid to say anything. If you choose to say something, your student will suffer consequences from the school as well as the parents involved. Administration ignores unsigned letters/e-mails. Daring a student or parent to sign your letter/e-mail or to have a face-to-face discussion. It happens in all departments of high schools. It is sad the FBI had to get involved. Most likely a student or parent asked for the FBI to become involved. Students and parents have been silenced by those involved.
Kristine Carlston, Eden Prairie
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Among the many seedy aspects of the scandal placing unqualified, but well-connected, students into elite academic institutions is the sham nonprofit used to funnel cash to school contacts. Doesn’t anyone monitor these groups? Not only are these cheats circumventing what should be a merit-based admissions process, but they write off these “contributions” as tax-deductible, thus the gullible taxpayers are subsidizing this racket. Meanwhile, legitimate charities and donors suffer more fallout from a public increasingly skeptical of what is a real charity and what is a scam. As if the wealthy don’t have enough advantage, they also cheat in the one place, access to higher education, that should provide equal opportunity for all. Americans who play by the rules ought to be disgusted, and I, for one, will be watching and expect prison time for these elite criminals, not merely a fine or slap on the wrist.
Ed Murphy, Minneapolis
The writer is a semiretired executive director of Minneapolis nonprofits serving the homeless and hungry.
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Regarding the college fraud cases, I have a plea: Employers, take note of a job candidate’s volunteerism, creativity, risk-taking, grit, work experience, agility, confidence level, personality, fit for the company culture and so on. It takes the “employer” to change the perception that only candidates from Ivy League schools have what it takes to succeed.
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
RACE AND REPARATIONS
Those who were not involved in the offense still benefit from it
The March 14 letter writer who (responding to David Brooks’ March 12 commentary) criticizes the idea of reparations has completely missed the point. Of course the letter writer was not involved in the offense, as he argues, as the beneficiaries were not the original victims. But, there is no question that in general the descendants of the perpetrators continue to have advantages, and that the descendants of the victims continue to suffer disadvantages. Volumes of history and a string of civil-rights laws and court decisions address this in great detail. If the writer himself doubts this, he should consider the core concept of the legal philosopher John Rawls, who challenged us to devise a system of justice based upon the hypothetical situation of being able to choose whom to be born as when you review the relative situations of all populations. Maybe a white male in the U.S.? So, how would you devise a system of justice in considering this?
Robert Lyman, Minneapolis
ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
Shame, shame for printing letter from proponent of ‘one state’
A March 14 letter writer reportedly returns from “Palestine,” freshly indoctrinated there in all the usual canards against Israel, such as that it practices apartheid against its Arab citizens, and the Star Tribune letters editor readily hands him the megaphone to broadcast his multiple lies here. For shame. First of all, thanks to Palestinian Arabs’ constant rejectionist stance against the Jewish state, there is still no state of Palestine, because you don’t get your own country when you’ve proven you’re only going to use it to wage war against your neighbors. The writer knows darn well that the one-state solution would be demographic suicide for Jewish Israelis, who would quickly be outnumbered by the rest. And demilitarization? As the old saying goes, if the Arabs laid down their arms, there would be instantaneous peace. If Israelis laid down their arms, there would be no more Israel. By giving voice to disinformed readers like this, the letters editor betrays a disturbing and corrupt bias. Again, for shame.
Brad Johnson, Minneapolis
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I would like to thank the March 14 letter writer for the frank admission that the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state and the rendering of all its Jewish residents defenseless is the true goal of “Palestinian liberation.” Now we know that what he and his want is open season on Jews.
Rich Furman, St. Paul
‘Reinsurance’ pits Minnesotans in need against one another
It is unnecessary and unfair for state Republicans to pit Minnesotans needing help paying for health care against one another (“Senate OKs state premium program,” March 12). Their reinsurance plan that helps people in the individual market got its money from the Health Care Access Fund, thus hurting medical assistance recipients, essentially asking one group to compete with another for health coverage while lining the pockets of the HMOs without much accountability. There is no need to continue this harm.
Sheri Smith, St. Paul
Lights on for safety
I can’t believe how many drivers have not had their headlights on during recent foggy conditions, especially white and gray vehicles. I also can’t believe how many commercial vehicles have been driving without their headlights on.
Brian Warhol, Plymouth
Feeling badly, bigly
Would someone please inform the president that he doesn’t feel badly about something, he feels bad about it, unless he is referring to touching and feeling a surface. Does he feel goodly? Are there no grammarians in the White House or are they too afraid to correct him?
Kathryn Burow, Minneapolis