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Rep. Donna Shalala Statement on College Admissions Scam: Rotten Apples or Rotten Barrel?

Washington, March 13, 2019 | (2022253931)
Tags: Education

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Donna Shalala (FL-27), former President of Hunter College, the University of Miami, and Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, issued the following statement in response to a major college admissions scandal that led to coaches, college advisers and wealthy parents to be prosecuted for fraud and bribery:

“Today, the House Committee on Education and Labor examines some of the barriers to access to higher education for poor and middle class students. However, the backdrop has changed given yesterday’s shameful reports of indictments regarding admissions to elite universities. Greed and naked ambition has stained the reputation of higher education.

While the recent indictments have made it clear that a few bad actors are both in and out of some of our finest institutions, in the end the questions of systemic flaws in admissions must be examined. 

After more than 30 years as a university president or chancellor in three exceptional institutions, I know exactly how the leadership of the institutions affected feel this morning. Over the years, I have had to deal with my share of scandals and have taken personal responsibility for the unacceptable behavior of my employees and the institutions I led.

Higher education receives substantial resources from the federal government. Therefore, we in Congress have a responsibility to examine at the very least the admissions process, structure and culture. It is irrelevant whether the bad actors were parents, coaches or staff. This is about the fundamental integrity of higher education. 

I have asked my colleague Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, to consider a hearing to shed light on the admissions procedures of selected higher education institutions.

The American people deserve transparency to determine whether these are a few bad apples or if the barrel is rotten.”