Montclair State University’s Reaction to the National Admissions Scandal

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Published April 17, 2019
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The Montclarion
A student at Montclair State launches the application portal where students can apply. Emma Richter | The Montclarion

Students and staff at Montclair State University know the obstacles one must face to even step foot into a university as a member of the community, so when it comes to the most recent college admissions and bribery scandal taking place in the country, university students and administration had something to say about it.

Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life at Montclair State Karen Pennington weighed in on the scandal as it relates to the campus. Pennington feels confident there is no possibility of a scandal like this occurring at Montclair State.

“It wouldn’t happen,” Pennington said. “We have had many parents try to entice staff to let students in, but [Montclair State staff] holds firm to our standards.”

Some faculty at Montclair State believe that universities nationwide should take action to prevent these types of incidents from occurring in the future.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Grant added a prestigious viewpoint to the scandal and how it affects the Red Hawk community. He shared what he thinks the next course of action should be for those convicted as well as for universities across the country.

“The justice system will decide the next steps for those implicated in the scandal,” Grant said. “For other universities that were not involved, I think it is critical that they stay true to their mission — in our case, that’s providing broad access to quality higher education — and ensure that their admissions practices are rigorous, fair and of the highest integrity.”

There are at least 50 people who were accused of taking part in illegally getting their kids into universities like Yale University and the University of Southern California (USC).

A lot of uproar across the country has ensued, especially on college campuses, such as Montclair State. Besides the bribery for academics, athletics also played a role in the scandal, as celebrities bribed coaches to have their kids on the university teams.

Institutions, such as USC, took bribes from actress Lori Loughlin, better known as Aunt Becky from the television series “Full House.” Loughlin and her husband agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters listed on the USC rowing team, with no prior experience in rowing.

Montclair State’s interim Athletic Director Robert Chesney gave his opinion on the sports aspect of the scandal.

“[The sports bribery is] certainly going to have an effect on athletic programs that were involved,” Chesney said. “It’s a shame that some coaches choose to abuse their power at the expense of the university.”

Since the reports of cheating in sports, coaches involved have been suspended from their positions at universities like Stanford University, Georgetown University and USC.

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Montclair State writing professor Shil Sen poses on his way to his office in Dickson Hall. Emma Richter | The Montclarion

Shil Sen, an instructional specialist in Montclair State’s writing department, added a professorial view. Sen described his initial reactions to the 2019 college admissions and bribery scandal.

“The vast majority of things around [the scandal] I’m not actually surprised about, because I’ve known for a long time how severely messed up U.S. academia is,” Sen said.

Sen’s viewpoint toward the scandal was noted early on, as he mentioned his knowledge on past scandals that were brought on by the hole in the country’s education system.

“The problem is the fact that the rules are already broken,” Sen said. “The rules are already set up in a way which absolutely and completely unfairly disadvantages the [poor].”

Freshman journalism major Alexis Giunta takes this scandal personally as a first-year student at Montclair State. She gave her opinion on students like Loughlin’s daughter getting into universities due to bribery.

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Alexia Giunta sits in the lobby of Stone Hall on a Friday afternoon. Emma Richter | The Montclarion

“I think, in the long run, it does [affect me personally], because if I’m going to be in a professional setting, and there are people around me that got degrees and went to great schools but they don’t have the smarts to do their jobs, then I’m going to be working with that,” Giunta said.

Guinta made a strong point, focusing on the fact of how unfair the application process is from one student to the next, based on the amount of money they possess, or in this case, the amount of money their parents have.

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