OSU to review admissions procedures following nationwide scandal

Weatherford Hall

Jaycee Kalama, News Contributor

On March 12, U.S. federal prosecutors in Massachusetts revealed the indictments of 50 people involved in a national college admissions scam, prompting Oregon State University to take a closer look at its own admissions procedures.

Wealthy parents, college coaches, celebrities and college prep executives have been linked to the nationwide fraud to get students into prestigious universities. Parents allegedly paid thousands of dollars to a college prep organization called The Key to better their child’s chances of being admitted to schools like Yale and Stanford. As a result, OSU administrators will be meeting to review admissions procedures, though the school has not been linked to the scandal.

The Key would purportedly arrange for an affiliate to take a college admissions exam on behalf of the children or to correct their answers afterward. The organization also allegedly bribed college coaches to get those students admitted into college as recruited athletes, regardless of their previous experience or abilities.

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The man behind the scam, William Rick Singer, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to money laundering, racketeering, obstruction of justice and tax evasion for his role in the scheme. Singer is the founder and CEO of The Key, a “Private Life Coaching and College Counseling Company,” that was the center of the bribery scam.

The cover photo of Singer’s @thekeyworldwide Twitter page is of OSU’s Weatherford Hall. The use of OSU’s iconic Weatherford Hall on a social media page connected to the large fraudulent company has raised some eyebrows within the Corvallis community.

“These allegations of national misconduct are shocking and very troubling,” said Steve Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing. “No, we do not have any knowledge whatsoever of any affiliation with any OSU individuals and this case.”

According to Clark, Oregon State did not provide Singer or his company permission to use photographic images of OSU-owned buildings. Clark said Weatherford Hall is a frequently photographed and iconic public building, meaning that generic photos of public buildings are able to be used by the public, even against the university’s will.

“Unfortunately, we have not made progress in having the photo removed, and we do not anticipate that we will,” Clark said.

While Oregon State University has no affiliation with Singer, The Key company, or the admissions scam in general, the Weatherford photo on Singer’s page is a topic of concern among OSU administrators.

Clark said Oregon State University, which had an acceptance rate of 78.8% in fall 2017, takes many steps to assure all OSU students, including student-athletes, are admitted without individual misconduct or influence.

“In light of these allegations having been made against a number of U.S. university and college coaches and family members of students, we are planning to review our procedures to assure that the many policies and procedures that we already engage in protect the integrity of OSU’s admission process for all students,” Clark said.

An administrative meeting to review the OSU admissions process will be taking place sometime in the next few weeks, according to Clark.