Bribery Scandal (Letter)

Mathieu Deflem
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This is a copy of a letter published in The Post and Courier, March 25, 2019.
Also online from the newspaper.

Please cite as: Deflem, Mathieu. 2019. "Bribery Scandal." Letter to the Editor. The Post and Courier, March 25, 2019, p. A10.

Although spectacular, the bribery scandal in college admissions is only one minor issue plaguing higher education today. The pressure to success being so high that the ways to achieve that success are up for grabs applies not only to prospective students, but tragically also to those who take up the higher administration positions in higher education.

The salaries for deans, provosts, and presidents today are unjustifiably astronomical. Merit is trumped by a cheap reliance on identity politics as much as by marketing ploys and deceitful practices to ‘sell’ education to prospective students and their parents.

Some brazen measures guarantee recruiting outcomes that, though legal, are far from the right thing to do. The students of our state who do deserve to venture out to our nation’s most prestigious elite colleges would be poorly served to be prevented from doing so, not because of the prestige but because of the value that comes from such education.

But those many of our many smart and motivated students who take advantage of our own state’s public educational opportunities deserve better than being treated as paying customers by those who think they can run the show without accountability.

It’s time to take our state colleges and universities back and hold their leaders accountable. Cost may have been a factor when these leaders chose their education, but profit can no longer be allowed to be the reason they occupy their powerful positions. Our higher education is ours, not theirs.

Mathieu Deflem,
Columbia, SC

(This letter was written as an implied response to an op-ed in the same newspaper.) 

See other writings on university and academe.