College admission scandal 'almost predictable,' says UVU President Astrid Tuminez

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  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    March 30, 2019 12:56 a.m.


    Not sure who they should return the money to? Should USC give it back to Lori Loughlin? It is indeed a perplexing question. I would suggest a charity vs. returning the money back to the criminals. I don't think drug dealers get back the drugs and cash when the whole scheme goes belly up.

  • Xian Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
    March 26, 2019 11:30 a.m.

    You will notice that most if not all the universities have not returned much if any of the money they gained from the rich parents. That speaks loudly about the character of these universities. Tainted money is okay with them.

  • Mrs. Breckenridge American Fork, UT
    March 23, 2019 1:48 p.m.

    More university presidents ought to follow Astrid Tuminez. In a few short months at the helm of UVU she is modeling abundance and access instead of elitism and exclusion. Society will be better off in the long run if it follows, at the higher ed level, an administrative approach like Astrid's instead of the alternative which all too often encourages bad behavior in parents who would otherwise probably not commit fraud to get their kids into college but do so anyway, in spite of the very real risks to themselves (i.e. fines, loss of reputation, maybe prison terms). Higher Ed should be modeling the kind of behavior we want in society, not providing incentives for bad behavior that only breaks down society, creates more division and destroys trust in our institutions.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    March 22, 2019 12:43 p.m.

    @2 bits.
    Uh...yeah. Even in Michigan there are a few people who care about and want to attend BYU. Actually the majority of BYU students come from outside of Utah. And the majority leave Utah upon graduation. Not that BYU students don’t like Utah. But, there is a big world with lots of opportunity outside Utah.

    As for assuming there is a problem at BYU, I am making no such assumption. But upon reading the article, it appears a professional educator like Tuminez would assume there is the potential for a problem at schools like BYU Provo. I’m just agreeing with what Tuminez seems to be saying.

    As for Title IX, as you note, it deals with unlawful discrimination based on gender.

    But, I hope BYU is also concerned with any improper discrimination, whether unlawful or not, whether based on gender or not.

    Oh, and I should note there is proper discrimination in order to obtain a geographically diverse student body. BYU may not call it discrimination, but it is, and there is nothing improper or illegal or unethical about that kind of discrimination.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 22, 2019 10:13 a.m.

    @Vermonter - Plymouth, MI
    RE: "Ok. I’ll grant you the rumor stuff is not a great basis for a discussion. (But, when the rumors get so prevalent, there is something there)"...
    Do you get a lot of rumors about the Admissions Dept at BYU in MI? Wow.

    I haven't heard the "rumors". Share what they are saying in more detail than, "somebody said something something"...

    And are the rumors so prevalent there as to force you to "Assume" something is wrong?

    Legal Disclosure states they are In compliance with applicable state and federal nondiscrimination laws (e.g., Title VI, Title IX, and Section 504).

    Also states
    "Complaints/rumors about unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct) may be referred to BYU’s Title IX coordinator. Questions or complaints about unlawful discrimination on any other basis listed above may be referred to BYU’s equal opportunity manager. Complaints of unlawful discrimination may also be referred to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights"...
    The people spreading rumors should probably submit them to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office, not to you.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2019 8:51 a.m.

    Pres. Astrid Tuminez is close. The scandal was absolutely predictable. Some universities create a climate of elitism and there are parents willing to use unethical means of achieving those metrics. The parents and promoters involved should be held legally accountable, but the universities should be help morally accountable.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    March 22, 2019 7:07 a.m.

    @2 Bits.
    Thanks for your comments.

    Ok. I’ll grant you the rumor stuff is not a great basis for a discussion. (But, when the rumors get so prevalent, there is something there)

    But, I was talking about the potential for a ethical concerns at the Y Admissions Office. And BYU Provo perfectly fits the situation described by Tuminez—low acceptance rate, and students and their families feeling gain admission.

    Then, anyone who has been involved in audits knows there are audits and then there are audits. Let’s hope BYU has real audits of the Admissions Office with probing questions and real consequences, not merely a quick flip through the documents.

    As you say, “I got admitted and I didn’t know anybody.” I suppose on one level that proves there are no problems at the Y. Here’s hoping BYU Administrators don’t fall for that trap.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    March 22, 2019 12:47 a.m.

    i doubt anyone was surprised when this story broke.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    March 21, 2019 11:15 p.m.

    The real scandal is affirmative action admissions policies that make being a white, male American citizen a liability when it comes to admissions.

    Every college wants to say they have students from 78 different countries...and are willing to reject Joe down the street to achieve that goal, even if Hoe has a bettere academic record than some who were admitted,

    The academy has fancy terms for it. "Underserved populations." "Diversity admissions." "White privilege."

    In the end, its really just punishing performance.

  • shadowfx , 00
    March 21, 2019 6:37 p.m.

    If I remember, before you can EVEN register to at any BYU campus, a member of your bishopric must endorse your application, other's I am not sure.
    If a scandal was found, imagine with the esclassical leaders who endorsed the applications after the parents or theirselves called in a favor

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    March 21, 2019 5:57 p.m.

    2 bits - Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Did anybody notice that sports were almost always used to get their kids into school? Fake athletic abilities.

    Athletics has nothing to do with college aptitude. It should not be used to get people into college. Colleges are for education, not for sports.

    One of the most significant avenues of 'donations' to a college, especially the name brand ivy league collages/universities, is via the alumni and their support of the school's athletic programs.

    This sets up a vicious cycle of getting athletes that can keep the various sports 'in the news', and thus, requires that the athletic ability take priority over more academic capabilities. Ask yourself, how many millions of dollars are donated to schools for their 'debate' team wins at the national level? Where 'debate' is arguably... a academic based endeavor.

    There may be a few 'science' awards, and of course a couple of schools such as MIT, and on the West Cal Tech, which have massive support for their science programs, but for the most part it is athletics and the vicarious association with 'greatness' that the major alumni donors feel, which produce the desired result.

  • BlueMoonOden Hinckley, IL
    March 21, 2019 4:05 p.m.

    I had an ancestor in the 1930s who had a not so bright son. However being from a family in the elite upper class she bought his way into Princeton. This was once a very common and open practice in the eastern schools. It you went to a certain prep school; you're in. If you came from a certain family or a family that is willing to donate a building or something; you're in. It is all about money. Nowadays it is hush hush but still common. The fact that celebrity's were involved is what is making this story.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    March 21, 2019 3:46 p.m.

    As despicable as this is, this is just an illegal form of an admissions process that has taken place from the beginning of time (see Jared Kushner). We had our kids in a private school for a short time and from elementary age there was already a lot of discussion about how best to make donations, to which schools, proper amounts, proper timing, etc. I was blown away that people were so worried about this at such an early age and that there was so much strategy behind the donation process to maximize the effect and secure admissions. On one hand it's just the free market at work but on the other it seems to undermine the whole American way of meritocracy and earning your way.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 21, 2019 3:44 p.m.

    @Vermonter - 3:10
    RE: "There are rumors flying around about knowing someone who knows someone in the admissions office who said this thing or that thing is the key to getting accepted in Provo"...
    You're seriously basing your opinion on "Rumors"? On Rumors you claim are floating around? Since when do we do that?

    Anything we can use to confirm your rumor?

    I don't know how their admissions process works, but I bet it's not based on who you know at the Admissions Office. I got admitted, and I didn't know anybody.


    RE: "The need for independent audits of the Provo admissions office. Hope they are happening"...
    Of course they are happening

    Google "Legal Disclosures and Institutional Policies | BYU Enrollment"...
    "In compliance with applicable state and federal nondiscrimination laws (e.g., Title VI, Title IX, and Section 504), BYU does not unlawfully discriminate against applicants for admission based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status"...

    BYU has a Title IX coordinator. Anyone can register concerns and they are required to investigate.

    They are audited. Biannually.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 21, 2019 3:21 p.m.

    Did anybody notice that sports were almost always used to get their kids into school? Fake athletic abilities.

    Athletics has nothing to do with college aptitude. It should not be used to get people into college. Colleges are for education, not for sports.

    Maybe we should stop recruiting people to college for their athletic abilities? It has no correlation to their ability to learn or succeed in college. Use things that indicate this person would benefit from a college education as your admissions criteria, not their sports abilities. Especially schools like these people were trying to get into (Harvard, Stanford, etc)

    The only things that should be considered in deciding who to admit to these prestigious colleges is... their ability to learn. Not sports. Not money. Not Influence. Not famous names.

    Service should be the cherry on top. But it should not be the main reason your are accepted, or rejected.

    Race should also not be considered. To quality you above somebody else, or to disqualify you.

    Race should not even be allowed on a college application. As asking a candidate's race to disqualify or qualify them in a job search would not be legal.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 21, 2019 3:13 p.m.

    Think CEOs and Celebrities haven't been paying to help their kids get an advantage for a long time? Like forever?

    This isn't new. These ones just got caught. But I'll bet most celebrities don't mind using their celebrity or their money to get their kids an advantage.

    It's not OK. But it's also not new.


    How do we prevent it?

    We could try new laws. But they already knew it was against the old laws, and they still did it. Why would new laws stop them?

    I think the way to prevent it is Integrity. But how do you teach Integrity to a celebrity. When all they are taught is that their celebrity status should allow them to get away with almost anything (thus the attitude Trump displayed in his celebrity banter with Billy Bush in the bus).

    It's not that he hates women (I think he really really likes them). It's just that he thinks his celebrity status allows him to get away with stuff you and I would never think of trying.

    Celebrities need to learn integrity. But I don't know how to teach them. It's kinda their parent's job, not my job.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    March 21, 2019 3:10 p.m.

    @Boo Boo.
    Appreciate your comments.

    What I see is a significant percentage of active Latter-day Saint parents and students who want to attend BYU Provo but definitely not BYU Idaho. But, they also don’t want to go to other universities.

    I don’t know if I would call it desperation to get accepted at Provo. But, there are rumors flying around about knowing someone who knows someone in the admissions office who said this thing or that thing is the key to getting accepted in Provo.

    So, out of the thousands of applicants to Provo every year, some are looking for that semi-secret advantage or leg-up in the admissions process. Is it entirely inconceivable that their actions might knowingly or unknowingly bleed over to the unethical side?

    My guess is that Astrid Tuminez would not find it inconceivable—even at BYU, and even with active Latter-day Saints who supposedly strive to be honest in all they do.

    Hence, the need for independent audits of the Provo admissions office. Hope they are happening.

  • dogbreath Francis, UT
    March 21, 2019 3:08 p.m.

    I think some sort of 'blind' method of admissions applications needs to be implemented. This can be accomplished. We are not stupid people who don't know how to do it. There are very secure methods that have been invented and designed. And no, do not peg it to a persons name or physical location (zip code comes to mind). And while I'm at it, I think all those kids whose parents have attempted to buy their kids way into college should have everything nullified. Yes I am aware of being innocent until proven guilty but this thing is going to drag on for some time. There are other institutions these kids can go to that 'don't play the game.'

  • geekusprimus Little Elm, TX
    March 21, 2019 2:59 p.m.


    As much as people whine about admissions at BYU, the actual acceptance rate has hovered around 50% for the last decade or so, which is about on par with a lot of flagship public universities and noticeably higher than some of the more competitive ones, such as UT or Michigan. I think having schools like BYU-Idaho and UVU has lessened a lot of the admissions burden at BYU (which, due to a combination of factors, attract many of the same students who might like to attend BYU), and I don't think we're anywhere near the level of competitiveness required to witness systematic cheating in the admissions system.

  • BooBoo Orem, UT
    March 21, 2019 12:42 p.m.

    Maybe I don't have the whole picture, but I really do think there are plenty of influential LDS parents who can attest to the fact that trying to buy or wheedle their kids' way into BYU-Provo simply doesn't work. I know too many students with the "right" connections, perfect seminary attendance, the best surnames, powerful parents, and a strong desire to attend BYU who didn't get accepted. And I don't think their places were taken by underperforming children of celebrities who bought off the admissions officers.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    March 21, 2019 11:24 a.m.

    No. UVU doesn’t have a problem with this. But, across town, BYU’s Provo Campus has gotten very difficult to get into. Among the thousands and tens of thousands that apply every year, might some be tempted to apply unethical leverage to be admitted? The answer is obviously yes per President Tuminez.

    So, here is hoping that the BYU Administration and specifically the Admissions Office is not simply employing the most ethical people and hoping for the best. Let’s hope they have rigorous and frequent independent audits, before BYU becomes engulfed in what could be the worst scandal ever to hit the Provo Campus.