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Legislators Have Plan to Combat 'Varsity Blues' UC Admissions Fraud Scandal
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 years ago on
December 18, 2020

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In the wake of the “Varsity Blues” admissions scandals and a scathing state auditor report on the University of California process, two assemblymembers are calling for more transparency.

Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) plans to introduce a bill that would requiring “a fair and impartial admission process” and training for admission reviewers.

Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) will introduce a bill to build a “firewall” between admissions staff and a university’s fundraising arm. The bill would also require verification of an athlete’s sporting ability if recruited to play for the school.

Motivated by Auditor Report, Varsity Blues Scandal

“We must create admissions practices that allow every hardworking, deserving California student a fair shot at earning a seat at the table.”Assemblyman Kevin McCarty

A state auditor report — called for by Boerner Horvath —  found that the UC system “inappropriately admitted 64 wealthy and well-connected students as favors to donors, family, and friends and denied more qualified applicants educational opportunities.”

The Varsity Blues scandal saw 55 people charged with bribery and fraud to secure admission to some of the nation’s elite colleges. Some of the fraud included faking credentials of student-athletes to secure admissions.

Actress Lori Loughlin was one of those who was charged and eventually served jail time for actions she took on behalf of her daughter.

Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath

“What this audit revealed was underlying, systemic problems that have created a sometimes capricious admissions process” Boerner Horvath said in a news release. “This isn’t only about the wealthy and well-connected influencing admissions decisions, it’s about students being denied equal opportunity to an education simply because they had a different person review their application than another equally qualified student.  It wouldn’t be acceptable at any institution, let alone our taxpayer-supported public university system.”

McCarty said he’s concerned for those who don’t have top connections.

“We must create admissions practices that allow every hardworking, deserving California student a fair shot at earning a seat at the table,” McCarty said. “By preventing pressure from philanthropic donations and a stricter oversight of athletics, we can provide a fair admissions process for all.”

The language for either bill was not yet available. The legislature returns to session on Jan. 11. The return date was pushed back a week on Friday because of COVID-19 concerns.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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