That College Cheating Scandal and My New Novel ‘Around Harvard Square’

Yale Peabody Museum
Yale Peabody Museum

I saw all over the news today that an FBI sting codenamed “Varsity Blues” resulted in a slew of Hollywood actors, CEOs and others being charged in a multimillion dollar college entrance scheme. According to the various reports I read, wealthy parents allegedly paid off coaches and administrators to identify their kids as athletes and bribed others to take tests, all as part of a plot to get their children into places like Yale and Stanford.

John Bonavolonta, FBI special agent in charge, was quoted by NBC News as saying “We believe everyone charged here today had a role in fostering a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for students trying to get into these schools the right way through hard work, good grades and community service.”

My novel “Around Harvard Square” is about many of the same things–the cutthroat competition to get into top colleges, suspicious admissions practices, corrupt rich folks pulling strings to give their kids unfair advantages when they apply to elite schools. As one character says near the end of my novel “But admissions people know that the worst students elite college admit are the legacies, children of millionaires and billionaires.”

I don’t think truth is stranger than fiction, but it certainly is weird when the two collide.

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