The University of California's Response to the Varsity Blues Scandal

On the one hand I think … will it ever go away? I’m sure like many people, I’m getting a bit bored of the college admissions scandal that erupted last March. After all, there are corrupt characters and shady deals in every walk of life. Yet, in my line of work, the scandal is like a virus that has left a lingering cough. It simply will not go away.

On the other hand, I think that we must continue this discussion to ensure that the loop holes are closed and the areas for abuse are shut down. Like I’ve said before, the guilty parties should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and be made examples of to everyone. Crime should not pay.

On that note, I’ve copied below select portions of the University of California’s outline of measures it plans to take in response to the scandal. The full response (with details) should be available after the end of this month, so please stay tuned …

Based on the ECAS audit findings, UC is undertaking the following comprehensive steps to strengthen our policies and procedures, and prevent bad actors from taking advantage of the system in the future:

● Clearer documentation ○ Ensuring a clear documentation trail for admissions evaluations that support an admission decision ○ Ensuring that there is sufficient documentation, approval and rationale for ancillary admissions processes and admission decisions on the basis of athletics or special talent ○ Implementing the monitoring of donations to prevent admissions decisions from being made on the basis of expected financial gain to the university (emphasis mine).

● Improved verification protocols ○ Strengthening existing processes in place to identify falsified application information ○ Enhancing controls to verify special talents and make it more difficult for third parties to influence admission decisions based on special talent ○ Improving mechanisms in place to monitor student-athletes’ participation in athletic programs

● Stronger procedures ○ Adding mechanisms to identify and manage potential conflicts of interest in admissions and existing relationships that may give the appearance of inappropriate influence on admissions decisions ○ Improving IT system access controls to ensure access is granted only when required for specific job responsibilities ○ Strengthening the organizational independence of the athletics compliance offices by modifying the reporting structure ○ Ensuring personnel are appropriately trained on these new protocols UC campuses are developing individual plans for implementing the changes outlined above, which will be completed by the end of July 2019. The campus internal audit departments, with oversight from ECAS, will then track these plans over the next several months, helping to ensure the changes are implemented in a timely manner. As we look ahead to the second audit, we will remain transparent and accountable in our findings, and keep the public, the UC community and others apprised of our steadfast efforts in this matter. By proactively identifying and addressing the processes that can be improved by this audit, we will ensure our best efforts in preventing these types of illegal activities in the future