BYH: To the city of Greenville. You spend dollars promoting uptown Greenville to draw many in. Now you want to drive...

Bribery 101


Jim Mullen


Sunday, March 24, 2019

I'm writing this in the air, flying home in a Boeing Max 8. They just announced the plane would be taken out of service as soon as we land. I'm not really worried that the plane has some hidden technical defect. I'm worried that the pilot's parents might have been rich enough to bribe his way in to flight school.

For years, we've been hearing how difficult and stressful it is for even the best high school students to get in to a good college, even with outstanding SAT scores, a slew of extracurricular activities and charity work.

Turns out, all they need are rich parents to help cheat their way onto the campus of their choice.

Who cares if a kid isn't smart enough to get a BA without Daddy's money — how much harm could that cause? It's not like you're going to let someone with a liberal arts degree fix your faucet or change a light fixture without adult supervision.

But what if Little Miss Trust Fund wants to be a doctor? Can her family bribe her way in to medical school? Normally, you would think that's not possible. But how do you know? Allegedly, this college bribery scandal lasted 10 years and only 50 people were indicted. How do we know there aren't other academic bribery schemes out there?

I'm pretty sure my financial adviser bribed someone to get in to high school. Luckily for him, you don't need a college degree to manage people's money. You can just hang out a shingle.

What if you were wealthy beyond belief and you spent a fortune bribing your child in to an elite university, and he came out with a psychology or political science degree? Could you sue to get your bribe money back? Don't ask my lawyer. He comes from a wealthy family. He thinks the LSAT is something that orbits the Earth every three hours.

The strangest thing about this bribery case is that no one seems to blame the students. Why not? The students know they didn't get 1600 on their SATs. They know whether they can play tennis. First, these kids were being enabled by wealthy parents. Now they're being enabled by law enforcement and the press: "Gee, they're just kids." Just kids getting spots other "just kids" worked hard for and deserved.

The most puzzling question of all is why would you want to go to an Ivy League college if you're not smart enough to pass a DNA test without cheating? Most people go to college so they can get a job in a field that interests them. If your parents paid $500,000 to get you in to college, you don't have to work for a living.

I'm guessing the main reason these kids wanted to go to college is to meet boys and girls of the same social class who they can bring home to meet Mom and Dad. Will the kids who deserve to be at the school — the ones who worked hard and studied and made sacrifices — fall for that? I think that's a stretch. Especially the ones who have wealthy parents and still worked hard to get in to the college of their choice.

It might have been better if the wealthy parents had sent their children to a military recruiter instead of some sleazy "facilitator." No bribes necessary. And the kids can still go to college after they grow up.

Jim Mullen is the author of It Takes a Village Idiot: A Memoir of Life After the City. His column, The Village Idiot, takes a look at the curiosities of American life.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


August 18, 2019

I am quitting TV journalism. From now on, I'm getting my news from the papers. I have been thinking about it for a long time, but I finally decided when a friend of mine told me his story:

I was watching Nicole Wallace one afternoon as she preached about the imminent collapse of democracy as we…


August 16, 2019


Jazz fundraiser

The Churches Outreach Network will present an Evening of Jazz fundraiser from 6:30-9 p.m. today at Yankee Hall Plantation, 3332 Yankee Hall Road. The event, which will celebrate 11 years of service by CON, will include a three-course meal and a live jazz ensemble. Tickets are…


August 14, 2019

Q: I decided to try to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Standing in front of the olive oil section I couldn’t figure out what to buy. Can you help? KP, Farmville

A: You share the same dilemma with many of us. On a recent trip to Boston I went into a great market that had an entire…


August 11, 2019

Before she graduated from high school, Ghita Harris worked as a medical research assistant in the ECU School of Medicine, an opportunity that would have seemed to have put her on the fast track to becoming a physician. But more than two decades later, her journey has just begun.

The Greenville…


August 11, 2019

Over 50 years ago, I had a Swedish girlfriend.

It never turned into anything long-term. But the fact that I met the Swedish girl before I met the girl I ended up marrying clearly introduced several complications into both relationships. And it has produced a tale that my wife Ruthie has never tired…


August 10, 2019


Relay fundraiser

Relay for Life Pitt County will host its annual Purple Ribbon Charity Dinner and Silent Auction from 7-11 p.m. today at The Cotton Barn, 942 Laurie Ellis Road, Winterville. The theme is “Eat, Drink, and be Charitable.” Tickets are $50 each or $75 per couple. Visit…

August 09, 2019


Play festival

Magnolia Arts Center, 1703 E. 14th St., will host the annual 10-minute Play Festival performance at 7:30 p.m. today. Tickets are $10. Visit magnoliaartscenter.com.

Music in the Park

Grimesland’s monthly Music in the Park series continues at 6:30 p.m. today at Grimesland…

August 09, 2019

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

*BRIAN BANKS — The inspirational true story of Brian Banks (Aldis Hodge), an All-American high school football star committed to USC who finds his life upended when he is wrongly convicted of a crime he…

August 07, 2019

In the South, we have a connection to the land and its people. We root ourselves in the soil, nourish ourselves with the fruits and vegetables that grow and use products created from natural elements sold by seasoned craftsman and farmers.

All of these wonderful treasures can be found at a farmers…


August 07, 2019

Q: My doctor told me to use spices and herbs instead of salt in my food. I looked at the spice section of the store and really didn’t know what to choose. What is your favorite one? FG, Greenville

A: That’s a simple question for me to answer — it is dill. A jar sits on our dining…

127 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 13
        Next Page»   Last Page»