Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Documents in college admissions scandal case show USC officials marked children of donors ‘VIP’

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The prospective student’s e-mail was gushing but grammatically flawed.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to attend USC and be apart of the Trojan family,” the student wrote in June 2018 to Kirk Brennan, director of admissions at the University of Southern California.

The university had rejected the student but had agreed to reconsider his application. Brennan forwarded the e-mail to Tim Brunold, the dean of admissions, and the two administrators snickered at the student’s lapse.

“Clearly a well-qualified lad,” Brunold quipped.

“Apart from his English, yeah,” Brennan responded. “Good enough to shag balls for the tennis team anyway.”

“Heh, heh, you said balls,” Brunold replied, prompting Brennan to recall “Beavis and Butt-head,” a cartoon about two immature teenagers known for their crudeness and love of heavy metal.

The exchange over the apparent tennis prospect, detailed in a defense motion filed in federal court Tuesday in the college admissions scandal, suggests that admissions officers were well aware that some applicants would be judged on more than academic merit, according to lawyers for a parent implicated in the bribery scheme.

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