Operation Varsity Blues, the federal investigation into wealthy people gaming the system by getting their children into prestigious colleges through bribes and falsified test scores, has sparked a lot of jokes and scuttlebutt given the famous names involved in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
Lori Loughlin and her daughter, Olivia Jade, are perhaps the largest names involved in a scandal that saw Olivia Jade get into USC as a student athlete — a rower, to be specific — despite not actually being on the team or having any experience on boats beyond her stay on a USC board of trustee member’s yacht when her mom was raided by the feds. There’s irony and schadenfreude all over the place here, if you are looking for it, but at least one joke was not taken well by the masses.
That would be from Dr. Dre’s Instagram account. Dre, of the Beats and film adaptations of his music career, decided to brag about his daughter, Truly, getting accepted into USC by taking a shot at the parents who decided they had to bribe their way in by committing federal crimes.
“My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!” Dr. Dre wrote in an Instagram post you can see below.
But as many pointed out, the “all on her own” could certainly be questioned. Because let’s go back to what FBI agents said back when Operation Varsity Blues news broke a fortnight ago.
“We’re not talking about donating a building so your son or daughter is more likely to get accepted. We’re talking about deception and fraud. Fake test scores, fake athletic credentials, fake photographs. Bribed college officials.”
That first part about “donating a building” to get your child preferential treatment by admissions offices? That’s a fairly common practice at universities large and small. And that’s exactly what appears to have happened at USC with Dr. Dre and his family. Six years before the weekend Instagram post, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine gave $70 million to USC to build a music “academy” on campus.
In other words, Dre won’t get jail time because he helped his daughter get into USC the old fashioned way: getting the family name on a building on campus.
The duo’s gift will establish the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, an environment for those rare undergraduate students whose interests span fields such as marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts. The program will prepare them to become a new generation of inspired innovators.
The goal of the academy is to shape the future by nurturing the talents, passions, leadership and risk-taking of uniquely qualified students who challenge conventional views of art and industry. The academy will attract students who are motivated to explore and create new art forms, technologies and business models — and who will benefit from a stimulating environment that fosters exploration and discovery beyond traditional educational and disciplinary boundaries.
“The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media,” USC president C. L. Max Nikias said in a university statement celebrating the gift. “USC provides an extraordinarily rich academic, research and artistic environment. We are committed to encouraging our students to use their intellectual and creative resources to effect change in all segments of society. Our goal is to ensure that the academy is the most collaborative educational program in the world.”
As criticism of the hypocritical post grew over the weekend, Dr. Dre did what any proud father would do: He deleted the Instagram image celebrating Truly’s admission into USC.