The University of California has announced a number of policy changes to strengthen its admission process months after some of its enrolled students from wealthy families were found to have gained admission fraudulently.
UC President Janet Napolitano announced the changes on Thursday after its Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services (ECAS), recently completed a system-wide audit of admissions following the national college admissions scandal that was uncovered by the U.S. Department of Justice in March.
The university has decided to implement all the recommendations made by the ECAS which includes ensuring a sufficient, clear documentation trail for admissions evaluations that support an admission decision, improved verification protocols to identify falsified application information, and improving mechanisms in place to monitor student-athletes’ participation in athletic programs.
“We take our zero-tolerance policy extremely seriously — even one instance of admissions fraud is one too many,” President Napolitano said.“We will implement the strongest tools and procedures to identify and prevent fraud in our admissions practice. We will stay proactive, transparent and accountable as we look to build an even better UC for the future.”
The university will also add mechanisms to identify and manage potential conflicts of interest in admissions and improve its IT system access controls to ensure access is granted only when required for specific job responsibilities. The staff will be appropriately trained to follow the new protocols.
The scandal involved nearly 50 people who were changed by a federal court in Boston for allegedly paying bribes to get their children accepted into top higher education institutions. Among those charged included famous Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin.
Last week, a federal court sentenced Stanford University women’s sailing team coach John Vandemoer to one day in jail, six months of home confinement, two years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine for his involvement in the scheme.
The U.S. Department of Education is currently investigating eight colleges, including the University of California, to examine if any federal laws or rules were violated.