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Cal is now tied to the scandal of fraudulent college admissions

Nothing concrete yet, but there’s some smoke...

Australia v Ireland - 3rd Test Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Earlier this week, news broke of an investigation into wealthy families (including actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman) bribing test administrators and college athletics coaches to grant admission to their underqualified children; Stanfurd, UC L.A., and USC were among the schools involved.

The media circus has now roped in UC Berkeley.

Initially, the story was just that David Sidoo (“a Canadian businessman, philanthropist, and former professional football player”) had paid $200,000 for someone to impersonate his two sons during the SATs, with his younger son ultimately ending up at Cal. At this point, there was no reason to hold Cal accountable as no university is responsible for vetting and verifying that all of their admitted students were the ones who truly took the tests.

But then it got interesting.

ABC News discovered that Jordan Sidoo (aforementioned younger son) is listed as a member of our 2015 Men’s Rowing team. His biography is basically empty and he’s absent from the 2016 roster.

Sidoo’s Cal bio

According to ABC News, creeping on Jordan’s LinkedIn shows that he graduated from Cal “with a B.A. in history last year”.

In response, University of California President Janet Napolitano released this statement:

I was deeply troubled and disappointed to learn of the charges filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against several dozen individuals accused of cheating and accepting bribes to gain students’ unlawful admission to top universities, including the University of California.

The allegations associated with UC, if proven true, are a disservice to the hardworking and accomplished students and alumni who have earned their place at the university and continue to make us proud.

Illegal, inappropriate and unethical means to gain admission, at the expense of deserving applicants, is antithetical to every aspect of our mission and values. As a public institution—one of the most highly regarded in the world—we are dedicated to ensuring a level playing field for every applicant.

We will take swift and appropriate disciplinary actions to address misconduct once we have all the facts. In the meantime, we:

* Are investigating any individual affiliated with UC who has been implicated thus far;

* Initiated a critical review of our admissions policies to look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities;

* Reached out to The College Board to learn more about its assessment of recent developments and any potential changes regarding the administration of SAT and ACT tests to ensure the integrity of students’ scores;

* Requested the latest available information from the U.S. Attorney offices in California to guide our future proactive action; and

* Are collaborating with local and federal authorities in this matter to unearth the full breadth and scope of this problem.

It is unfortunate that the unethical behavior of a few individuals colors UC’s unwavering commitment to fairness and equity. The university will seize this moment as a valuable opportunity to improve its policies and practices, while continuing to be transparent, accountable and expeditious, as this is our fundamental obligation to our students—prospective, current and alumni—as well as the public. We will uncover the full truth and make things right.