November 19, 2016

The curious admission of Jared Kushner into Harvard

Daniel Golden, Guardian & ProPublica -  I would like to express my gratitude to Jared Kushner for reviving interest in  I have never met or spoken with him, and it’s rare in this life to find such a selfless benefactor. Of course, I doubt he became Donald Trump’s son-in-law and consigliere merely to boost my lagging sales, but still, I’m thankful.

[My 2006 book, “The Price of Admission.”] exposed a grubby secret of American higher education: that the rich buy their under-achieving children’s way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations. It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. At the time, Harvard accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of twenty.)

I also quoted administrators at Jared’s high school, who described him as a less than stellar student and expressed dismay at Harvard’s decision.

“There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,” a former official at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, told me. “His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.”

Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, said in an email  that “the allegation” that Charles Kushner’s gift to Harvard was related to Jared’s admission “is and always has been false.” His parents, Charles and Seryl Kushner, “are enormously generous and have donated over 100 million dollars to universities, hospitals and other charitable causes. Jared Kushner was an excellent student in high school and graduated from Harvard with honors.” (About 90 percent of Jared’s 2003 class at Harvard also graduated with honors.)

Charles Kushner ... had a criminal record. Five years after Jared entered Harvard, the elder Kushner pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax violations, illegal campaign donations, and retaliating against a witness. (As it happens, the prosecutor in the case was Chris Christie, recently ousted as the head of Trump’s transition team.) Charles Kushner had hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was cooperating with federal authorities. Kushner then had a videotape of the tryst sent to his sister. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

I completed my analysis [of major donors], which justified my hunch. Of the 400-plus tycoons on Harvard’s list — which included people who were childless or too young to have college-age offspring — more than half had sent at least one child to the university.


Anonymous said...

That a marginal student of sufficient wealth entering Harvard is news? Seriously? Or has no one ever heard of George W Bush?
On the other hand, do academic laurels really count for that much in the real world anyway? That is to suggest that there are many students who's intellectual promise for various reasons is not always indicated by grades alone. The myriad examples of genius unrecognized or bypassed by the academy are legend.
Do not understand the point of this post other than it being yet another of the onslaught of negative polemics directed at Trump. Enough already! Is there nowhere left to find rational, unhysterical coverage? The overt bias demonstrated is exhausting.

Anonymous said...

Just another case of "Pay To Play"?


Anonymous said...

i would just like commend the initial a non cow comment, and the overwhelming majority of similar comments at many (so-called) progressive sites where regular folk who are actually progressives give WELL-DESERVED pushback to the writers and publishers for their idiotic views...
i -sadly- include sam smith in that cohort of shepherds who vainly attempted to bully, browbeat, and broadside citizens to vote for the pre-ordained Empress... disgusting groveling, i have deleted the progrev bookmark from my computer, and now deleting my tablet bookmark... no mo clickyclicks, sellouts...
buh bye