Weapon of Joyce

By James Joyce

COLUMN: Authority Figures Must Learn from the Harvard Fencing Scandal

We were so close, guys. USC. Stanford. Hell, even Yale – as if last weekend’s bashing from the batter’s box wasn’t enough. In the midst of the largest admissions bribery firestorm in collegiate history, it seemed like Harvard would emerge from the ashes scot-free, our sole offense being that one of the paid test-takers at the center of the scandal was a Harvard alum. But alas, our innocence was fleeting. Just as the Crimson was ready to saunter away from the quagmire that is Operation Varsity Blues, we were hit with an admissions scandal on our own front piste.

Now, nothing is definitive, and Harvard’s independent review into the allegations is still ongoing – but here’s what we know. In 2016, Crimson fencing coach Peter Brand’s Needham, Mass. home was bought by businessman Jie Zhao for almost $1 million, about $400 thousand over its market value. Zhao’s son, a fencer, was subsequently accepted to Harvard’s Class of 2021, where he proceeded to join the Crimson fencing team. Zhao then sold his newly-acquired home at about a $325K loss, having never lived in it himself.

Read more »
1-1 of 1