Harvard University launched an investigation into a student’s acceptance into the college following the sale of a Harvard fencing coach’s home to the student’s father for almost double the home’s worth.
According to The Globe, Jie Zhao bought a three-bedroom home in Needham, Massachusetts valued at $549,300 for almost $1 million from Harvard College’s famed fencing coach, Peter Brand. This was in May 2016. Zhao’s son was a prospective student at the time, and now is enrolled at Harvard and on the fencing team. Meanwhile, Zhao never lived in his new Needham home and sold it 17 months later at a $324,500 loss, according to The Boston Globe.
Harvard launched an investigation into what could be another example of college admissions bribery after The Boston Globe broke this news Thursday.
According to Zhao, his purchase was intended to help out a friend and in no way to impact his son’s acceptance at Harvard.
“I want to help Peter Brand because I feel so sorry he has to travel so much to go to fencing practice,” Zhao said. However, The Boston Globe reports that the coach’s commute was about 12 miles.
“We are committed to ensuring the integrity of our recruitment practices,” said Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane.
The Dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Claudine Gay, wrote in an email to the campus that they do not believe that these allegations are related to the Operation Varsity Blues scheme. “Three days in, there is a lot we still don’t know,” she said in the email according to WaPo.
Gay noted that only one family has so far been involved in these allegations. “I say this not to minimize the concerns that this allegation raises. I take them very seriously,” she wrote, according to The Washington Post. “Instead, I want to ensure that we consider them in the appropriate context.”
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