Two California college students have filed a class-action lawsuit against eight elite universities that were caught up in a massive college admissions scam that snared 50 people in a federal indictment.
The suit, filed on Tuesday in a Northern California federal court by students Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods, claims that they both went through the normal admissions process to Stanford University and were "never informed that the process of admission was an unfair, rigged process, in which rich parents could buy their way into the university through bribery."
Also named in the lawsuit as defendants is the University of Southern California, UCLA, University of San Diego, University of Texas, Wake Forest University, Yale University, and Georgetown University.
Olsen states in the lawsuit that she applied to Yale University with a "stellar standardized test score, and a glowing profile that included being a talented athlete and dancer."
"Had she known that the system at Yale University was warped and rigged by fraud, she would not have spent the money to apply to the school," the lawsuit states. "She also did not receive what she paid for — a fair admissions consideration process."
The lawsuit contends that the degrees earned by the students have been damaged by the admissions scandal because they won't be worth "as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having parents who were willing to bribe school officials."
The admissions scandal, known as "Operation Varsity Blues" was announced by federal prosecutors in Boston on Tuesday. The agency indicted 50 people, including wealthy parents, college athletic coaches, administrators, and even well-known Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman. Prosecutors say the scheme by the alleged ringleader, William Rick Singer, was designed to help the children of wealthy parent get into elite universities like USC and UCLA. Singer allegedly helped more than 760 families cheat the process though the use of his "side-door" scheme. Prosecutors say Singer would bribe college entrance exam proctors to change the answers after the tests were submitted, or even allow stand-ins to take the test for people. Singer also allegedly bribed college coaches and created fake athlete profiles for the kids so they would have an advantage over other qualified athletes.
In the wake of the scandal, officials at USC announced Wednesday they would take a second look at any pending applicants, and if they found the potential students might be tied to the alleged nationwide cheating, they will "be denied admission." Two USC officals, including water polo coach Jovan Vavic and senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel, were fired by university. UCLA soccer coach Jorge Salcedo was placed on leave.
There's nothing to suggest that the schools themselves were in on the alleged admission scam.
Photo: Getty Images