A pair of Stanford students have filed a class action lawsuit against the university — and multiple others — in connection with the wide-ranging admissions fraud scandal revealed this week by the FBI.
Current Stanford undergrads Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods filed the complaint lickety split on Wednesday, one day after news of the government's 50 indictments went public. As BuzzFeed reports, Olsen and Woods are seeking punitive and compensatory damages from Stanford, Yale, USC, Georgetown, and multiple other schools implicated in the fraud — including a refund of the $80 application fees they each paid to Yale.
Also named in the suit is William "Rick" Singer and his Key Worldwide Foundation, which has been implicated in laundering the funds that were used to make bribes to coaches and other individuals via wealthy parents.
As the suit reads, "[Woods'] degree is now not 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 rich parents who were willing to bribe school officials." Also, the plaintiffs' attorneys say, regarding the application fees, "At the time [Olsen] applied, she was 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. 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. She also did not receive what she paid for — a fair admissions consideration process."
This seems like just the first drops of what could be a deluge of legal blowback connected to the scandal, with these prestigious schools now facing significant stains to their reputations.
Another example: Bay Area single mother Jennifer Kay Toy just filed a $500 billion (!) lawsuit against 45 individuals involved in the case.
In related news, according to the Daily Beast, Georgetown University is apparently considering punitive action against undergraduate Isabelle Henriquez, who grew up in Atherton the daughter of Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez. Isabelle's diploma is allegedly in jeopardy because according to the criminal complaint, she was one example of a teen who knowingly participated in the fraud with her parents — though only the parents are named in the indictment.
According to the complaint, in September 2015, the Henriquezes arranged to fly an SAT proctor out from Tampa, Florida to administer the test to their daughter at her Belmont private school. Unbeknownst to the school, the proctor allegedly sat "side-by-side" with Isabelle Henriquez and fed her answers during the exam — boosting her score over 300 points from the previous time she'd take the test.
The Henriquezes allegedly went on to spend $950,000 to bribe Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst to name Isabelle as a tennis recruit. According to the complaint, Isabelle Henriquez — who had apparently never played in a tennis tournament — rewrote her Georgetown essays to include her passion for tennis, and she allegedly lied about playing on the U.S. Tennis Association’s All-Academic Team.
See the details in the complete 204-page criminal complaint.
On Wednesday, Manuel Henriquez voluntarily stepped aside as CEO of the investment firm he runs, Hercules Capital, as shares in the company fell 9 percent.