Let the class action lawsuits commence. Just days after news broke that federal authorities had uncovered “the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted in the U.S.,” two Stanford students have filed suit against the scam’s mastermind William "Rick" Singer, as well as Stanford, the University of Southern California, the University of California Los Angeles, Wake Forest, Yale and Georgetown, asking a federal court in California to approve a class action lawsuit that will enable any student who applied to one or more of the universities and was rejected between 2012 and 2018 to join in the litigation.
Current Stanford University students Erica Olson and Kalea Woods, who filed suit on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, allege that because of the large-scale admission scandal that saw parents across the U.S. pay as much as $1.2 million to secure spots for their kids at top-tier schools, they were denied a fair opportunity to apply for admission at Yale and the University of Southern California, respectively. Olson asserts that “had she known that the system at Yale was warped and rigged by fraud, she would not have” applied. Olson also argues that she “did not receive what she paid for — a fair admissions consideration process.”
Woods makes similar claims, namely, that she was “qualified” for admission to USC but “was never informed that the process of admission was an unfair, rigged process, in which parents could buy their way into the university through bribery and dishonest schemes.”
Aside from allegedly being denied admission to the two schools for improper reasons as tied to the $25 million admission scandal, the plaintiffs take issue with the value of the degrees they are set to receive from Stanford. They assert that their “degrees [are] now not worth as much as [they were] before, because prospective employers may now question whether [the plaintiffs] were admitted to the university on [their] own merits, versus having rich parents who were willing to bribe school officials.”
With the foregoing in mind, Olson and Woods are seeking class action certification, as well as an array of monetary damages, based on claims of civil racketeering, negligence, and violations of the California Unfair Competition Act, among others.
*The case is Erica Olson and Kalea Woods vs. William "Rick" Singer, the University of Southern California, et al., 3:19-cv-01351 (N.D.Cal.).