Two days after news broke of the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice, colleges and universities impacted are beginning to make decisions about the future of the students at the center of the scandal. How much did these students know? How culpable does that make them? And, of course, will they get to stay enrolled at their universities?
The universities in question are numerous and widespread — USC, UCLA, University of San Diego, University of Texas, Wake Forest, Yale, Georgetown, and Stanford — and many have already taken action by firing coaches and administrators implicated in the $25 million bribery scheme. And while none of the universities as entities have been accused of wrongdoing by the Department of Justice, all eight are now being sued by two Stanford students who claim they sought admission the legitimate way 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."
USC said in a statement that it will be reviewing applications of the students and graduates involved in the scandal on a case-by-case basis and will also deny admission to any prospective students in the current admission cycle who were involved in the scheme (of which there are reportedly half a dozen). UCLA issued a similar statement: “If UCLA discovers that any prospective, admitted, or enrolled student has misrepresented any aspect of his/her application, or that information about the applicant has been withheld, UCLA may take a number of disciplinary actions, up to and including cancellation of admission."
One such student is Lori Loughlin's younger daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli, a part-time YouTube star, full-time freshman at USC. Her parents have both been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for paying half a million dollars in exchange for having their daughters falsely positioned as rowing recruits to USC. Olivia has not been charged, but it was revealed that she partook in fake crew photos that were used in her alleged falsified application.
Another is Isabelle Henriquez, daughter of the founder of a Silicon Valley investment firm and a junior at Georgetown, who reportedly knowingly partook in the scam. Her parents allegedly paid at least $425,000 to secure Isabelle a spot at Georgetown — which included bribing a proctor to help her cheat on the SAT and Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst to admit her as a tennis recruit despite the fact that she's never played the sport. (Ernst was paid nearly $1 million.) While Isabelle herself has not been charged with any crimes, Georgetown said in a statement that the university is reviewing details of the case and will take appropriate action.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.