Two college students have filed a lawsuit against the University of Southern California, Yale University and other colleges where prosecutors say parents paid bribes to ensure their children's admission.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco and alleges the students were denied a fair opportunity for admission. The class action complaint was brought on behalf of "All individuals who, between 2012 and 2018, applied to UCLA, USC, USD, Stanford University, UT-Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, Georgetown University, or Yale University, paid an admission application fee to one or more of these universities, with respect to an admission application that was rejected by the university."
"Each of the universities took the students' admission application fees while failing to take adequate steps to ensure that their admissions process was fair and free of fraud, bribery, cheating and dishonesty," the lawsuit reads.
The two students behind the suit, Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods, say they were denied a fair opportunity to get into Yale and USC. Both are now enrolled at Stanford University.
They claim the alleged bribery scheme allowed "unqualified students" to be admitted to "highly selective universities" at the expense of others who didn't get in. They also claim the scandal has decreased the value of students' degrees from the elite colleges.
In addition to suing the colleges, their lawsuit also names William "Rick" Singer as a defendant. Singer ran a high-end college admissions advisory business called The Key which allegedly orchestrated the scheme; he is now cooperating with prosecutors.
Prosecutors allege exam proctors, college coaches and others were involved in a widespread effort to rig the admissions process for children whose wealthy parents were willing to pay bribes. The indictments filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts include hundreds of pages of allegations implicating more than 50 people in two sets of schemes: standardized test cheating and college acceptance bribery.