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Students and Parents Attack Universities with Class-Action Lawsuit

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Students and parents filed a class-action lawsuit against several colleges following a massive admissions bribery scandal revealed Tuesday.

The lawsuit argues that applicants did not have a fair chance in the admissions process due to wealthy parents paying bribes to get their children into elite colleges, KTVU reported Thursday. It goes after Stanford University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest, Yale and Georgetown.

The suit also went after William Rick Singer, who helped parents get their children into elite schools by cheating the college entrance exam system.

The plaintiffs are asking for all application fees to be refunded and for unspecified damages, according to The Associated Press.

“Had Plaintiffs known that the system was warped and rigged by fraud, they would not have spent the money to apply to the school,” the lawsuit said. “They also did not receive what they paid for — a fair admissions consideration process.”

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The original lawsuit was filed by Stanford students Kalea Woods and Erica Olsen.

However, Olsen dropped out of the suit with the reason remaining unclear, KTVU reported.

The lawsuit was updated Thursday and added community college student Tyler Bendis and his mother Julia Bendis, Rutgers University student Nicholas James Johnson and father James Johnson and Tulane University student Lauren Fidelak and her mother Keri Fidelak, according to CNN. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

“Her (Woods’s) 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,” the original lawsuit argued, though it was not included in the amended version.

Nicholas Johnson was a varsity hockey player who got rejected from UT Austin and Stanford, the lawsuit said. He scored a 1500 out of 1600 points on the SAT.

Lauren Fidelak allegedly had to be hospitalized for an emotional breakdown after getting rejected from USC and UCLA. She had a 4.0 GPA and scored 34 out of 36 possible points on the ACT, according to the lawsuit.

The Fidelaks claimed they were included in the suit without their approval, The Stanford Daily reported. Stanford spokesperson E.J. Miranda said the lawsuit was “without merit.”

Some have expressed doubt over the lawsuit, according to the AP.

“They won’t be able to prove that the universities were behind some grand scheme,” Louisiana State University professor Joy Blanchard said, the AP reported.

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Attorney Kyle McEntee, who has pushed law school education reform, said the suit “reeks of opportunism.”

A statement from UT Austin spokesperson JB Bird that was emailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation expressed “outrage” over the scandal.

“The University of Texas has a thorough, holistic admissions process,” Bird’s statement said. “The actions alleged by federal prosecutors against one UT employee were not in line with that policy and may have been criminal. They do not reflect our admissions process.”

USC said to TheDCNF they did not have information on the lawsuit.

“We have no reason to believe that any members of our admissions team, our administration or staff, or our current coaching staff were aware of or involved in the alleged wrongdoing,”  the University of San Diego said in a statement to TheDCNF. “However, the university is conducting an investigation into the allegations.”

UCLA, Yale, Wake Forest, Georgetown and Stanford did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment. Lindsey Carr, who is taking media inquiries on behalf of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to comment as well.

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A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.

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