SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Several college students, including one from Escondido, have filed a class action lawsuit in the college admissions scandal hitting several universities where prosecutors say parents paid bribes to ensure their children's admission.
Kalea Woods who previously lived in Escondido currently attends Stanford University. In the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco, Woods claims she was denied a fair opportunity to apply to USC.
The plaintiffs in the suit say the alleged scheme allowed "unqualified students" to be admitted to "highly selective universities," according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit names William “Rick” Singer, The Key Worldwide Foundation, and several colleges including the University of San Diego, USC, Stanford, Yale, and UCLA.
The suit seeks to get refunds for the students for the application fees they paid to the colleges.
More than 50 people were charged in the scandal earlier this week, including two from San Diego. One of them is Elisabeth Kimmel who owned KFMB Stations for decades until it was sold to TEGNA, Inc. in 2018.
Prosecutors have said wealthy parents paid to rig standardized scores and bribed sports coaches to get their children into elite universities.
News 8 has reached out to Woods for comment on the lawsuit but had not heard back as of early Thursday afternoon.
An attorney representing the students issued the following statement:
The students who filed the complaint didn’t receive what they paid for—to participate in an application process free of fraud. According to the complaint, these schools represented that their admission process would be based on the applicants’ merits, considering their character and performance. Instead, the students allege that what they got was a process tainted by bribes and school officials who failed to assure an honest application process.
It’s a straightforward claim and a simple remedy. The students want their money back. They request that anyone who paid an application fee to any of the eight named universities but was denied admission gets their application fee returned.
The University of San Diego also issued a statement on the class action lawsuit:
On March 13, 2019, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit is brought by two current Stanford students and names several universities as defendants, including the University of San Diego. The lawsuit relates to the charges announced by the United States Department of Justice earlier this week against various individuals who are alleged to have participated in a scheme to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate cheating on college entrance examinations and to secure admissions to universities.
While we do not comment on pending litigation, our commitment to ethical conduct and integrity in our admissions policies and processes is unwavering.
The university is conducting an investigation into the allegations. If the investigation reveals wrongdoing by individuals associated with the university, we will take appropriate action to address those concerns and to prevent them from recurring.
News 8 talked to a local lawyer who talks about the contents of the suit.
The details of the lawsuit can be viewed below.