Student sues as administration moves to rescind admissions for falsified applications

May 17, 2019

The university announced its intent to rescind the admissions of two current students after they were discovered to have submitted falsified applications. The decision comes as one of the students, Adam Semprevivo (COL ’20), announced he was suing the university to block disciplinary action against him on May 15.

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted the parents of these students, as well as many others around the country, for their roles in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.

In a statement Wednesday, university spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak said that the university had informed the two students that their admissions would be rescinded and they would be dismissed from Georgetown. “Each student case was addressed individually and each student was given multiple opportunities to respond and provide information to the University,” the statement read.

The statement explained the administration’s actions regarding former tennis coach Gordon Ernst after “irregularities” were discovered with several students recruited for his team in 2017. Ernst had accepted bribes in exchange for falsely designating applicants as tennis recruits. Stanford University, Yale University, and the University of Southern California, who also had coaches participating in the nationwide admissions bribery ring, have already expelled or revoked the admission of their own involved students.

Hours before the university took action, Semprevivo filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to prevent his expulsion or other sanctions the university might impose, including revoking the credits he has earned and preventing him from transferring them to another university.

The lawsuit claims that Georgetown imposed “an arbitrary and capricious disciplinary process” and deprived Semprevivo of his due process rights.

Semprevivo’s father plead guilty on May 7 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud for paying a $400,000 bribe to Ernst to have Semprevivo admitted as a tennis team recruit. The older Semprevivo was one of five Georgetown parents to be indicted by the Justice Department on March 12.

Semprevivo accused the administration of not following its Honor Council System Procedures, which call for several measures, including a board hearing, before disciplinary action is taken in the case of a student infraction. He alleged that this constituted a breach of contract because by paying tuition he believed he was entitled to the Honor Council procedure.

In an email from Georgetown’s lawyer, Adam Adler, to Semprevivo’s attorneys that was mentioned in the lawsuit, Adler stated that Semprevivo was not entitled to the Honor Council System Procedures because his transgression, falsifying his application, took place before he was a student.

Dubyak’s statement says the university has the right to remove any student who submits a falsified application. “Knowingly misrepresenting or falsifying credentials in an application can be cause for rescinding the admission of the student and dismissal from Georgetown,” the statement read.

The lawsuit claims that Semprevivo’s application was submitted by William Singer, the owner of the college consulting company that facilitated the admissions scandal, and that Semprevivo never signed his application. Despite his school records showing he played basketball, Semprevivo’s application said he was a ranked tennis player.

In addition, the lawsuit states that these claims could have been “easily verified and debunked” before Semprevivo’s admission. “Even a cursory examination of the two documents (application vs. transcript) would have made it clear they were absolutely inconsistent with one another,” the lawsuit reads. Yet, it states, no one in the administration identified these inconsistencies.

According to the lawsuit, Semprevivo’s application included a weighted high school GPA of 4.067 and an SAT score of 1980. While many students involved in the scandal received illicit assistance on standardized testing from Singer, the lawsuit claims Semprevivo did not. He argued that his case should have been treated differently because his “SAT score and GPA were within Georgetown’s academic standards.”

The lawsuit also charges that the university’s actions constitute unjust enrichment by not granting him the rights of other tuition paying students. The lawsuit states that Semprevivo’s family has already paid over $200,000 in tuition, including $100,000 after Ernst’s dismissal.

In an email statement to the Voice, Semprevivo’s attorneys wrote that, “we are working on filing an Amended Complaint to take into account Georgetown’s decision to expel Adam, but continue to dialogue with the University about the matter.”

Dubyak’s statement also said the university cannot comment on any pending litigation.

Darren Jian
Darren is the executive editor for resources, diversity, and inclusion and a senior in the College studying government and math. Some things he likes are flea markets, indie rock concerts, and student debt cancellation.

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