June 17, 2019 | 70° F

Rutgers student sues University of Texas, Stanford over bribery scandal

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One of the universities being sued by the lawsuit is the University of Texas at Austin. According to their admissions profile, out-of-state students averaged between 1260 and 1460 out of 1600 for SAT scores. The student who filed the lawsuit scored a 1500.

A Rutgers student has joined a national lawsuit against schools he applied to that are involved in a national college bribery scandal announced in an unsealed indictment earlier this month. 

Nicholas James Johnson, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, is suing Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin for what he claims was an unfair shot at admissions, according to an article by NJ Advance Media. 

Both schools were mentioned in the national college bribery scandal, which saw the indictment of more than 50 people, including coaches and the Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin. 

Johnson, in the lawsuit, claims he had an SAT score of 1500 out of 1600 and a GPA of 4.65, according to the article. He was also a member of his high school’s varsity hockey team and math team. 

Neal Buccino, the associate director of Public and Media Relations for Rutgers—New Brunswick, said in an email to The Daily Targum that the current class of first-years was highly competitive with “... an average SAT score of 1299 and GPA of 3.8 … Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Office of Admissions operates with integrity to choose the most qualified students from New Jersey and beyond. Its success is shown by both the qualifications and diversity of our Fall 2018 incoming first-year class, which was the largest in Rutgers history.”

According to the University of Texas at Austin’s website, admitted out-of-state students averaged between 1290 and 1460 out of 1600 for SAT scores. In-state students who tested between 1150 and 1400 were automatically admitted into the university.

Stanford University’s website did not provide specific details, but stated that 96 percent of its first-year class placed within the top 10 percent of its high school class. 

“At the time of the application, neither James Johnson (his father) nor Nicholas James Johnson was aware of the college bribery scandal and the unfair admissions process,” the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit is seeking the return of application fees, which cost $50 and $100 respectively, as well as other unspecified damages, according to the article. 

In separate statements, according to the article, the University of Texas said it takes the allegations “very seriously” and is processing a “thorough review” of its rules and procedures. 

“We believe the lawsuit filed by the students against Stanford is without merit … we stand behind the integrity of our admissions process,” a spokesman for Stanford said.

The national scandal focused around William “Rick”  Singer, who took payments from wealthy parents to arrange for students to take the SAT test at a site where they had help taking the test and paid college coaches to give athletically incapable students reserved admissions spots for athletes, according to the article. 

Yale University, Georgetown University and the University of Southern California were also among the colleges mentioned in the scandal. According to the article, no New Jersey colleges, including Rutgers, were mentioned.

Brendan Brightman

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