Bianca Miccolis ’21
After 50 arrests in the $25 million college cheating scandal, the Department of Education opened a “preliminary investigation.” The Department of Education will be looking into major universities such as USC, Yale, Wake Forest University, Stanford University, Georgetown University, the University of San Diego, and the University of California Los Angeles. In a letter to USC, the Department stated that the investigation will survey for any violations of federal financial aid program laws. According to Doha Madani of NBCNews, the universities must cooperate in “referring any employee, agent of the institution, or recipient of federal funds to the department’s inspector general who ‘may have engaged in fraud, misrepresentation’ or other illegal activity.”
In a statement on Tuesday, March 26, USC responded, “We will fully cooperate with the DOE as we are with the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation, and will continue to comply with all laws and regulations.” Furthermore, other schools implicated made statements regarding the notice from the Department of Education. Georgetown is “committed to an admissions process that includes a fair, holistic review of each application.” Also on Tuesday, Yale said that they were “aware of the investigation.” However, the elite university has launched its own investigation and has rescinded the acceptance of one student ensnared in the scandal.
The college admissions scandal, led by CEO of Key Worldwide Foundation and The Edge College and Career Network, William Rick Singer, got students admitted to these top-tier universities as athletes and by cheating on the standardized entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT. Wealthy families paid Singer large sums of money to either have their children recruited for teams or have them take their SATs in a controlled testing center where people like 2004 Harvard graduate Mark Riddell would take their exams, or have the proctor change their answers after they completed the exam.
Along with “Desperate Housewives” actress, Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on “Full House,” and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were indicted in the scandal. The couple paid $500,000 to Singer for their daughters Bella (20) and Youtube influencer, Olivia Jade (19) to be admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits for the rowing team. Since the scam’s uncovering, Olivia Jade has lost endorsement deals with Sephora, TRESemmé, and Estée Lauder. According to a source from Entertainment Tonight, the social media star is “really angry with her parents because she told them she did not want to go to college and she was pushed,” and feels that they ruined her career. She allegedly did not even fill out her own application to the university as she was against going to college.
As the press uncover more about the Giannulli family, Fox News reported some other issues involving Olivia Jade. Before the scandal, the Youtuber’s trademark application was denied for poor punctuation. The United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected her application as requested to trademark “makeup kits comprised of moisturizer, primer, concealer, foundation, make-up powder, make-up pencils, eye make-up, eyeshadow, eye liner, mascara, blush, highlighter, bronzer, make-up setting spray lipstick lip gloss, lip stains, make-up remover,” which the USPTO deemed too broad. The form stated that the “applicant must correct the punctuation in the identification to clarify the individual items in the list of goods.” However, with the loss of endorsements, Olivia Jade’s career will probably decline and she may not trademark anything.
Loughlin and Giannulli were to appear in court in Boston on April 3 rescheduled from their preliminary hearing that was to occur on March 29.
Photos Courtesy of CNBC and ABC12.