Petition calls on Georgetown to rescind degrees, admittance of students involved admissions scandal

In this July 10, 2013, file photo, prospective students tour Georgetown University's campus in Washington. Federal authorities have charged college coaches and others in a sweeping admissions bribery case in federal court. The racketeering conspiracy charges were unsealed Tuesday, March 12, 2019, against the coaches at schools including Georgetown, Wake Forest University and the University of Southern California. Authorities say the coaches accepted bribes in exchange for admitting students as athletes, regardless of their ability. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

An online petition that calls on Georgetown University to rescind the degrees or admittance of students and alumni implicated in the nationwide admissions scandal has gathered over 15,000 signatures.

It is only a few hundred signatures away from its goal of 16,000. The petition was started by alumnus Mickey Lee, who said allowing those involved in the scandal to retain their degrees “severely degrades the standards and prestige of Georgetown University.”

Some 50 people have been charged in the college entrance bribery scheme involving wealthy parents and coaches at several elite universities. One of those people is former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst.

Ernst would allegedly notify Georgetown’s admissions office he offered an applicant a spot on the tennis team. According to court documents, he offered at least 12 students a spot on the team despite knowing they were not competitive athletes.

Ernst was paid more that $2.7 million to facilitate the admission of these students. One family alone paid Ernst $400,000, according to charging documents.

“The reputation, honor, and future of our university will remain permanently tarnished unless Georgetown University wipes the stain off by erasing these mistakes from its history,” Lee said in the petition.

The petition also calls for a public apology for all alumni and students, as well as qualified students whose admission may have been deferred or denied due to the illicit scheme.

Georgetown spokesman Matt Hill said in an emailed statement, “Georgetown refrains from commenting on individual students in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We are reviewing the details of the indictment, examining our records and will be taking appropriate action.”

Hill added that more information could be found on the university’s FAQ page on the investigation.

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