Georgetown University expels two students caught up in college admissions scandal

One of the ousted pupils, Adam Semprevivo, had hours earlier filed a lawsuit seeking to block the school's action.
Image: The campus at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, on March 12, 2019.
Georgetown University expelled two students in connection with the massive college admissions scandal.Win McNamee / Getty Images

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By David K. Li

Georgetown University expelled two students in connection with the massive college admissions scandal Wednesday — the same day one of them filed a federal lawsuit in hopes of blocking his ouster.

Adam Semprevivo just completed his junior year at the elite Jesuit university and shouldn't be kicked out or suffer any academic penalties because of illegal acts committed by his father, according to the student's civil action filed in federal court in Washington.

Adam Semprevivo was swept up in "Operation Varsity Blues," the massive federal probe involving Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California and Wake Forest University. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were also implicated in the scandal, with Huffman this week pleading guilty to fraud by paying a fixer to boost her daughter's college admission chances.

Adam Semprevivo's father, Los Angeles business executive Stephen Semprevivo, has already pleaded guilty to paying $400,000 to have Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst pass off his son as a star tennis player, so he could gain special admission.

In the student's federal complaint, Adam Semprevivo claimed he had no idea what his dad, Ernst and operation's ringleader, William Rick Singer, were doing. He said Singer filed an admissions application, complete with phony documentation of his tennis prowess, without his knowledge.

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Hours after Semprevivo's lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Georgetown announced it had expelled two students caught up in the scandal.

The parents of four Georgetown students were implicated by federal prosecutors when the sweeping probe was revealed in March.

Two of the four students have already graduated, and the two others — Adam Semprevivo being one of them — were still in school as of March.

While Georgetown declined to name the two ousted students, Adam Semprevivo's Los Angeles-based lawyer, David Kenner, confirmed his client had been expelled. Kenner told NBC News his side will amend their lawsuit and seek Adam Semprevivo's re-admission to Georgetown for the fall term.

Or at the least, they want their client's three years of credits to be released with no strings attached so he can graduate from another school.

"Failing to get him back into Georgetown, we want him to be able to leave with credits intact with no negative reference in his transcripts," Kenner said. "We don't want three years wasted of his life."

In his lawsuit, Adam Semprevivo said he had an SAT score of 1980 — 640 in reading, 640 in math and 700 essay — and a weighted 4.067 grade-point average from Campbell Hall High School in Los Angeles, and thus didn't need any shady strings to be pulled on his behalf at Georgetown.

He even goes on to blame Georgetown for the mess, saying the school should have seen that his high school records made no mention of tennis.

"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 said.

Adam Semprevivo has a 3.18 GPA at Georgetown, and the family has paid more than $200,000 in tuition to the school.