Stanford expels student admitted with falsified sailing credentials

April 7, 2019, 10:58 a.m.

Stanford has rescinded the admission of a female student whose application was linked with the bribery scandal rocking college admissions nationwide, the University announced on Tuesday.

The former student included fabricated sailing credentials in her application, which is grounds for expulsion according to University practice. Though she was accepted through the standard process and not as a recruited athlete, her admission was followed by a $500,000 contribution to Stanford’s sailing program paid through former head coach John Vandemoer, who was fired after agreeing to plead guilty for accepting donations in exchange for recommending non-sailors as recruited athletes.

The student, who has not been publicly identified, is no longer on Stanford’s campus, and her credits have been vacated by the University, Tuesday’s press release states.

News of her expulsion comes just four days after Stanford admitted its newest class. Although the University no longer releases admissions statistics, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell wrote that no members of the Class of 2023 applicant pool — and no other currently enrolled students — are associated with the admissions scandal, the largest ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

The multi-million dollar scheme was masterminded by William Rick Singer, the founder of a college preparatory business known as the Key Worldwide Foundation. Singer, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges, charged parents — including 11 Bay Area parents and Stanford affiliates — thousands of dollars to artificially inflate their children’s standardized test scores. In some cases, Singer also bribed athletic directors, including Vandemoer, to recommend clients’ children as recruited athletes.

On March 12, Vandemoer pleaded guilty to accepting $270,000 in bribes linked to two students who did not ultimately attend the University. He has not yet faced charges for the $500,000 associated with the expelled student’s acceptance.

Amid a national reckoning on meritocracy and the college admissions system — and a class action lawsuit accusing Stanford and seven other universities implicated in the scandal of fraudulent admissions processes — the scandal has set in motion a cascade of changes at the University.

Varsity recruits proposed by coaches will now undergo a separate background check by a Stanford Athletics executive. Previously, only the recommending coach was responsible for reviewing such credentials. Stanford confirmed the pre-admittance athletic biography of all recruits since 2011 after learning of the bribery scheme.

Additionally, the University plans to conduct a “comprehensive external review” of procedures surrounding athletic recruitment and financial contributions to athletic programs.

“We know that this episode has jarred the trust of many Americans in the college admissions process, and it has prompted many questions from the Stanford community,” Tessier-Lavigne and Drell wrote. “We are determined to take the right steps at Stanford to ensure the integrity of our process and to work toward rebuilding that trust.”

Contact Erin Woo at erinkwoo ‘at’

Erin Woo '21 is The Daily's Vol. 259 Editor-in-Chief. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, she is studying communications and creative writing at Stanford. She has also reported for The Mercury News and WNYC. Contact her at eic 'at'

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