**FILE** Prospective students are welcomed to Georgetown University during the school's Admissions Ambassador Program in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 2014. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
**FILE** Prospective students are welcomed to Georgetown University during the school's Admissions Ambassador Program in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 2014. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

An online petition has garnered well over 17,000 signatures and soon should reach its goal of 18,000 as an alum of Georgetown University is calling for the school to rescind admissions and degrees from students linked to the widespread $25 million college admissions bribery scam.

Georgetown alum Mickey Lee created and started the petition.

“I implore the administration to rescind admissions and any degrees conferred to all students involved in this scandal,” Lee wrote in the petition published earlier this month. “In addition, a written public apology needs to be made to all university alumni and students as well as applicants/families of those who were deferred or not admitted at these cheaters’ expense.

“As a proud alum of Georgetown University, I am deeply disappointed that GU, along with Stanford University, Yale University, University of South California, University of California Los Angeles, University of Texas, Wake Forest University, and University of San Diego, is involved in the college entrance bribery scheme,” he said.

A Georgetown spokesperson said the northwest D.C. school declined to comment 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,” the spokesperson said.

Former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst counts among the dozens of individuals charged in the bribery scheme that’s implicated the rich, famous and otherwise white elite.

National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. was among several prominent African Americans who said they view the admissions scam as “affirmative action for the rich” and yet another example of white privilege.

The NNPA is a trade organization that represents the interests of the more than 200 African-American-owned newspapers and media companies around the nation, including The Washington Informer.

“This is a question of a deeper revelation of the extent to which white privilege and white supremacy are institutionalized in every fabric of American society, including higher education,” said Chavis, who’s also a longtime civil rights activist. “The rich have one standard of education and everyone else has another standard.

“This inequity isn’t just about wealth, it’s about race, ethnicity, culture and history,” Chavis said.

On March 12, federal investigators announced 50 high-profile individuals, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were charged in the scheme that involved changing college entrance test results, hiring proctors to take exams for children and superimposing their kids’ faces onto pictures of real student athletes, to guarantee college admission through athletics.

Federal officials said 33 parents paid amounts ranging from thousands of dollars to $6.5 million to get their children into top colleges, including Georgetown, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, USC, the University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale.

Chavis believes systematic racism made the scam possible.

“Those involved are embarrassed but will never acknowledge the longstanding history of racism that made their actions possible,” he said.

NNPA Chair and Chicago and Gary Crusader Publisher Dorothy R. Leavell said she was also “deeply disturbed” by the report that the “privileged” is buying entrance to universities while many qualified students are being denied an earned entrance to those same universities.

“In my mind, it conjures up the premise that African American Ward Connelly of California in the 1960s was selling the theory that affirmative action was a disadvantaged to those who would be considered ‘privileged,’” Leavell said. “It worries those of us who believe that ‘hard work’ is the answer to advancement, but to see an actor’s daughter say she wanted to party and was not so interested in school flies in the face of those who worked hard to attain their advancement.”

In 2019, “money privilege” is alive and well, Leavell said.

“Also troubling is the fact that the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, in light of this revelation, is seeking to limit loans and grants to those students that are most in need of financial assistance,” she said.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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