Chapman among universities named in massive college admissions scandal

UPDATE: Chapman’s registrar has confirmed that Dylan Sidoo transferred from Chapman in 2014.

David Sidoo, father of former Chapman film production major Dylan Sidoo, is among those charged in a massive, nationwide college admissions scandal that involves parents buying their children admission at some of the most prestigious universities in the country, including Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California (USC), according to an indictment filed March 5.

David Sidoo paid an individual, whose name is redacted in the indictment, $100,000 to take the SAT in 2011 using a falsified ID card on behalf of his older son Dylan Sidoo, according to the indictment. Dylan Sidoo was admitted to Chapman on or about Jan. 24, 2012 and ultimately enrolled.

When Dylan Sidoo took the exam on an unspecified date, he scored 1460 out of 2400. The individual who took the test for him scored 1670 out of 2400 in 2011, after allegedly being instructed by another individual whose name is also redacted to “not to obtain too high a score” because of Dylan Sidoo’s previous low score, according to the indictment.

In December 2011, according to the indictment, a copy of the SAT score was emailed to an unidentified Chapman administrator.

Daniele Struppa, Chapman’s president, wrote in an email statement to The Panther today that Chapman takes the matter “very seriously” and said that the university is cooperating with the Department of Justice investigation.

“We are not aware nor have we been advised that we have been involved in any wrongdoing,” Struppa wrote in the statement, adding that Chapman prides itself on an “open and fair” admissions process.

The investigation, nicknamed “Operation Varsity Blues,” has exposed the lengths that many wealthy parents have gone to in order to guarantee their children admission to universities, with some bribing athletic coaches at schools like USC and the University of California, Los Angeles to give admissions slots reserved for athletic recruits to their children, most of whom did not play the sport they claimed to.

Another one of the dozens indicted is “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin, whose daughter, Olivia Giannulli, is an Instagram influencer with 1.3 million followers and has sponsored deals with brands like Sephora, Amazon Prime and TRESemme. Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was also indicted.

The parents allegedly agreed to pay a total of $500,000 for their two daughters to attend USC as recruits for its crew team, even though they do not take part in the sport, according to the complaint.

In a YouTube video from August 2018, Olivia Giannulli spoke about wanting to attend college to be part of “game days” and “partying.”

“I don’t really care about school, as you guys know,” she said in the video.

At the center of the scandal is William “Rick” Singer, a Newport Beach resident who managed the scheme, according to prosecutors. He owned college counseling business Edge College and Career Network, also known as “The Key,” and established the Key Worldwide Foundation, a supposed charity that was used to funnel payments from parents.

Singer has been cooperating with federal investigators since September 2018, according to the New York Times. He pleaded guilty to four charges in federal court in Boston today.

The counseling business’ website was still live as of 6:10 p.m. March 12. In the testimonials section, a comment from someone named Tyler Bolinger said that with Singer’s “coaching and persistence,” he was able to make his experience at Chapman “an enormously valuable one.”

“Thank you for helping me follow my dream,” the testimonial said.