Petition calls for Georgetown to revoke degrees from grads involved in college admissions scandal

Former Georgetown University tennis coach Gordon Ernst will appear in court in Massachusetts on Monday. He's accused of repeatedly recruiting non-athletes.

Georgetown said it removed Ernst as tennis coach in December 2017 after it determined he violated the university's recruiting practices, but in July 2018, the Georgetown's athletic director gave Ernst a recommendation when he applied for a job at the University of Rhode Island.

Georgetown said that recommendation was based only on Ernst's athletic record.

Ernst is one of more than 40 people charged in the scandal, but what about the students involved?

A Georgetown University alumnus has acquired 15,000 signatures on an online petition calling on the school to revoke degrees from graduates who were involved in the alleged college admissions scandal.

The indictment from the Justice Department noted about a dozen current and former Georgetown students involved in the scandal.

The man behind the petition says he has always been so proud to say he graduated from the prestigious university -- but he says this is a disgrace.

"It really devalues the institution's character and honor for students right now [and] alum like myself in the eyes of the word," said Mickey Lee.

Lee graduated in 2005 and still volunteers at Georgetown's admissions office. His petition is calling for the university to rescind the degrees or expel any students involved.

Georgetown says it cannot comment on individual students in accordance with federal law, but it's reviewing the details related to the indictment and will be taking appropriate action. It's just not clear what that action is.

FOX 5 knows of at least one Georgetown student, Isabelle Henriques, who has appeared on the Hoya Blue Twitter page. Her parents, Elizabeth and Manuel, are named in the indictment. Prosecutors say they paid to have the coach put her on the tennis players roster.

Also among the 30 parents charged are Elisabeth Kimmel, Stephen Semprevivo and Douglas Hodge, all of whom have or had children at Georgetown between 2013 and 2019.

While Lee's petition is gaining steam online, students FOX 5 spoke with Tuesday had mixed reactions.

"What I really hope to accomplish is Georgetown takes the lead step instead of waiting for the other universities to take action," said Lee.

"I would definitely be supportive of Georgetown revoking the degrees of any students who came through and were found to be cheating," said student Madeline Moreno.

"It would nice to get an apology but I don't think I would be comfortable signing a petition to have their degrees revoked with all the hard work they probably have done since," said Julia O'Mara.

Today, the University of Southern California announced students associated with the alleged scandal will not be able to register for any new classes.