Struppa: Chapman probe into apparent payoffs should conclude in several weeks

In an email to the Chapman community on March 20, Struppa said the university has been working with the DOJ for several months and that the university is conducting it’s own probe into the admissions scandal. Graphic by Maggie Mayer using a photo from Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash.

Chapman University has engaged “external attorney investigators” who have worked in “senior positions in the Department of Justice” to examine the college’s ties to the national admissions scandal, President Daniele Struppa announced Wednesday.

Chapman has been cooperating with the Department of Justice “for several months” and has not been accused of wrongdoing, Struppa said in a mass email sent to students and staff. Yet, he noted, “it is imperative that we look deeper into this situation and do a thorough investigation to whether we are indeed living up to our values and principles.” The investigation, which probes the university’s interaction with the tainted college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer of Newport Beach, should be completed within several weeks, Struppa said.

Struppa’s email comes after Chapman University was connected to the scandal in the indictment of David Sidoo, a retired Canadian football player accused of paying $100,000 to have a ringer take the SAT for his son, Dylan. Dylan Sidoo was admitted to Chapman as a film production major in 2012 with fraudulent SAT scores before transferring to the University of Southern California two years later, according to court papers and Dylan Sidoo’s social media.

Chapman allegedly received a total of $325,000 in donations between 2014 and 2015 from The Key Worldwide Foundation, a fraudulent charity which officials say was used to launder bribe money from parents seeking to get their children accepted to universities for which they were not qualified. It is not yet clear who at Chapman accepted the money, if it arrived.

“I am confident these allegations are not a reflection of the culture we have at Chapman,” Struppa wrote, acknowledging he had been deluged with “countless messages” about the scandal and Chapman’s practices. At this point in time, the university cannot act on the alleged donations or students that may have connections to Singer’s operations because there isn’t enough information available, according to the email.

When the investigation is completed, Struppa said he will “communicate what [he] is able to regarding the findings.” He also said he was “committed to demonstrating transparency as we work to find resolution.”