“Dozens of Harvard University students have been disciplined, with many forced to temporarily withdraw, as a result of the cheating scandal that shook the Ivy League institution in late August .” Jennifer Levitz
“Harvard was currently looking at several ways to strengthen academic integrity.” Ibid.
Harvard Punishes Dozens of Students for Cheating
By Jennifer Levitz, The Wall Street Journal, February 2-3, 2013, p. A2
Harvard on Friday released the much-awaited results of its investigation into the controversy, in which 125 undergraduates were alleged to have cheated on a take-home exam in a course titled Government 1310.
Detailing the punishments meted out by the Harvard College Administrative Board in decisions made between late September and December, the university said more than half of the students were forced to withdraw, a penalty that typically lasts from two toiour semesters. Of the remaining cases, about half were put on disciplinary probation—a strong warning that becomes part of a student’s official record. The rest of the students avoided a punishment.
“The large number of administrative board cases this past fall highlighted the fact that we, as a faculty, must redouble our efforts to communicate clearly and unambiguously to our undergraduates about academic integrity,” Michael D. Smith, the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, wrote in an email to the campus community on Friday.
The scandal, the largest such case at Harvard, started brewing in spring 2012, when a faculty member teaching the government class noticed that a number of students appeared to have copied one another’s answers on a take-home exam. The instructor referred the case to the administrative board, which conducted a review and found that 125 exams looked fishy.
Harvard announced that an investigation was under way in late August, casting a cloud over the start of fall semester.
In his email Friday, Mr. Smith said the board’s, process, which included interviews with the accused, provided a “teachable, if difficult, moment for students.”
Representatives for students involved disagreed. “It was not all that teachable, it was basically hell for a lot of these kids,” said Robert Peabody a lawyer with Collora LLP in Boston.
Mr. Peabody represented two of the students accused. He said the board’s deliberation process appeared to be unnecessarily long, while students “were out there twisting in the wind.” One of his clients was forced to withdraw, while the other received probation, he said.
Harvard said the board’s procedure is “necessarily laborious,” allowing for a “full and fair review.” In his email to the campus, Mr, Smith said Harvard was currently looking at several ways to strengthen academic integrity.