Smart Minus Integrity Equals Cheaters

“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 [2012].”  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

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 harvardUniversity_2469079binstitution in late Au­gust.

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.

 

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One thought on “Smart Minus Integrity Equals Cheaters

  1. I long have thought that Harvard was the most dramatically over-rated college in the nation. I still think so. Nothing in this latest episode changes my mind.

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