Harvard University: Dozens disciplined over exam cheating

Exam cheating

Harvard University has doled out academic sanctions to dozens of students after a cheating probe connected to an open-book, take-home final exam.

The school implicated as many as 125 students in the scandal when officials first addressed the issue last year.

The inquiry started after a teaching assistant in a spring semester undergraduate-level government class detected problems, including that students may have shared answers.

In a campus-wide email yesterday, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith said the school's academic integrity board had resolved all the cases related to the cheating probe.

He said "somewhat more than half" the cases involved students who had to withdraw from the college for a period of time.

Of the cases left, about half the students got disciplinary probation. The rest weren't disciplined.

Some athletes became ensnared, including two basketball team co-captains whom the school scratched from its team roster. Past reports in The Harvard Crimson also linked football, baseball and ice hockey players to the scandal.

Smith said in yesterday's email that the school wouldn't discuss specific student cases.

"This is a time for communal reflection and action," he wrote. "We are responsible for creating the community in which our students study and we all thrive as scholars." Staples founder Thomas Stemberg, a Harvard graduate whose son is a student now, yesterday criticized the school's handling of the probe.

"If you challenge the entire faculty at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Law School to come up with a process that took more time, cost more money, embarrassed more innocent students, and vindicated guilty faculty... that could not have outdone the process that took place," he said.

He wrote a complaint letter to Harvard's president in early January claiming that the professor who taught the government class changed the rules after several exams in which "open collaboration" was encouraged.

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