Harvard Cheating Scandal: Students Forced to Withdraw

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Harvard Cheating Scandal Punishment

Harvard University has forced as many as 60 students to withdraw from the Ivy League school for a period of time due to a cheating scandal.

While as many as 125 students were involved in the Harvard cheating scandal, a campus-wide email on Friday, from 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” of the cases involved students who had to withdraw from the college for a period of time, which could be for as long as up to a year.

About half the students got disciplinary probation. The rest weren’t disciplined. Some athletes were involved in this cheating scandal, including two basketball team co-captains. The school immediately removed them from the team roster in the wake of the cheating investigation. Past reports in The Harvard Crimson also linked football, baseball and hockey players to the scandal as well.

The cheating scandal started after an undergraduate-level government class teaching assistant noticed something strangely familiar with the spring semester final exam. The take-home test, which was supposed to be done alone, shows that many students may have shared answers and worked together.

The school’s student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, has reported that the government class, Introduction to Congress, had 279 students enrolled.

Many students had to wait to hear what their punishment was for months not knowing if the Administrative Board will tell them to withdraw. Withdrawing would mean that their course work, tuition, and room expenses might be wasted for that semester.

Robert Peabody, an attorney with Collora LLP in Boston who represented two of the implicated students said both the students he represented “withdrew during the semester because of the risk of being forced to do so, only one was required to withdraw, while the other was given probation.”

Smith said, “Every student contacted by the Administrative Board has been informed of the disposition of his or her individual case,” Smith said, referring to the school’s disciplinary body. School leaders will “redouble our efforts to promote academic integrity. Somewhat more than half of the Administrative Board cases this past fall required a student to withdraw from the College for a period of time,” Smith wrote. “Of the remaining cases, roughly half the students received disciplinary probation, while the balance ended in no disciplinary action.”

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