Gov 1310 No Longer Listed for Next Semester

Government 1310: “Introduction to Congress,” the class at the center of Harvard’s largest cheating scandal in recent memory, is no longer listed as a spring 2013 course in the course catalog.

Even after Harvard announced its sweeping plagiarism investigation at the start of this semester, the listing for Government 1310 in the my.harvard course planner tool indicated that Matthew B. Platt, who has taught the course each time it has been offered, would teach it again next semester.

But now, the course planner says that Government 1310 is next expected to be offered in the 2013-14 academic year by an “instructor to be determined.”

Harvard is currently investigating about 125 students for inappropriately plagiarizing or collaborating on the final take-home exam in the 279-person spring course. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty in Government 1310 could be required to withdraw from the College for a year, among other possible punishments.

The Government 1310 course website still indicates that the course will be offered in spring 2013 and lists Platt as its professor.

Platt had taught Government 1310 for the past three spring semesters. The course has seen declining overall student ratings on the Q Guide each year, dropping from 3.70 in spring 2010 to 3.57 in spring 2011, then dipping to 2.54 in spring 2012, the semester that the alleged cheating occurred.

Platt, who is not teaching a course this semester, is currently listed in the Harvard Web Directory as an assistant professor of government.

The only class he is slated to teach in the future in the current course catalog on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar’s website is Government 2356: “Agenda Setting and Representation in Congress,” a graduate seminar he previously taught in fall 2010. The catalog says that Platt is expected to teach it again in the 2013-14 academic year.

Platt, Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Jeff Neal, government department chair Timothy J. Colton, and the government department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies Cheryl B. Welch did not respond to requests for comment Saturday on the changed listing.

—Staff writer Rebecca D. Robbins can be reached at rrobbins@college.harvard.edu.

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