Ad Board Yet To Release Case Database

Over a year and a half after the University announced its intent to make the Administrative Board’s decision-making process more transparent, a database providing summaries of past cases for the College’s top disciplinary body is yet to be seen.

The first part of the database, containing information on cases of academic integrity, is slated for release at the end of this school year, Secretary of the Ad Board John “Jay” L. Ellison said.

The data is targeted to help students—particularly those facing the Ad Board—gain a better understanding of the Board’s process, often characterized by students as secretive. The database would provide students with information on the process and outcome of past cases—going back three years for issues of academic integrity and 10 years for peer disputes, including sexual assault.

Ellison announced the project in September 2010, anticipating at the time that the information would be available before the end of the semester. In February 2011, Megan R. Mitrovich, who as then a management fellow in Ellison’s office in charge of working on the database, predicted that the statistics would be released by the end of the academic year.

But fear of inadvertently revealing individuals’ identities connected with specific cases has slowed down the process of creating a database, Ellison said.

The difficulty lies, he added, in finding “the right mix between privacy and disclosure,” so that student have enough information about what goes on in the Ad board behind closed-doors without comprising students’ confidentiality.

Ellison said that the database of academic infractions, tentatively set for release before this summer, will most likely include the division under which the incident took place, the type of academic infraction in question, and the ultimate conclusion of the Board. It remains unclear whether the course will also be specified.

Once this database of academic cases is released, Ellison said the Board plans to finish a similar set of information regarding peer disputes, including sexual assault cases, for the past 10 years. In the process of compiling the database, Ellison and Mitrovich decided to expand the range from the original five-year time frame to ensure the privacy of students involved.

Laura Schlosberg, resident dean of Mather House, is currently distilling the information to protect students’ identities.

—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at nmiraval@college.harvard.edu.

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