With Investigation Complete, Harvard Plans a Cheating Scandal Announcement

UPDATED: January 22, 2013, at 1:01 a.m.

Harvard has delivered verdicts to all of the approximately 125 students ensnared in the Government 1310 cheating scandal and plans to make an announcement about the results of the investigation near the start of the spring semester, according to a Harvard spokesperson.

Jeff Neal, a spokesperson for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, wrote in an emailed statement that the Administrative Board finished evaluating the set of cases in December.

Though Neal did not provide a specific date for the planned announcement, he wrote that it would come “near the beginning of the new semester, after students and faculty have returned to campus.” He also did not say how much new information would be released, but the Ad Board’s website states that the Board is bound to confidentiality about case specifics even after an investigation has concluded.

The completion of the investigation marks a turning point for the scandal that Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris called “unprecedented in anyone’s living memory” when it was first announced at the end of August. Over the past semester, the Ad Board investigated approximately half of the undergraduates enrolled in last spring’s offering of Government 1310: “Introduction to Congress” for plagiarism and inappropriate collaboration on a take-home final exam. Administrators said that each case would be resolved on an individual basis.

Harvard did not put forward a deadline for the completion of the investigation, yet one student said in an interview with The Crimson that he was told that his case would be resolved by November at the latest. Ultimately, some cases were not resolved until near the end of the fall semester.

“The cases were exceptionally complex and involved far more students than any other set of cases in recent memory, requiring great amounts of time and effort from the staff and faculty involved,” Neal wrote in his statement on Friday.

To handle the increased workload, Harvard hired “fact finders” to assist with the investigation, and Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds canceled a graduate seminar she had been slated to teach in the fall of 2012 in part due to the demands of the case.

Now that all verdicts have been issued, Harvard could potentially face lawsuits from aggrieved students who may claim that the Ad Board did not follow the procedures listed in the student handbook while evaluating each case.

—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at eauritt@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Jared T. Lucky can be reached at lucky@college.harvard.edu.

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