Below is the text of a personal letter obtained by The Crimson this week that was sent by prominent alumnus Thomas G. Stemberg ’71 to University President Drew G. Faust. Stemberg's mailing address, which was printed in the header of the letter, has been omitted.
January 6, 2013
Drew G. Faust
Cambridge, MA 02138
Over 40 years as a student, an alumnus, and Harvard parent, I have never seen the need to write a letter of complaint. However, the University’s approach to and handling of the so-called “Congress” cheating scandal compels me to write one.
I know a number of the affected undergraduates, and my son knows many others. Yet I write this only after discussing the matter with two former Deans of Harvard College, who not only confirmed my dissatisfaction, but amplified it.
We had a professor who, like many the Faculty of Arts and Sciences assigns to teach undergraduates, was clearly not qualified to do so. After several exams for which open collaboration was encouraged, he changed the rules. One was told that on this particular take home exam, one could not collaborate with professors, teaching fellows “and others.” One would suppose this meant students.
If the message was so clearly expressed, why did some of the teaching fellows go over the exam in open session, a per se violation of the professor’s seeming intent? If they did not get the message, could one expect the students to understand it?
While some students clearly went too far, literally cutting and pasting their answers, others did no more than write answers from notes that were derived in the collaborative atmosphere the class encouraged. Itwas surely appropriate to punish the former group.
To then go through a seemingly endless judicial process that found virtually all of the latter group to be guilty, damaging the educational experience and the reputation of scores of innocent students was Orwellian. And then to let off only those students who lied and said others had copied from them insults the word VERITAS.
As an alumnus, how can one come to any conclusion other than the University has a bloated bureaucracy so intent on being politically correct, that its students and its mission are forgotten?