UPDATED: April 8, 2013, at 4:25 a.m.
Below is the text of an Aug. 16 email that was sent by Secretary of the Administrative Board John “Jay” L. Ellison to his colleagues, including the 16 resident deans. In the email, Ellison offered guidance on how to advise athletes and other students implicated in the Government 1310 cheating scandal. After obtaining the email on Aug. 30, The Crimson published parts of it on Sept. 1, and other media outlets later reported on the email as well, prompting Harvard administrators to secretly search the email accounts of the resident deans in an effort to trace the origin of the leak.
In the note, Ellison uses the acronyms “RWD,” indicating a requirement to withdraw, and “LOA,” meaning a leave of absence.
Ellison's contact information, which was printed in the footer of the letter, has been omitted.
From: Administrative Board
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:46 PM
Cc: Weissman, Ann
Subject: Case Process
We have had some feedback from students about confusing messages in reference to possible sanctions for the Gov 1310 case. We do not yet know which students might be RWD (see last message) or just placed on probation (or less) and we don’t want to act as if we have a predetermined outcome. I would anticipate that if the Board voted to RWD a student, he or she would be RWD immediately and would be eligible to return next fall. If a student were to take a leave now we would no doubt convert the leave to RWD if we voted that way. However, a student taking a leave now may, in fact, not get RWD and needs to understand that the leave may stand.
The only folks that may want to really consider an LOA are those students who know that they cheated. I think it is important for you to talk to them about being honest and forthcoming and remind them that only they know what happened but that we are working to understand it and except [sic] them to help us do just that.
Fall term athletes may also want to consider taking an LOA before their first game. The reason this matters for athletes is that once they compete one time their season counts and they would lose eligibility if they had to take a year off and return. That said, these students should be sent to Nathan Fry for advice on their options and eligibility—let’s not get into advising students on NCAA rules. Please let me know if you have any questions.
John (Jay) Ellison, PhD