Independent Report on Email Search Scandal Will Be Made Public

The Boston attorney conducting an outside investigation of Harvard’s email search scandal will share a written report of his findings with the Harvard community, according to a statement issued Friday afternoon by William F. Lee ’72, the Harvard Corporation subcommittee chair overseeing the external review.

Lee’s statement did not indicate when or how the report will be shared with various segments of the community, but it did say that the attorney, Michael B. Keating of Boston-based Foley Hoag, hopes to finish his investigation by June 30.

“At the request of a Corporation committee, Mr. Keating’s review is focusing on the facts bearing on any searches of email or email metadata done in connection with the Administrative Board proceedings relating to a take-home exam in a spring 2012 undergraduate course,” Lee wrote.

The Boston Globe first reported on March 9 that Harvard administrators had authorized secret searches of resident deans’ email accounts in an attempt to identify the source of a leak of internal communication pertaining to the Government 1310 cheating case. In a statement two days later, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith and Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds wrote that the searches had been limited to subject-line searches of the deans’ administrative accounts.

That statement contained a number of inaccuracies, and on April 2, Hammonds revealed to faculty at their monthly meeting that she had authorized a set of additional searches of both the administrative and faculty accounts of the resident dean identified by the first search. That second round of searches violated the FAS email privacy policy.

University President Drew G. Faust announced at that April 2 meeting that she had commissioned Keating to verify the findings of the University’s own initial investigation of the searches. Faust will sit alongside Lee, trial lawyer Theodore V. Wells, Jr., and Tufts University President Emeritus Lawrence S. Bacow on the special Corporation subcommittee. The Harvard Corporation is the University’s highest governing body.

New details about the report’s timing and distribution come two weeks after the FAS Docket Committee, which is responsible for setting the agenda of monthly faculty meetings, wrote an email to Faust requesting clarification about the scope, timing, and distribution of the Keating investigation. In particular the Docket Committee, which consists of three members of the elected Faculty Council, wanted to know whether or not faculty would be made privy to the final report.

Faculty members, including history professor Maya R. Jasanoff ’96, the vice-chair of the Docket Committee, said at the time that given the inaccuracies in previous administrative statements about the searches, the report would bear little weight unless shared in some way with the community.

Jasanoff said Friday evening that she was satisfied with the details offered by the Corporation.

—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at nicholasfandos@college.harvard.edu. Follow him on Twitter @npfandos.

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