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Harvard e-mail searches broader than first described

Harvard administrators disclosed at a faculty meeting this afternoon that their secret e-mail search last fall was broader than they initially described it in a statement on March 11.

The search was launched last fall in an effort to find the source of a leaked confidential e-mail regarding the university’s sprawling cheating scandal. It targeted 16 resident deans at the school.

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In a possible violation of university policy, all but one of those deans were left unaware of the search until early March, when the Globe approached Harvard with questions about it.

Resident deans have two Harvard e-mail accounts -- one intended to be used primarily for administrative business, another for personal and teaching-related matters.

In their statement, released two days after the search was revealed in the Globe, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael Smith and Dean of the College Evelynn Hammonds acknowledged that the deans’ e-mail accounts had been accessed. But they said the search had involved only one of the two sets of e-mail addresses -- the one primarily used for administrative correspondence.

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That apparently was incomplete. Harvard administrators said this afternoon at the meeting that least one dean -- the one who was found to have forwarded a confidential e-mail to two students -- was subject to a more extensive search. Both her accounts were examined -- a fact which she was not apprised of until today.

News of the e-mail search angered many Harvard faculty members when it broke in early March.

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