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Harvard students linked to cheating scandal to withdraw

In an apparent disclosure about the Harvard cheating scandal, a top university official said Friday that more than half of the Harvard students investigated by a college board have been ordered to withdraw from the school.

In an e-mail to the Harvard community, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith wrote that more than half of the students who were brought before the university’s Administration Board this fall were required to withdraw from for a period of time.

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Of the remaining cases, approximately half the students received disciplinary probation, while the rest of the cases were dismissed.

Smith’s e-mail does not explicitly address the cheating scandal that implicated about 125 Harvard students. But a Harvard official confirmed Friday that the cases in the email solely referred to one course.

In August, Harvard disclosed the cheating scandal in a Spring 2012 class. It was widely reported to be “Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.”

“Consistent with the Faculty’s rules and our obligations to our students, we do not report individual outcomes of Administrative Board cases, but only report aggregate statistics,” the e-mail said. “In that tradition, the College reports that somewhat more than half of the Administrative Board cases this past fall required a student to withdraw from the College for a period of time. Of the remaining cases, roughly half the students received disciplinary probation, while the balance ended in no disciplinary action.’’

Smith wrote that the first set of cases were decided in late September, and the remainder were resolved in December.

The e-mail said that “The time span of the resolutions in this set had an undesirable interaction with our established schedule for tuition refunds. To create a greater amount of financial equity for all students who ultimately withdrew sometime in this period, we are treating, for the purpose of calculating tuition refunds, all these students as having received a requirement to withdraw on September 30, 2012.”

In a statement released when the cheating scandal became public, Harvard president Drew Faust said that the allegations, “if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends. . . . There is work to be done to ensure that every student at Harvard understands and embraces the values that are fundamental to its community of scholars.”

As Harvard students returned to classes for the current semester, professsors included explicit instructions about collaboration on the class syllabus.

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