Harvard freshmen, in survey, acknowledge past cheating

A survey that drew responses from more than 1,300 incoming Harvard freshmen found that 10 percent admitted to cheating on an exam before coming to the school, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper reported this week.

The survey, which drew responses from nearly 80 percent of the class, also found that 42 percent admitted cheating on homework or a problem set, the newspaper reported.

The data was reported in one installment of a four-part series by the newspaper this week surveying the freshmen on various topics.


Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal called cheating at Harvard a “rare exception,” and said faculty, students, and staff are currently drafting recommendations on how to best support academic integrity on campus.

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“Even though this is a national problem, the numbers reported from the student newspaper’s informal survey align with the decision Harvard College made last year to take action,” Neal said in an e-mail.

The survey results come after a massive cheating scandal last year at Harvard.

At the end of August last year, the university said it was investigating 125 students for possible cheating on the take-home final in an introductory government class. More than half were forced to withdraw from school, while others received probation or had their cases dismissed.

Harvard was considering whether to introduce a student honor code, the Globe reported in April .


Harvard held special presentations during the summer for orientation groups on the importance of academic integrity, and teachers are being encouraged to openly discuss with students the importance of not cheating, Neal said.

Globe correspondent Jasper Craven contributed to this report. Martin Finucane can be reached at