Harvard: Dozens disciplined over exam cheating

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 7:04 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013
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Stemberg, a supporter of Harvard's basketball team, knows some of the students caught up in the scandal and his son knows others.

He wrote a complaint letter to Harvard's president in early January claiming that the professor who taught the government class changed the rules after several exams in which "open collaboration" was encouraged.

He alleged that for the take-home exam in question, instructions to students said they couldn't collaborate with professors, teaching fellows "and others."

"If the message was so clearly expressed, why did some of the teaching fellows go over the exam in open session ... If they did not get the message, could one expect the students to understand it?"

Stemberg went on to say that while some students "went too far, literally cutting and pasting their answers," others only wrote answers from notes "derived in the collaborative atmosphere the class encouraged."

The class was known as "Introduction to Congress," and widely seen on campus as an easy way to get a good grade.

Harvard Undergraduate Council President Tara Raghuveer said Friday that the cheating investigation has been a hot topic on campus for months. She said some students started the new school year without knowing if they'd be allowed to finish it because of the lengthy period of time the probe took.

The 20-year-old junior also said there are a lot of questions about whether the take-home exam's instructions were clear enough when it came to expectations about group work. She said both students and professors are being careful to discuss collaboration policies now.

Raghuveer also said the school community should make an effort to embrace the students who withdrew for disciplinary reasons when they come back to campus.

"The students who are implicated in this scandal from last spring still need to be recognized as members of our community ... They shouldn't feel alienated from Harvard," she said. "This was an unfortunate incident. Students are being punished accordingly."