CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard University administrators secretly searched the emails of 16 deans last fall, looking for a leak to reporters about a case of cheating, two newspapers reported.
The email accounts belonged to deans on the Administrative Board, a committee addressing the cheating, The Boston Globe and The New York Times reported, citing school officials. The deans were not warned about the email access and only one was told of the search afterward.
Harvard will not comment on personnel matters or provide additional information about the board cases that were concluded during the fall term, Michael Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said in an email Sunday. If the committee's work were compromised, Harvard College would protect the process, he said.
"Generally speaking, however, if circumstances were to arise that gave reason to believe that the Administrative Board process might have been compromised, then Harvard College would take all necessary and appropriate actions under our procedures to safeguard the integrity of that process, which is designed to protect the rights of our students to privacy and due process," he said.
Smith's office and the Harvard general counsel's office authorized the search, the Globe reported.