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Harvard’s biggest cheating scandal

by EMILY BEZERRA Social Media Coordinator

   Nearly half the students in the Introduction to Congress class at Harvard University are being investigated for cheating.

   The cheating scandal focuses on 125 students. More than half of these students are varsity athletes in men’s basketball, baseball, and football. The students are being accused of plagiarizing and inappropriately collaborating with one another on a take-home exam.

   The take-home exam was an open-book, open-notes, and open-internet exam. The allegations began to surface last semester when the professor teaching the course noticed the similarities between a number of exams.

   “It’s weird hearing about a cheating scandal in Harvard because it’s such a prestigious school. I never would’ve guessed,” says sophomore Melanie Conlon.

   Several of the students began submitting anonymous statements defending themselves. They are not denying the claims made against them, but are saying “the exam made them do it” due to the confusing instructions. On the list of what is not permissible, the phrase “etc.” is used more than two times, which the students found misguiding.

   On May 14, Professor Platt, who teaches the Introduction to Congress class, wrote a letter to the university administration. In the letter, he detailed his concerns about only 13 students plagiarizing. However, as the university looked into the allegations, they found 125 students possibly guilty of cheating.

   “Everyone sees Harvard as this perfect, amazing school. This is going to ruin its reputation,” says sophomore Tina Volkmann.

   Although the cheating allegations only pertain to one undergraduate class, the Administrative Board is taking many steps to emphasize the importance of integrity amongst students. Jay Harris, dean of undergraduate education on The College Committee, is going to present a set of recommendations to reinforce the faculty’s expectations of “academic honesty.”

   The university issued a school-wide discussion on the issue, in hopes that this kind of scandal will never be an issue again. Although the course has a reputation for easy grading and little-effort required, that does not make cheating acceptable.

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