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Harvard students suspended in cheat scandal

About 60 students forced to withdraw from elite college after cheating on last year's final exam, university says.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2013 05:50
Reports in The Harvard Crimson linked football, baseball and hockey players to the exam cheating scandal [Reuters]

About 60 students have been forced to withdraw from Harvard University after cheating on a final exam last year in an "unprecedented" academic scandal at the prestigious school.

Harvard University said on Friday that the students were forced to withdraw from school for a period of time for cheating in a final exam in a class on Congress.

Roughly 125 undergraduates were involved in the scandal, which came to light at the end of the spring semester after a professor noticed similarities on a take-home exam that showed students worked together, even though they were instructed to work alone.

In a campus-wide email on Friday, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D Smith said the school's academic integrity board had resolved all the cases related to the cheating probe.

He said "somewhat more than half" of the cases involved students who had to withdraw from the college for a period of time.

Athletes implicated

Harvard said the length of a student's withdrawal period is usually from two to four terms. 

Of the cases left, about half of the students got disciplinary probation. The rest were not disciplined.

Some athletes at the Ivy League school became ensnared, including two basketball team co-captains whom the school scratched from its team roster in the wake of the cheating investigation.

Past reports in The Harvard Crimson also linked football, baseball and hockey players to the scandal.

Smith's said in Friday's email that the school would not discuss specific student cases. A school spokesman, citing student privacy, also would not say if any athletes had withdrawn or say which teams might have been affected.

The dean called the scale of the cheating incident "unprecedented" and said reforms were being drawn up to "promote academic integrity and a deeper understanding of it within our community.

"This is a time for communal reflection and action," he wrote. "We are responsible for creating the community in which our students study and we all thrive as scholars."

Harvard, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of the most exclusive universities in the world, with students paying about $63,000 a year to attend after winning a place in a highly competitive admissions process.

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