Cambridge (Massachusetts): The Ivy League Harvard College apologised as it was
embroiled in a fresh controversy over how it tried to find who
leaked information about a cheating scandal to the media last
The oldest institution of higher learning in the US, the Harvard
College - one of the two schools within Harvard University giving
undergraduate degrees - founded in 1636 in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, issued a partial apology as it came under fire for
the way it handled a secret search of the e-mail accounts of 16
"A very narrow, careful, and precise subject-line search was
conducted by the University's IT department," due "to concerns
that other information -- especially student information we have a
duty to protect as private-was at risk," it said in a statement.
The statement from Deans Michael D. Smith and Evelynn M. Hammonds
stressed that the search was limited to administrative accounts,
and that it did not involve a review of e-mail content.
The search successfully identified a resident dean, who had
forwarded a confidential e-mail, according to CNN. However, after
review, school officials determined the dean in question had
committed "an inadvertent error and not an intentional breach" by
sending the message to two students.
Other resident deans were not told of the search, which was first
reported by The Boston Globe.
Last month, the school announced that more than half the students
implicated in the cheating scandal had been required to withdraw
for a time. Many others faced disciplinary probation and the
remaining were cleared.
More than a hundred students were investigated for plagiarism or
for having "inappropriately collaborated" on a course's take-home,
open-book spring final exam.
The class was Government 1310: Introduction to Congress, according
to The Harvard Crimson, the school's student newspaper.