More than half of the Harvard students involved in last year’s cheating scandal have been forced to withdraw from the university, according to an email sent out today to the Harvard community. The investigation into members of Government 1310: Introduction to Congress was first announced in August, after similarities were found in 125 take-home open-book final exams.
The Crimson reports that of the students initially charged by the university more than half were required to withdraw, while about half of those who are allowed to stay on campus received disciplinary probation. No actions were taken against the other students.
As Bloomberg points out, Harvard stated in August that students forced to withdraw as a result of cheating could be off campus for up to two semesters.
The recent Harvard University cheating scandal seems to be everywhere these days, and lest we forget, it’s not just affecting students in Cambridge: Its influence touches everyone in the Ivy League. An article today in The Daily Pennsylvanian takes the actions of the 125 Harvard students as an excuse to moralize about the superior virtue and integrity present in the student body of the University of Pennsylvania. As the article’s subheadline reads, “Some cite ‘cultural difference’ between the two universities.” Cultural differences between Penn and Harvard you say… Oh please, go on.
The piece is riddled with Harvard bashing from administrators and students alike, but, as noted above, the best part of it all is that they don’t just take their fellow Ivy down; they use the scandal as a way to idealize their own (eighth place) university. As one student says:
“There was a culture at Harvard where it was acceptable to collaborate on take-homes … That’s not allowed here. Students know a take-home is an exam that should be their own work.”
Yes, while Harvard students may have thought they were allowed to work with their classmates, no one needs to tell a Penn man or woman that such behavior is simply unacceptable. Collaboration? That’s not allowed at the University of Pennsylvania, everyone knows that.
A fellow student echoed the point:
“I understand the cutthroat nature of an Ivy League institution, but I’ve never felt the necessity to go beyond the realm of what is accepted.”
A Quaker can surely see the faults in others, and understand how such illicit dealings might prove tempting in order to get ahead in life, but partake in these activities? Never. Read the rest of this entry »
Paging Aaron Sorkin! Paging Aaron Sorkin!
The Intro to Congress cheating scandal has claimed its first victim: a co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team. As recently reported in The Crimson, however, the much, much bigger story is the legal strategy other students are planning against Harvard. When asked to explain why they were planning to sue, a reliable tipster told us:
MANY students have been talking about suing and many students I know, have already contacted or retained attorneys for the impending matter. What have I heard they will be suing for? Defamation, Breach of Confidentiality, among other things stemming from the actual Gov 1310 case itself. I would put the number of kids that I know personally or kids who I’ve heard who are considering suing to about 25-30
S/he pointed to a Crimson article that quotes an unnamed Resident Dean (aren’t there only twelve of them?):
What is this? RD’s commenting to school news papers about Ad Board Cases …and requesting anonymity? That’s a complete violation of our confidentiality. Today after kids read that, they were flabbergasted that an RD would even comment on such a matter, let alone do so under anonymity. Who knows what s/he told the reporter? A lot of students are going to be suing based on the breach of confidentiality alone. The shadiness of the whole debacle is ridiculous. Now we have RD’s going speaking to the Crimson and doing so under the condition of anonymity ?
We also asked the tipster (who is implicated in the scandal) if s/he is personally worried about his/her case before the Ad Board. This is what we received:
For me, I’d say yes I am worried. I discussed the exam. It’s unfortunate because the class had a nature in which many students thought it was okay. I know that people on the outside are going to think that we are just shifting blame, but you really had to experience the class for yourself to know what many students are talking about. Collaboration just..”seemed okay”, everyone did it in the course. People who took it the year before and the year before that, TFs and students, I mean, it was just so widely accepted that it “boggles the mind” (to quote Justice Scalia) that Harvard, in an attempt to paint a picture for the public, does not want to acknowledge that one of their courses was structurally ridiculous.
We hope you’re taking notes, Mr. Sorkin.
How will Harvard determine the guilt (or innocence) of students charged with cheating in last spring’s Intro to Congress course? A tipster writes in:
My Resident Dean told me that:
1. if you sat down and took the exam with others, discussed the exam with others, for whatever reason – RWD [Require to Withdraw] / Failure of the Course
2. If you received information while the exam was out, be it answers, notes, study guides, etc – RWD / Failure of the Course
3. If your overlap is because of shared notes, shared study guides, shared information before the exam – scratch or take no action
4. If you sent information, be it answers, notes, study guides, etc, while the exam was out – RWD
Most importantly, The board will not take the “culture of collaboration” that has existed in the course for many years when reaching it’s decision. They will leave the sanctioning of the course up to the government department
Interesting: My RD told me that students will have to prove their stories. If you say you shared notes…you must produce them. if you say you used study guides, you must produce them, if you said you sent an email, you must produce it – or else the board will think you’re lying. I reminded her that the ad board is not a court of law and do not have a burden of proof to meet. she said that in a case like this, you just have to prove your story
There are several reasons to doubt that Harvard’s massive plagiarism ring is as massive, or as damning, as Harvard officials suggest. It might have not have actually happened in the first place. Here’s what we know so far:
Actual evidence: Very early this morning, The Crimson updated its report to include the circumstances of the take-home, open-book exam that students currently under scrutiny took last spring. The article now indicates that, in the final hours before the exam was due, a single TF issued to a bunch of frustrated students the definition of a term that apparently was never fleshed out, or possibly even discussed, in any of the course’s materials or lectures.
This may explain how many of them employed the “same long, identical strings of words.” That doesn’t make what they did ethical, necessarily, but it weakens the theory that over a hundred students colluded to copy each others’ work.
Precedent: A handful of outlets cited Adam Wheeler’s web of deception as though the array of lies told by a mentally ill man were relevant to over a hundred people using the same language in an exam, simply because Wheeler and they attended the same university. (We’re looking at you, Bloomberg.)
A much better example is an incident that took place in 2010 at the University of Central Florida, where a business professor used statistical analysis to “prove” that 200 students had cheated on an exam. In truth, those students had studied using readily available sample questions, the same questions that the professor explicitly stated he would not use for the exam, but then did. (Which meant that he had presented someone else’s work as his own.) Read the rest of this entry »
Stuyvesant High School in New York City is known for being one of the top public schools in the county, but lately has been receiving some not so hot press for a cheating scandal that was uncovered last month. As the New York Times reports, the school found that a Stuyvesant student was taking cell phone pictures of tests and sending them, along with answers, to other students as the test was going on. So why did these high schoolers break the rules? To join the Ivy League.
Recent Stuyvesant grad Benjamin Koatz tells the Times that “when a couple of points can make the difference in getting into an Ivy League school, ‘then there is an incentive there.’”
Many students, Koatz says, come from families that tell their kids: ‘Ivy League school or bust.” In his words, at Stuyvesant, “you either go to an Ivy League school or you haven’t lived up to your potential.”
Just don’t tell that to the “more than 80 students” who applied to M.I.T., the damn underachievers.
Not Koatz though. He lived up to his potential. He’s going to Brown.
It turns out Barbara Walters isn’t the only to get into Columbia. According to the New York Post, Kazakhstan native Daniyar Nazarbayev, Columbia class of 2010 and the nephew of the president of Kazakhstan, allegedly conned his way into the university by forging paperwork from a high school in Kazakhstan he didn’t actually attend. In truth, Nazarbayev had been shipped off to get his schooling in Switzerland, but failed to graduate.
A “knowledgeable source “ tells the Post that these allegations had been reported to Columbia, but that it was “unclear” what, if any, action had been taken. Seeing as he graduated and all that, we’re going to go ahead and assume that either these charges are totally bogus or Columbia didn’t do very much. Read the rest of this entry »
Demonstrating that those cute little “Honor Codes” are no match for the ruthlessly grade-grubbing tykes of the Ivy League, somebody stole a set of Organic Chemistry exams at Princeton on Monday. The thief arrived to take the exam early (everyone else takes it today) and was probably knee-deep in the studious-kid blackmarket within minutes, bartering answers for sex, drugs, and fast cars because anyone whose vice is cheating on pre-med exams is likely wanting in the actual-vice area. Instructors pulled the ol’ “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” gambit, announcing to the entire class on Tuesday that the know exactly who did it, but are waiting to see if the guilty one is honorable enough to step forward on his own.
The teachers’ evidence? The early exam sign-out sheet, which would be the worst evidence ever, but apparently one person wrote down his name, then thought better and erased it, and never turned in an exam. The question now is whether the eraser-armed villain was dumb enough to use his real name, which would swiftly move this story from the realm of “sad grown-up optimism on the honesty of young people” to “OMG, Princeton kids are DUMB.”
According to the Daily Princetonian, students “expressed disbelief that their classmates would attempt to gain an unfair advantage on the midterm.” Please, have they never seen “The Perfect Score“? Cheating is what we smart kids do, especially when we’re Scarlett Johansson flashing our panties at a delinquent Jack Black who is busy buying beer from Tom Greene so they can steal the SAT and make love to Tom Hanks’ son in Orange County. Wait, that was, like, every teen movie in the last decade. But you can see Scarlett’s panties after the jump, if you want.
Read the rest of this entry »