Around 125 Harvard students, almost half of an undergraduate class, are currently under investigation for plagiarism after university officials discovered copied and shared answers for their take-home examination.
The university refused to release the names of the students or the class which will be under inquiry, due to privacy policies. However, the school administration sent notices to the students concerned for the charges of “academic dishonesty, ranging from inappropriate collaboration to outright plagiarism,” according to a letter from the Harvard dean to the students.
In a Washington Post report, Harvard president Catharine Drew Faust said "These allegations, if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends.”
Harvard officials noted that the suspected students will have a chance to defend themselves in the investigative hearings, where the students will be called to give their statement and provide their explanation.
Harvard College Administrative Board said that if the students are found to have committed plagiarism, they could be facing a possible suspension for one year. Depending on the gravity of the offense, the board can issue a warning or force them to withdraw from their class.
In the final exams graded in May, similar answers were discovered by a professor, who reported it right away to the administration board. Harvard officials spent the whole summer reviewing all the answers, and concluded that almost half of the class had shared, copied or collaborated with their answers.
In a report for Daily Mail, it states that Harvard's official handbook has a 'no collaboration policy', which clearly declares that "...Harvard specifically instructs students to ‘assume that collaboration in the completion of assignments is prohibited unless explicitly permitted by the instructor."
University officials have not yet issued a date when the investigation will be completed. The plagiarism scandal comes at a time when the students return to their campus for their fall term.