By Cynthia Herbert :: 3:11 AM
Harvard University has admitted that it searched through the e-mail accounts and files of several employees last year while trying to discover who was leaking information to the media about a cheating scandal at the institution.
The University did not inform the employees that had their e-mail searched that it had done so until several months after the investigation had been completed. The search involved the e-mail accounts of 16 Harvard resident deans.
Resident deans serve a dual role on the Ivy League campus – both of University administrator and faculty member, as they have teaching responsibilities as well as administrative duties fulfilled by living in Harvard’s undergraduate dormitories and serving as student advisors. No resident deans, or any other employees, have been disciplined as a result of the cheating scandal.
In August of 2012, resident deans had been advised, through e-mail, how to counsel students who had been accused of cheating at the institution. Earlier reports claim that about half of all students enrolled in a large government class in the spring semester of 2012 had cheated in some fashion. The students either worked in groups, collaborated on a take-home exam, or plagiarized some materials.