Harvard explains secretly searching deans emails, deemed media leak ‘inadvertent’

Harvard University searched the emails of its resident deans to find a whistle blower. Photo Credit: safrin.blogs.unhas.ac.id -
Harvard University searched the emails of its resident deans to find a whistle blower. Photo Credit: safrin.blogs.unhas.ac.id -

Harvard University officials today defended its decision to search through the emails of 16 resident deans last fall in an effort to find out who fed the media information about a cheating scandal.

The Boston Globe recently reported that administrators at Harvard University secretly searched the email accounts of resident deans last fall to find out who told the media about the school’s cheating scandal.

In September, 125 students were allegedly suspected of sharing exam answers and wrongfully working together on essays.

Today two Harvard University deans released a statement explaining that the secret searches were “very narrow, careful, and precise subject-line search” and said that none of the email content was searched.

The subject line search showed that a resident dean disciplinary email was forwarded to two students – “an inadvertent error and not an intentional breach.”

“Although the Resident Dean’s actions violated the expectations of confidentiality surrounding the Administrative Board process, those involved in the review and the conversation with the individual were sufficiently convinced that it was an inadvertent error and not an intentional breach. The judgment was made not to take further action,” the statement said.

Read the full statement on www.fas.harvard.edu.


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