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Harvard cheating scandal coverage draws criticism

Associated Press | 9/19/2012, 8:07 a.m.

Possible punishments range from a warning for a first offense, to being forced to withdraw from Harvard for a year. For those who had already graduated, their diplomas could be revoked.

Jay Harris, the dean of undergraduate education, called the episode “unprecedented in its scope and magnitude.”

“We expect to learn more about the way the course was organized and how work was approached in class and on the take-home final,” a university statement said. “That is the type of information that the process is designed to bring forward, and we will review all of the facts as they arise.”

The class met three times a week, and each student in the class was assigned to one of 10 discussion sections, each of which held weekly sessions with graduate teaching fellows. The course grade was based entirely on four take-home tests, which students had several days to complete and which were graded by the teaching fellows.

 Faust said last week that the investigative process was working. “It will, I expect, exonerate some number of these students,” Faust told the Associated Press. “The process itself, and our fidelity to this process — which transcends this incident ... that process is operating here. And it’s consistent with how it is always executed, and it is meant to affirm a set of standards we uphold for all our students.”

Though several black faculty members said they were pleased with Faust’s statements, they also said they remained appalled at the media attempts to portray the scandal as one primarily involving African Americans.