Allegations of widespread cheating in government class probed at Harvard
Harvard University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S., is investigating allegations of cheating on a take-home final exam in May.
August 30th, 2012
07:24 PM ET

Allegations of widespread cheating in government class probed at Harvard

By Julia Talanova and Jason Kessler, CNN

(CNN) - Harvard University is investigating allegations that almost half the students in an undergraduate class last spring may have plagiarized or "inappropriately collaborated" on their final exams, the school announced Thursday.

Following an initial investigation, Harvard's administrative board, which enforces academic regulations, undertook "a comprehensive review of the more than 250 take-home final exams" submitted at the end of a course, the school said in a statement.

The Harvard Crimson, the school's flagship student-run newspaper, identified the class in which the cheating allegedly occurred as Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.

A document on the website of Harvard's registrar's office says the class had 279 students.

"We take academic integrity very seriously because it goes to the heart of our educational mission," said Michael D. Smith, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, in a written statement.

Last semester during grading, "the faculty member teaching the course questioned the similarities between a number of exams," according to the statement.

The board then reviewed the questionable exams and interviewed the students who submitted them, eventually launching a wider review along with the class's professor, the statement said.

That review is still underway.

A copy of the take-home exam found on Harvard's website shows that it laid out a series rules for students to follow.

"The exam is completely open book, open note, open internet, etc.," the instructions begin. "However, in all other regards, this should fall under similar guidelines that apply to in-class exams. More specifically, students may not discuss the exam with others ... this includes resident tutors, writing centers, Etc."

Among the exam's questions was an essay requiring students to address the question: "Do interest groups make Congress more or less representative as an institution?"

Students had one week to complete the exam.

Matthew B. Platt, the assistant professor in the school's department of government who taught the class, did not immediately respond to a voice mail and an e-mail from CNN.

The initial reaction on campus is one of shock, according to Ben Samuels, a senior and the editor of the Harvard Crimson.

"I think we're pretty surprised by it," he said. "This appears to be on a scale that's fairly unprecedented at least from we've seen in the past."

Samuels said there had been chatter about a major cheating incident for several days prior to Thursday's announcement.

"There had been some talk that there was some sort of cheating scandal that was beyond the scope of what you would normally see," he said.

The school said those found guilty of "academic dishonesty" could be forced to withdraw from the college for a year, in addition to facing other, unspecified disciplinary actions.

"These allegations, if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends," Harvard University President Drew Faust said in a statement.

The school's fall semester begins next week.

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Filed under: Cheating • College • Policy • Practice
soundoff (356 Responses)
  1. Truth Seeker

    What's the latest update on this CNN?

    September 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  2. go cart

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    September 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  3. DIR

    Since Harvard sealed the school records of president Obama and any information that may be pertinent to the people of the USA it is safe to say Harvard is a school of lies and treachery which will soon be replacing Penn States place of disrespect and dishonesty, to further discredit the nation as a whole. It's the Harvard way! So why should't students cheat it's what Harvard actions teach!

    September 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  4. Cindy

    You have to go to Harvard to answer that question? This is a joke. And cheating over this question? This must be a joke, too.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  5. Dennis

    "Academic dishonesty"??? They cheated. Or is Harvard trying to sound more high class than what they are?

    September 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Truth Seeker

      Technically this hasn't been proven yet.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  6. Truth Seeker

    I think I NOW know why CNN is censoring even the mention of the "2004 Siemens Dog & Pony Show". Stay tuned. I wonder if CNN got money from (the foreign) Siemens corporation, in the years following 2004. This could become interesting!

    September 4, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  7. Vin

    They obviously were simply following the course material.

    September 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  8. Kevin

    Why wouldn't they cheat? Kids of all ages see time and again that lying, cheating, and general bad behavior has little consequence. Right to the top to the lies exposed by wikileaks, the world is built on lies and cheats. These kids are just getting an early start on practice

    September 4, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  9. Bob Fields

    Theodore Roosevelt said,
    "When they call the roll in the Senate, the senators do not know whether to answer 'present' or 'guilty'."

    September 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  10. Bob Fields

    Cheating at Harvard? Incredible! Oh, wait. Teddy Kennedy did it twice and was rewarded by getting elected and reelected time after time. Remember him? He was the one who killed Mary Jo Kopechkni (sp?) by driving of that bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and then swimming away while she was gasping for air before drowning. He continued to walk away and went to sleep in his bed and had his friends cover for him the next day. His family had her body flown to Pennsylvania to avoid an autopsy that could have proved that he was guilty of MURDER! Oh, yes, he did plead guilty to not reporting an accident, I forgot to mention that.

    September 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Jim C.

      Ya, and how about John Wilkes Booth? Can you believe that guy???? And Benedict Arnold!

      September 4, 2012 at 12:05 am |
      • ohwait

        Neither of whom attended Harvard.

        September 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  11. Bob Fields

    What is the difference between the students cheating and the college administration admitting totally unqualified colored student athletes into their school.

    When the administrators at the University of San Francisco finally admitted that they had accepted as students colored basketball players totally unqualified as students because of low high school grades and unbelievably low SAT scores the president of this Jesuit University closed down the basketball program for ten years. There are ball players who play for their universities for four years and are then shown the door. But now some of these lame brained players are getting attorneys and suing for a degree from their school. One example is a colored student who had his grades changed so that he could be given a full scholarship to Syracuse University. There were charges against the administrators but nothing was done about these charges even though the District Attorney wanted to bring criminal charges. BTW I am an alumni of the University of San Francisco and proud of their actions in the above case.

    September 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      "colored student"??? What – did you take a time machine from 1950s Georgia?

      September 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Archibald

      "Colored"'t heard that one in a long time. Nice to see ignorance is still alive and well in your part of the world.

      September 4, 2012 at 10:26 am |
      • JeoS

        Really? In a long time? I though the NAACP was still alive and well.

        September 4, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  12. Truth Seeker

    Let's try this again, shall we:

    "2004 Siemens S.c.i.e.n.c.e C.o.m.p.e.t.i.t.i.o.n" (look into it CNN – don't censor it!).

    Who's side are you on these days – the American people's, or a massively corrupt, foreign company who collaborated with the Nazis and used Jewish slave workers? (yes, they admitted to massive corruption in 2008).

    September 3, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  13. WWO

    I graduated from ODU (engineering) and my freshmen government final was much tougher than what was linked in the article. I understand take home tests once in a while, but a FINAL Harvard?! And some of these people end up running our country?

    September 3, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  14. J

    This is prep 101 to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.

    September 3, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • Truth Seeker

      The Winklevoss twins would love you for that one!

      September 3, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Truth Seeker

      What??? You didn't buy stock in that great company of his – that media outlets like CNN helped to HYPE into the stratosphere?

      September 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  15. Leif

    I am shocked, shocked to hear that cheating is taking place in a Harvard classroom. Next you will be telling me that politicians are corrupt.

    September 3, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  16. eroteme

    Widespread cheating being probed at Harvard. Most likely the probing is to find a good rug to sweep this mess under. May be a bit awkward because the ones doing he probing very likely cheated themselves when they were students but were either skilled enough to not be caught or were just plain lucky.

    September 3, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  17. QZ

    They practice cheating before becoming leaders.

    September 3, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  18. Joe

    The thing I cannot stand the most about the RIGHT WING is the goose stepping!!!!!!!!!!! I mean I can take all the shell game economics, voodoo financial crisis, market manipulation, but it's the long meetings and goose stepping I cannot take!!!!!

    Did I miss a meeting where in the heck did all these crack pot Tea Baggers come from?????????? Sarah Palin was their leader before I went overseas which I thought was the kiss of death

    September 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Boo Wade

      I graduated college in the 80's from a big school and cheating was common knowledge particularly with jocks and fraternities. Hell this is old news and quite common. I can't imagine taking a test home for Gods sakes.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  19. Sharkmann

    Now we know why Romney and Obama graduated!

    September 2, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • JFB

      Romney actually graduated ???

      September 3, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  20. Joe

    It's bad enough we pay people that do not have a college education less than slaves, so the least we can do is be honest about the cheating which is 100% and everyone knows it!

    Poor people are paid low wages because they cannot afford to go to college because that is a way to segregate our noble class in American society today but still pretend it's a fair & free society.

    Where are all the lawyers out there? Shame on you all, your supposed to making an argument for the indigent yet all you do is wait in line for state funded assignments to get paid!!!!!!!!!!

    It's funny anyway, why don't we all quit pretending that degree is worth the paper it's written on

    September 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  21. Joe

    So that is what goes on at the most prestigious university in the United States!


    September 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  22. Joe

    So that is what goes on at the most prestigious college in the United States, WOW


    September 2, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  23. Truth Seeker

    Someone else please type what I did below, without periods, and see what happens. Thanks.

    September 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  24. Truth Seeker

    CNN is starting to censor people just like China does!!! See below!

    September 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Sharkmann

      Yeppers, I had a #1 comment the other day and it just disappeared.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • Truth Seeker

        Have to keep an eye on this. Even though CNN is a private company and can do whatever it wants, it is already going down the drain, so these kinds of sneaky things won't help it. I have already notified the BBC and asked them to look into the censorship of my inquiry to CNN.

        Don't understand why I can't type "2004 Siemens S.c.i.e.n.c.e. C.o.m.p.e.t.i.t.i.o.n.", without the periods, in response to this article. Would like other to know about this as well and to ask CNN about it. You should keep copies of all your comments as well and try to get them restated so they post – then go after CNN for censoring your original statements.

        September 3, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  25. Mark9988

    I attended Harvard for grad school in mid 80's and we had a similar (but smaller scale) event: A take-home analytics exam where we were told you can discuss the exam with others, but each person's final result must be their own work. I allowed a student I thought was my friend to drop my exam off. Found out later he copied things that clearly were uniquely mine. There were others who also had similar work to their study groups. Result: we were told to A) confess or face expulsion and B) if you confessed you could take a different exam which was your all-or-nothing grade for the class. I reported to the dean that I thought my work had been copied and took my chances with the final. I aced it. My friend failed and was expelled.

    September 2, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  26. Truth Seeker

    September 2, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  27. Truth Seeker

    A lot can go wrong when you are in a hurry to seek your fame and fortune. I guess Harvard students are no worse, or better, than other ambitious American "geniuses"

    Still wondering why CNN won't let me type 2004 S.i.e.m.e.n.s S.c.i.e.n.c.e. C.o.m.p.e.t.i.t.i.o.n. without periods. Someone else please try this then look up what this is all about.

    Was there something special about this year? Why are you censoring people CNN?

    September 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  28. Truth Seeker

    Funny, having hard time posting the below text as one string, without periods. What gives CNN? Still helping to cover that one up?

    September 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  29. Truth Seeker

    Testing ... 2004 Siemens S.c.i.e.n.c.e C.o.m.p.e.t.i.t.i.on

    September 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  30. Truth Seeker

    Testing ... Siemens

    September 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  31. mike johnson

    ... Harvard ... who cares ... many dumb privileged kids with money. I once hired a Harvard educated architect and she was dumber than a rock ... did not even know what a building aspect ratio was and had zero concept about structural integrity of a building ... what can be built and what cannot. Have a totally different outlook on ivy league grads now ... I guess $250k does get not you what it used to.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Joe

      It's nothing more than buying a Pedigree for royalty, come on have you ever heard of Harvard Grads accomplishing anything other than running a charity or using a Legal Foundation as a front to funnel donations

      September 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  32. realtycheck

    Harvard is shocked to see the level of cheating, only abot 50%. Either Harvard is sheltered or in denial. In early 2000, Star Tribute in Minneapolis published articles that 50% of the students at Minnesota surveyed claimed that was cheating going on in class. That number raised to 70% in late 2000. The percentage is consistent to survey done in other campus. Are Harvard students that far behind in the national trend? It is difficult to believe Harvard students can be that far behind the national trend!!

    September 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

      WHAT THE HELL MEANS "250 take-home final exams"". If its taken home, it is not an exam. but a thesis or something similar!!

      By the way: now I understand why Chinese are flocking to Harvard. I would bet that a high percentage of the cheaters are foreign or home-ethnic Chinese

      September 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
      • realtycheck

        Let's not get racism in the discussion. I have taught at private, public, research intensive as well as teaching intensive universities for 30 years.Cheating is an equal opportunity affair. I caught just as many born in the U.S. good ole white kids cheated in my years of teaching.

        September 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
      • Joe

        yes, what is with the Chinese cheating statement? Where is that coming from? Anyone that has been around the world at least once knows criminals, cheating, corruption is an equal opportunity career field!

        What is that anyway? I hope it's not the latest bogey man the right wing is trying to use as a poster child to promote their latest sense of NATIONALISM so we all have to goose step behind another war for a bridge to no where!

        September 2, 2012 at 11:15 pm |

      I ASK: WHAT THE HELL MEANS "250 take-home final exams"". If its taken home, it is not an exam. but a thesis or something similar!!

      By the way: now I understand why Chinese are flocking to Harvard. I would bet that a high percentage of the cheaters are foreign or home-ethnic Chinese

      September 2, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  33. edtalk

    Cheating in academic, private or public schools, has been going on during my 30 years in college teaching. It gets worse as I spend more years in academic. However, this is not 100% the students' fault. It reflects the parents and the society. It is acceptable to cheat in the society, from the politicians, athletes, Wall Street (look at what brought our economy down),..... Then consider the panalty!! Why shouldn't the students cheat? Over a decade agon, I was asked by one of my students why we, professors, helped them cheat. I didn't know the exact motivation of the individual faculty. However, if we look the other way, it gets us better teaching evaluation and less time to defend why a student gets a C, D, or F.
    To the one who wrote about a gentlemen C, it is an acceptable A now!!! I have been taking a lot of heat by holding up the standard and create an environment that makes it hard for the students to cheat. Getting support from the administration for this is like asking for miracle. In general, the administration prefers to look the other way. The deans and presidents do not have to spend the time to defend the faculty with the parents. Every one is happy.
    Cheating in that Intro to Congress may not eventually hurt us as a society as the Congress is doing that already. What happens if this is cheating in engineering where cheating can cause hundreds of lives? How much tolerant are you willing to take? Suing is not going to correct the problem, it only makes the lawyers rich. The widespread of cheating is a result of our own selfness – to meet my own "goal" regardless what it takes or whether the action is morally and ethically justified.

    September 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Zizewitz

      As Tom Wittmann writes:

      I ASK: WHAT THE HELL MEANS "250 take-home final exams"". If its taken home, it is not an exam. but a thesis or something similar!!

      By the way: now I understand why Chinese are flocking to Harvard. I would bet that a high percentage of the cheaters are foreign or home-ethnic Chinese

      September 2, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply

      September 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  34. Easy E

    Well, the class was an Introduction to Congress...what else would you expect other than lying and cheating?

    September 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Nostradamus

      The majority of congress must be Harvard grads. They didn't even read the health care bill.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  35. eroteme

    Why the concern? Hasn't cheating become our way of life? Of course one may lose a bit if one is foolish enough to be caught, that's a no-no.

    September 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  36. razz

    Hey, a take home exam and nobody will .... cheat? Come on. I know, guide lines were posted. And breached? Wowww... what a shocker!!!! Cheating is wrong – period. A take home exam, whatever the high moral expectations of the school, is going to be a slam dunk for an A+, courtesy of countless online resources. Give proper attribution? You should! But there are so many words... There's nothing shocking here. What's exposed is naivety.

    September 2, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Lynn


      Harvard students should have been taught moral values prior to arriving. They should throw out each student proved to have been cheating. Cheating should never be "expected".

      September 2, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Joel

      The college I went to gave a lot of take home exams. Cheating was FAR from the norm, and generally on an open-ended exam, it's hard to cheat. Collaborating with others tends to lead to similar exam results, which leads to, guess what – getting caught when the instructor realizes your answers looks like those of others.

      September 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • YourFriend

        JoEl means "The Lord Is God". The name is of Hebrew origin.

        Live up to your name and be careful how you treat anything with your name on it. Try your best not to show disrespect to the word God or other older words which mean God [an example would be El]. Avoid actions like sitting on your wallet which might contain your business card or even US dollar bills/coins (that contain the word God).

        September 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  37. Oscar Pitchfork

    I'm still trying to figure out HOW in the world they can possibly think that in today's computer networking age they can assign a take-home exam, let alone a FINAL and not have this kind of collaborative activity going on. I mean, come on! This is Harvard; if they're not bright enough, they're certainly motivated enough!

    September 2, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  38. Harvey the rabbit

    Thete is no way Harvard suspends 180 students and loses their tuition money. Btw did any of them graduate from Stuyvesant? Cheating101 is taught there. Switch to NCC where a cheap but excellent education is received by all.

    September 2, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • MikeyNYC

      Are you kidding? Are you really under the delusion that Harvard wouldn't be able to make it if a few hundred students didn't pay their tuition? Harvard University has had some of the largest gifts and endowments of any university in the country, public or private and I assure you that the tuition of a few hundred students, while it may be a tidy sum, isn't a drop in the bucket when compared to the cash in Harvard's coffers.

      September 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  39. larry5

    If students are allowed to claim a "gentleman's C" instead of doing the course work just because they pay the tuition and then they seal their records upon graduation then who cars what they do our how the cheat. I think by now everyone knows what a Harvard degree is worth. Just show up with your check book and a few good references. If you do the work and show your transcripts then good for you. If you hide behind sealed records then we can all guess why.

    September 2, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  40. No Bull

    When Harvard enrols big bunches of rich kids who are there mainly due to their parents' wealth rather than their own talent, it is inevitable that the kids will buy their way to graduation.

    September 2, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • sunman42

      I think you'll find that the kids at Harvard are pretty smart, no matter what their families' income levels are. And thanks to their enormous endowment and alumni giving, they have one of the larger percentage of students getting free rides because their families bring in less than $60K a year. Can't say what the prevailing morality on cheating is, though. It would be pretty sad if they were cheating en masse on an upper-level gov final, though. Doesn't show any maturity at all.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • realtycheck

        Sad to say, students do cheat in upper level courses and graduate classes. Over a decade ago, the engineering licensing exam prohibit the use of fancy, calculators like TI 85 because of the same some people can cheat. If there is a will, there is a way. The sad part is that if the cheaters channel their energy the correct way, they could do equally well.

        September 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  41. southernwonder

    some time back i read about harvard fired its long time professor of economics, a hindu gentleman who had rendered a scholarly opinon against islam. harvard at first supported him honestly on grounds of freedom of speech, and then under saudi pressure fired him. one could see this was symptomatic and that malaise ran deep. this news of mass cheating is just another symptom, things are still much worse.

    September 2, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  42. Mike

    Does "Government 1310: Introduction to Congress" have any prerequisites? I'm thinking that it should – perhaps "GOVT 1058: Ignorance, Lies, Hogwash, and Humbug: On Truth and Knowledge in Democracies". And yes, that is a real class at Ha Ha Harvard.

    September 2, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  43. Mel

    279 students given generic content prompts and told to go off on their own and now collaborate. Why would you set up a test like that? I think I'd want to know why my kid was going to an ivy league school and getting less attention than s/he would at local community college.

    September 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Mel

      I meant "not collaborate" sorry

      September 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Ellen

      As a part-time college instructor, I gave the students a mix of in-class and outside of class work to do. I did not give take-home exams, because I never liked the extraordinary amount of work it took to write them when I was a student. Cheating is not given, and academic integrity is something that comes from the student's individual character. I did not cheat in undergraduate or graduate school, and it is not true that everyone does. I do think students sometimes blur the line on what "do your own work" means, but it's not that hard to do things with honesty. I also believe that there are a lot of students who cheat, and others who would when given the opportunity created by professors and a desire by students to excell at all costs. The desire to excell is great, it's the point where you cross the line and submit someone else's work as your own, that's the issue. I assigned in-class writing as well as longer writing assignments done outside of class, plus in-class exams had essay questions included. It's fairly easy to see a big discrepancy between the in-class work and that done at home, if the student is plagerizing or receiving assistance beyond editing. So part of the burden for this lands on the faculty, with the opportunity to cheat being taken by the individual student. Expell the students unless they can pass the "all or nothing" immiediate exam type of evaluation that was mentioned by someone here earlier. As to different cultures cheating, there is trending that shows this where collobration on exams has been part of the academic upbringing of students from other countries, they continue this in the United States even where it is not allowed. The requirement to solely come up with and present your own ideas is something that not all cultures expect, and this difference does play out in the U.S. college classroom, but it is not limited to one side of the globe. In my graduate program, one European country's students passed on all prior exams to the current crop of international students, just as a frat might do. I thought a Harvard education meant something, but I haven't been there as a student, so perhaps I am mistaken.

      September 3, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  44. jac

    Perhaps Harvard should follow the military code of honor. When I was in college ROTC we were told if we saw someone was cheating we were to stand up and tell the instructor.

    September 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Mike

      Harvard follows the Ivy League Code of Conduct – it's all about the money.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:26 am |
      • YourFriend

        MICHAEL [sometimes nicknamed MIKE] means "WHO IS LIKE GOD?". The name is of Hebrew origin. It is a rhetorical question with the answer being nobody.

        Live up to your name and be careful how you treat anything with your name on it. Try your best not to show disrespect to the word God or other older words which mean God [an example would be El]. Avoid actions like sitting on your wallet which might contain your business card or even US dollar bills/coins (that contain the word God).

        September 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Paul

      At at military academy, if one is found guility of cheating, there is only one punishment and that is expulsion. That's because when they say "unacceptable" conduct, they actually mean "unacceptable." Apparently Harvard has a different understanding of "totally unacceptable behavior" as quoted.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • YourFriend

      JAC is an indirect diminutive of “JOHN”. The name means "God Is Gracious”. The name is of middle English origin.

      Live up to your name and be careful how you treat anything with your name on it. Try your best not to show disrespect to the word God or other older words which mean God [an example would be El]. Avoid actions like sitting on your wallet which might contain your business card or even US dollar bills/coins (that contain the word God).

      September 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  45. beez

    i know romney went to harvard but i assure he never cheated on anything. he is a class act and a respectable man. obama on the other hand cheated his way thru college. he wasnt even born in the US and has convinced u idiots that he was.

    September 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Ram K Das

      Don't you have any positive thing in life rather making fun of others. Mitt Romney is a robot. He can flip flop and programmed to say anything . I do not what values he believes.

      September 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
      • digital18

        do you mean those family values you dont like or is it the hard work values you dont like or is it his strong religious values you dont like or is it his strong belief in success you dont like. i'm sure you would have been a stronger person in life if your parents had some of those values. if they did, they did not pass them on to you. sounds like you are stillo going to support that empty suit in the white house

        September 2, 2012 at 12:38 am |
      • Bob Brown

        Don't you have anything positive to say instead of making fun of others?

        September 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • necro

      mit rawmoney was borned in mexico he vulture capalis viva obama

      September 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
      • Bob Brown

        Yuu know, more people might listen to you if you could write a coherent sentence, with at least a few of the words spelled right.

        September 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • LoveSchool

      What an ignorant remark. What are you 12?

      September 2, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • MikeyNYC

      I can't believe that anyone is so ridiculously moronic as to continue to insist that Obama isn't an American citizen. I don't care if you love Obama or hate Obama, but to continue spewing nonsense only proves one thing: that perhaps its the inbreeding that has caused your IQ to remain in only double digits. Grow up!

      September 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • realtycheck

      How can you be so sure? Mitt is a politician, isin't he. Let's see his income tax returns to see if he is as honest as his father. Be a mormon does not equal to inegrity – just check the morality the mornon elders display. I know one thing for sure being a mormon – they truly believe all MEN are created equal if not better. I know, I worked with a few of them in the past.

      September 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  46. Really?

    Leave it to some Harvard prof to think he can develop a mathematical formula for Congress' activities. No wonder the kids cheated.

    September 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Mark9988

      Harvard has always prided itself on 'social engineering': the idea that the elite can engineer the world to produce the desired outcomes. This government exam shows an example of that philosophy: teaching young minds strategies for manipulating rules and voting procedures to achieve desired legislative outcomes.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  47. eroteme

    Cheating is the new American way. Although understandable, one should try not to be caught. If caught all one really needs to claim, is, "Everyone does it" and/or "Nobody's perfect".

    September 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  48. Evan

    Since this was a government course at Harvard, I'm confused. I thought cheating was a prerequisite to getting a job in government, based on observations over my lifetime. Was I mistaken?

    September 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  49. KC

    what I want to know is, are they better cheaters than everyone else?..., best and brightest right? Applying all that high powered intellect, in consortium, at beating the system. I'm buying the board game.

    September 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  50. JOH

    If you guys think this is the problem, you should do a random drug test on these Harvard kids. I guarantee you will find cocaine if you catch them at the right time.

    September 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Mike

      You mean noon on any given Sunday?

      September 2, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  51. Dave

    Hhhuummmm, "cheating in a government class" this sounds like Obama. Now I understand how he got into and graduated from Harvard...and he is improving his skills in this field at the WH. Be smart, vote for Mitt.

    September 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Quantum

      I believe you just despise the President. You have a problem. President Obama did pass his Bar Exam so did Mitt. President Obama went to Columbia University for his Undergradruate work. He did not go to Havard for his Undergraduate work.

      Please be fair to the President. President Obama just met a very hostile and bullying house of the representatives who has outrightly refused to work with him. You need to take GOVT 1310 and Prof. Platt will teach you how the Government is run and you will discover that the problem is with Congress and not with the Presendency.

      September 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • harvard student

      what a stupid comment

      September 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • realtycheck

        I am surprised a Harvard Student cannot write a complete sentence. You cannot just comment some one, don't know exactly whose comments you were referred to. May be that is why Harvard students need to cheat on the take home exam because they twitted too ofter – can't write a complete sentence or spell the entire word in 140 letters!!

        September 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Charles

      Dave "Hhhuummmm, "cheating in a government class" this sounds like Obama. Now I understand how he got into and graduated from Harvard...and he is improving his skills in this field at the WH. Be smart, vote for Mitt."

      Referring to the quote of Dave, I know where you are going, but Mitt Romney also studied and graduated from Harvard Law school... Using your quote also Mitt Romney would like to improve his field, but with the United States and middle class, the elderly, medicare, take our nation into a depression of poverty. Worst of all he recruited Paul Ryan... Be smart, don't vote for Romney...

      September 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • realtycheck

        Thumbs up to your comments, Charles.

        September 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Joel

      Um.... Mitt has 2 degrees from Harvard. Obama only has one.

      September 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  52. bob

    It's called real world. The government cheats all the time. They are just learning their abilities–or lack thereof–earlier.

    September 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  53. jltamo

    Take home exams are usually harder than a regular exam, but the cheating happens all the time ... I was cracking my head on a homework only to find out at the due date that it was the same as the previous semester and some guys had it already.

    I went to the EE grad school at UMD about the same time that the Sergey Google guy was there , probably we run into each other at the computer lab

    September 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  54. JOH

    This happens in every college in America...


    September 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • HZ

      The school I went to is routinely listed at #25 (ish) in worldwide rankings for Universities. If you got caught cheating you would be kicked out. No doubt about it. I never cheated and I only saw one kid who did once. School isn't hard when you focus on it. The trick people who go to Harvard do use is if they drop out they never admit it. They just call it 'taking time off' even if it's been 10+ years.

      September 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  55. Rick

    Typical RICH kids.....lie , cheat and steal to "get ahead".

    September 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  56. Dave

    They were all training to be lobbyists.

    September 1, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  57. N'oreaster

    Cheating on a 'take home' test? And Harvard just figured it out? I thought take home tests were left behind in the 5th grade!!

    September 1, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • jules

      Exactly. Not to mention...they were allowed to use the internet. Many students probably got information from the same websites (the first one that popped up on Google) so there would inevitably be similarities. To claim cheating on a take-home exam is pretty stupid.

      September 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • rh

      Plagiarism is a HUGE issue in academics. Many many people, especially international students, feel that it is fine. Zakaria said that "anything other than taking an entire article or book is OKAY" which is NOT TRUE. If you take an entire paragraph from another person's work, and do not attribute it, YOU ARE PLAGIARIZING.

      Zakaria compared it to sampling songs. But if someone is sampling a few bars from a song, that is fair use.

      I was reprimanded because a colleague of mine submitted an abstract that was a DIRECT copy of a paragraph from an article by another researcher, not even in our group. I was told "how could you accuse her of plagiarism?" when all I did is warn her she should paraphrase and not use the exact wording. I was the bad guy for warning her, when I could have gone directly to the organization and filed a complaint but didn't.

      When will people be educated about plagiarism?

      September 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  58. spent

    Looks like they will be prepared to occupy: Senate, House of Rep. Supreme Court, and most the White House....congratulations "student's" you have learned your lessons well.

    September 1, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  59. JMPotratz

    WOW! Imagine that? Cheating in a class of Government. Hey, they were only Practicing for their upcoming profession. Would a politician ever do anything illegal, take a bribe, or change the tax code to benefit their rich friends? Give the kids a break. One of them might be the next Mitt Rumney.

    September 1, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • jpinmiss

      Man !!!!!! Would you expect anything less ????????>??

      September 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Nancy

      I find the timing and topic of this story compelling, since both current Presidential candidates attended Harvard's Law School and are now either working at the highest level in Politics, at the Federal level , or want to work there. If there is cheating at this level, what happens in graduate and post graduate level classes? The scandal is a shame for this prestigious internationally renown university. I guess brand name education has the same problems with character as everywhere else.

      September 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  60. beez

    go figure the future domocratic party leaders are cheating to get ahead. makes you wonder what obama is going to do to try and steal this election too. more proof obama didn't earn it.

    September 1, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • BeezIsAnIdiot

      They are all democrats right? You cannot even spell that right. Obama has nothing to do with taking this test and how he got to where he is today from this class... You are a complete moron lmao. Beez = another complete idiot online.

      September 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • ray

      beez, you moron, Romney went to Harvard, too. Obviously, you didn't.

      September 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • realtycheck

      Don't forget the republican candidate Mitt Rommey, a Harvard Law and Business graduate. Republicans tend to have such short memory and vision. How sad.

      September 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  61. 2MTNTOP

    Some years back, our company administered a test to new applicants to determine their level of honesty before hiring them. After about 6 months, we stopped doing it because nearly every candidate failed the test. There were about 100 questions on the test. Here is an example of a few of the questions:

    1. You work in the company's warehouse. A product comes in that was damaged in transit. On behalf of the company, you file a claim to the insurance company which reimburses the company for the product in full. It should then be no problem, since the company got all of its money back for the product, for you or another employee to take the product home. Yes/No.

    2. You are a waiter/waitress in a restaurant. You have worked there many years. The owner has repeatedly told you that you are the restaurant's number one employee. Understanding your many years of hard work and your status as the restaurant's number one employee, it shouldn't be a problem if you treat your family to a free dinner in the restaurant every now and then. Yes/No.

    It is sad to say, but when answering questions like these, many people, seemingly smart well educated people, answer "yes". There are a whole host of nuanced questions like these that determine where each of us draw the line in our daily lives. We soon determined that dishonesty in society is not a small problem. It is an epidemic.

    September 1, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  62. ironmike

    Cheating in a government class, that sounds like extra credit to me. Seriously if these kids go to law school politics etc . Lying cheating etc are part of the job right. Secondly I thought Harvard was supposed to be hard, was supposed to be difficult . But you're given a week to answer a take home exam. People pay 50K a year to got there. A good HS student should be able to answer that question. In class no less

    September 1, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • 2MTNTOP

      One of my co-workers went to Stanford. She said the school was hard to get into - but easy once she was there. Sounds like Harvard is about the same.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:30 am |
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