The Ivy Coach Daily

November 8, 2022

Harvard Honor Code Violations

Harvard Honor Code violations soared during the pandemic (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

It’s literally Harvard College’s motto: Veritas — as in truth. Yet an alarming number of Harvard students, or former Harvard students shall we say, don’t seem to believe in the truth. In a six-year high, during the 2020-2021 academic year, 27 Harvard undergraduate students were forced to withdraw from the institution due to honor code violations. That’s right — 27 students! Maybe it was because so many students were stuck at home that year and they though they could just plagiarize some papers off the internet? Maybe they were suffering from Covid brain fog during long quarantines? Who knows.

As Vivi E. Lu and Leah J. Teichholtz report for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “In Six-Year High, 27 Undergraduates Forced to Withdraw from Harvard in 2020-2021 Due to Honor Code Violations,” “The Honor Council heard a total of 138 academic integrity cases during the school year. The 2020-2021 school year marked the highest number of cases and withdrawals since the Honor Council came into effect in 2015. Harvard moved classes online during the 2020-2021 school year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and exams for both semesters were administered online…Ninety-nine of the 138 reviewed cases resulted in a finding of responsibility, meaning that an academic dishonesty violation did occur. According to the report, students who are forced to withdraw must be employed in a full-time, paid, non-academic job for at least six months before they can petition for readmission to Harvard. The length of withdrawal is usually between two to four terms. An additional 56 students were put on probation, a notice from the College that future violations may lead to more serious consequences. Another 10 students were admonished, a warning that falls short of probation.”

We have long said on the pages of Ivy Coach’s college admissions blog that Harvard is so hard to get into yet so easy to graduate from — due to the school’s notorious grade inflation. But, hey, we didn’t account for so many dishonest Harvard students violating the school’s honor code by plagiarizing papers and cheating on exams. We kid, we kid. We anticipate the number of students who will be forced to withdraw from Harvard will decline in the years ahead. 2020-2021 was an academic year like no other.

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