Harvard Accuses 125 Students of Cheating on Final Exam

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Memorial Church at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Updated: 6 p.m.

In what is being called the largest Ivy League cheating scandal in living memory, some 125 Harvard University undergraduates have been accused of colluding on a final exam and are being investigated by the university.

University officials have said the students may have violated a no-collaboration policy printed on the take-home test by working together to come up with answers or by copying answers from their classmates. Jay Harris, Harvard’s dean of undergraduate education, told the Boston Globe that the students’ answers were either identical or “too close for comfort.”

The potentially plagiarized answers were discovered in May by a teaching fellow who was grading the tests. Members of the school’s administrative board have spent the months since interviewing students and reviewing the exams.

In a statement, Harvard president Drew Faust said:

These allegations, if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends. We must deal with this fairly and through a deliberative process. At the same time, the scope of the allegations suggests that there is work to be done to ensure that every student at Harvard understands and embraces the values that are fundamental to its community of scholars.

According to Bloomberg News, the 125 students—out of 250 enrolled in the course—will face hearings before the board. Those found guilty could face up to a year-long suspension. The university is not releasing the names of the students in question and have declined to identify which course they were taking.

Update: The Harvard Crimson, citing several students familiar with the investigation, is reporting that the course the students are accused of cheating in was Government 1310: “Introduction to Congress” taught by Professor Matthew B. Platt. University officials have still not released the name of the course or the names of any of the students involved.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.