Harvard Secretly Photographed Thousands Of Students As Part Of Study

Pedestrians walk through a gate on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discov... Pedestrians walk through a gate on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered evidence they may have wrongly shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam. Harvard officials on Thursday didn't release the class subject, the students' names, or specifically how many are being investigated. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Harvard University officials dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, admitting that the school secretly photographed thousands of students last spring.

As part of a project to monitor classroom attendance, the university maintained secret a network of cameras installed around campus, The Boston Globe reported on Wednesday.

Details of the surveillance program came out as officials addressed faculty about an incident from the previous year, in which the administration had rifled through thousands of college email accounts — including 16 deans — in order to trace a media leak on a cheating scandal.

Computer science professor Harry Lewis broached the question during the faculty meeting, telling the Globe that he learned of the photo surveillance from two colleagues.

“You should do studies only with the consent of the people being studied,” Lewis told the Globe.

According to the Harvard Crimson, university President Drew Faust said the case would be reviewed by an oversight committee that was created after the email scandal.

Both the Globe and the Crimson reported that the photo surveillance was approved by Peter K. Bol, Harvard’s vice provost for advances in learning.

A Harvard spokesman said that Bol will now attempt to inform every student who was picked up by the cameras, using enrollment data, the Globe reported.

Latest Livewire

Notable Replies

  1. “You should do studies only with the consent of the people being studied,”

    It’s like the first fucking thing you learn when studying any field that involves human subjects. Sigh.

  2. Avatar for gr gr says:

    I didn’t coin the phrase, but I like “institutional memory”. One sees it again and again with bureaucracies, schools, government services. No institutional memory.

    No one ever seems to learn anything from past mistakes so as to carry the experiences forward and avoid them.

    I suspect there are people who know something is wrong, but are afraid to speak up. “Go along to get along” is the rule.

  3. Indeed. The hivemind must never be questioned.

  4. Why am I expecting them to post selfies of themselves being outraged to whatever social media thing the cool kids are using this second?

  5. Bureaucracies, schools, government services . . . voters . . .

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

6 more replies

Participants

Avatar for system1 Avatar for ncsteve Avatar for humpback Avatar for mantan Avatar for sniffit Avatar for taters Avatar for gr Avatar for dnl Avatar for occamsrazor2

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: