Harvard Secretly Photographed Thousands Of Students As Part Of Study

November 6, 2014 10:13 a.m.

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.

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