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Harvard Students Accused of Cheating on Final Exam

Hemera/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- Administrators at Harvard College have accused 125 students of cheating on a final exam last spring.

Officials at the prestigious university in Cambridge, Mass., said Thursday that they had found at least 125 students who they believe collaborated on a take-home final exam during the spring semester this year.

"We take academic integrity very seriously because it goes to the heart of our educational mission," Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. "Academic dishonesty cannot and will not be tolerated at Harvard."

As of now, the school noted, the cheating is simply an allegation that will continue to be investigated. An academic board pored over 250 final exams from the Introduction to Congress class taught by Professor Matthew B. Platt, according to the Harvard Crimson.

Platt noticed similarities among 10 to 20 of the exams that were turned in, and alerted the Administrative Board, which then conducted an investigation, according to the report. The board then found similarities among 125 exams.

The student newspaper described how prior to the deadline to turn in the exam, panicked students packed into the office of a teaching assistant, asking for help explaining the essay questions on the test. Platt reportedly canceled his own office hours before the due date, the Crimson noted.

The school did not release the names of the accused students, although a student told ABC News that some of the individuals who took the class might have graduated in May.

Harvard administrators said that most students there do not cheat, but that academic integrity could be stressed more on campus.

"We must also not forget that the vast majority of our students complete all their assignments honestly, diligently, and in accordance with our regulations and practices," Smith, the dean, said. "Allegations of inappropriate collaboration or plagiarism in a single class should not be allowed to diminish the good work or reputation of our outstanding student body."

The school said it will focus on spreading awareness of academic integrity this school year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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