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Dozens of students withdraw in Harvard cheating scandal

BOSTON (Reuters) - As many as 60 students have been forced to withdraw from Harvard University after cheating on a final exam last year in what has become the largest academic scandal to hit the Ivy League school in recent memory.

Michael Smith, Harvard's Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, sent an email on Friday saying that more than half of the students who faced the school's Administrative Board have been suspended for a time.

Roughly 125 undergraduates were involved in the scandal, which came to light at the end of the spring semester after a professor noticed similarities on a take-home exam that showed students worked together, even though they were instructed to work alone.

The school's student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, has reported that the government class, Introduction to Congress, had 279 students enrolled.

"Somewhat more than half of the Administrative Board cases this past fall required a student to withdraw from the College for a period of time," Smith wrote. "Of the remaining cases, roughly half the students received disciplinary probation, while the balance ended in no disciplinary action."

The cases were resolved during the fall semester, which ended in December, Smith said. Suspensions depend on the student, but traditionally last two semesters and as much as four semesters.

In the last few months, the university has also worked to be clearer about the academic integrity it expects from students.

"While all the fall cases are complete, our work on academic integrity is far from done," Smith added.

(Reporting By Svea Herbst-Bayliss. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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