TRENDING NEWS:  Thursday Nov 6th, 2014

Harvard Admits to Taking Secret Photos of Students

Harvard President Drew Faust says that she takes this matter "very seriously" and will have the case reviewed

By Justin Michaels [NECN]

Harvard University has admitted to secretly taking pictures of classes in 10 lecture halls in which more than 2,000 students were enrolled as a study of classroom attendance.

The study and the photos came to light during a Tuesday night faculty meeting. It comes a year and a half after the university apparently searched thousands of Harvard email accounts secretly. That prompted the Ivy League school to implement new privacy policies on electronic communications.

Harvard President Drew Faust says that she takes this matter "very seriously" and will have the case reviewed.

The findings of the study were apparently released at a conference this fall, but the researchers never revealed how the data was collected.

The study was done by Harvard's Initiative for Learning and Teaching, which is overseen by Vice Provost Peter Bol.

Harvard issued a statement saying, "Professor Bol has reached out to every faculty member involved and has already spoken in person to all but two. He will continue that effort to ensure that the faculty have full details. In addition, he has committed to informing every student – using enrollment data – whose image may have been captured anonymously and subsequently destroyed as part of the research."

The researchers say the study was not designed to trick or identify individual students. The images apparently have all been destroyed and only the data was kept for research use.

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