Double standards: they’re not just for government anymore. The Boston Globe reported this weekend that Harvard University administrators went into resident deans’ email accounts to hunt for the person who leaked a story about massive student cheating (in a course about Congress, non-ironically) to the press.
The leaked email created a national scandal and led to disciplinary action against dozens of students. But the university administrators themselves may have committed a suspension-worthy offense when they searched deans’ emails. Harvard faculty are furious–and though the university’s policies actually allow administrators to search faculty emails in extreme circumstances, the resident deans are technically staff, not faculty.
Students who violate each others’ email privacy are routinely suspended for a semester, a year, or more by the Harvard administration. It’s also unclear what extraordinary circumstance justified the search. Finding the source of a leak about student cheating, while interesting, is not really an emergency situation.