Harvard stripped of quiz titles amid cheating scandal
NEW YORK: Harvard University has been stripped of a string of US quiz championship titles after a cheating scandal was uncovered by organisers.
A competitor from America’s most prestigious university was found to have accessed a website that listed questions that were to be asked in the National Academic Quiz Tournament.
For three successive years, Andy Watkins, a member of Harvard’s “A” team, viewed pages that displayed the first 40 characters of forthcoming questions, tournament officials said.
Mr Watkins, who graduated in 2011, had access to the tournament database because he wrote questions for a schools quiz competition, as well as competing in the national university-age contest.
Championships awarded to the Ivy League college, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2009 and 2010, and two titles from 2011, were revoked and handed to the runners-up.
Organisers said that while they had “neither direct nor statistical evidence” Harvard had directly benefited from the security breach, “it goes against competitors’ expectations of fair play”.