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An Apology from Prof. Lodish

Shame on Professor Harvey F. Lodish for rushing to accuse students in his Cell Biology (7.06) class of cheating -- a crime of which they were totally innocent.

On March 2, the antsy Lodish declared before his class that someone had broken into the course’s computer system, and that the grades of about 20 students had been lowered while two students’ grades had been raised. He said the Dean’s Office had identified those whose grades were raised, and assured the students of 7.06 that punishment was coming to the guilty parties.

Last week, however, Lodish sheepishly admitted that students had not cheated in his class. Instead, he revealed that human error in sorting a spreadsheet caused the grade discrepancies. All 7.06 students were declared innocent of Lodish’s charges, and he apologized to the class.

But Lodish’s recklessness quickly reached far beyond 7.06. The story of the alleged cheating was broadcast on National Public Radio and also appeared in The Boston Globe. Lodish’s hasty rush to blame his own class marred the reputation of all MIT students, whose colleagues were wrongly accused in this affair.

We believe that even students not associated with the Cell Biology course have had their integrity impugned by Lodish’s rash accusations, and therefore an apology from Professor Lodish to the entire student body is necessary. Further, this sad affair should warn other Institute administrators and professors not to rush to judgment by accusing students of cheating.