Applicants’ behavior ‘unethical at best’
By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff | March 8, 2005
Harvard Business School will reject the 119 applicants who hacked into the school’s admissions site last week, the school’s dean, Kim B. Clark, said yesterday.
”This behavior is unethical at best — a serious breach of trust that can not be countered by rationalization,” Clark said in a statement. ”Any applicant found to have done so will not be admitted to this school.”
A half dozen business schools were swamped by a wave of electronic intrusions Wednesday morning, after a computer hacker posted instructions on a BusinessWeek Online message board. Harvard is the second school to say definitively that it will deny the applications of proven hackers. The first was Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, where only one admission file was targeted.
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Clark, who said Harvard was working with ApplyYourself to determine the hackers’ identifies, rejected that distinction. ”We expect our applicants to be personally responsible for the access to the website, and for the identification and passwords they received,” he said.
One admissions consultant, Sanford Kreisberg of Cambridge Essay Service, which helps students apply to elite US business schools, said he thought Harvard was overreacting.
”What they did was stupid, but that’s all it was,” Kreisberg said. ”This seems needlessly harsh and rigid. I think it’s inflexible, and it’s wrong, and it doesn’t treat individual circumstances.”
Kreisberg said some applicants may had inadvertently tried to access the files, without realizing they were looking for confidential information, after they were e-mailed directions from other students who had copied them from the BusinessWeek message board.