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Pfister Redefines Red Line for Cheating Scandals

"The seeds of deception and falsehood shall take no root and bear no fruit in my garden. The College is my garden."

While the Gov 1310 cheating scandal has continued for nearly as long as the Syrian civil war, Harvard administrators remain unwilling to tackle the problem head-on, citing the disaster that followed the 2003 takeover of the Philosophy Department, where suspected methods of mass cheating were sought, but never found. However, according to Donald Pfister, the new Dean of the College and Herbology professor, the administration is now keeping close tabs on the developments.

“What I’m saying is we’re monitoring that situation very carefully,” he said at a press conference in August.  “We have been very clear to the Government department, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of paper moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change the equation.”

However, now that the new academic year has started, students have begun going to class and moving paper in a variety of directions, such as up and down, side to side, or in and out of a backpack.  Experts say that if he lets such paper usage go without penalty, Pfister risks his own credibility and standing, potentially encouraging students in the future to move even more paper in even more directions without fear of reprisal. Furthermore, several critics have pointed out that paper mobility is a somewhat arbitrary criterion, since data between cheating students has been passed in many other ways, such as computer documents, phone conversations, text messages, photographs, symbols carved onto trees, and words silently mouthed across a room. 

Just yesterday, Pfister responded: “First of all, I didn’t set a red line.  The world set a red line […] when I said that my calculus would be altered by paper movage, which the overall consensus of humanity says is wrong—that’s not something I just made up.  I didn’t pick it out of thin air.” 


Furthermore, the Dean of the College and former master of Hufflepuff House laid out a new method for punishing cheaters.  Paper moving students will no longer be suspended from the College; instead, they will be forced to cross the Red Line on the MBTA in accordance with their offence. For example, if a student moved paper back and forth, she must ride the Red Line from Alewife to Braintree 500 times, if she moves paper side to side, she must cross the Red Line tracks at the Park Street station, and if she moves paper up and down, she must climb from the tracks through a ventilation duct to sunlight with only a map of Shanghai and a spare sandal to help her.

© 2013