Harvard Names Interim College Dean After Snooping Scandal

Harvard University named Donald Pfister interim dean of its undergraduate college after former dean Evelynn Hammonds stepped down following an e-mail snooping scandal.

Pfister is a botany professor who also serves on the disciplinary committee for Harvard Extension School, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university said today in a statement on its website. The search for a permanent successor to Hammonds will begin later this year, according to the statement.

Hammonds resigned from the post at the end of a five-year term after a report that she authorized e-mail searches to find the source of press leaks regarding the school’s response to widespread cheating on a government course exam last year. More than half of the 125 students implicated in the cheating imbroglio were forced to withdraw for as long as a year, Harvard said in February.

“I am deeply grateful to Don for agreeing to take yet another in a long line of important roles in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences,” Michael Smith, dean of the faculty, which includes most of its undergraduate teachers, said in the statement.