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Harvard dean in email search row steps down

Harvard University's undergraduate dean, who was at the center of a row over email account searches following a student cheating scandal, is resigning, the Ivy League college announced.

world Updated: May 29, 2013 20:45 IST

Harvard University's undergraduate dean, who was at the center of a row over email account searches following a student cheating scandal, is resigning, the Ivy League college announced.

Evelynn Hammonds, the first black person and first woman to hold the senior administrative post, will take a sabbatical from July 1 before returning to a teaching job in the departments of History of Science and African American Studies, the university said on its news.harvard.edu/gazette/ website Tuesday.

Hammonds said she was "looking forward to redesigning my classes in light of new technologies and modes of teaching, and I'm eager to return to my teaching and research on race, genomics and gender in science and medicine."

She was quoted by The New York Times as denying that her departure had anything to do with secret email searches into the accounts of junior staff members during the fallout of a cheating scandal.

"I was never asked to step down," she said. "I have been in discussions to return to academia and my research for some time."

The clandestine search of emails -- which Hammond reportedly approved as part of an internal probe to find out who leaked news of exam cheating last year -- were revealed in March.

The scandal involved about 70 students, who were forced to take a leave from school for collaborating or plagiarizing on a final exam in a government class last year.