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Nosey student lands Harvard in trouble

CAMBRIDGE — Harvard University will be stripped of four national quiz championship titles after organisers found a competitor from the Ivy League school inappropriately accessed information about questions used in the tournament.

The National Academic Quiz Tournaments said that a security review found that Harvard competitor Andy Watkins accessed pages on its administrative website just before the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Intercollegiate Championship Tournaments or “Quiz Bowls”.

“We can’t have that happen,” said Robert Hentzel, NAQT president said on Friday.

The quiz organisers said their review found that Watkins accessed Web pages that showed the first 40 characters of questions to be asked at the tournaments, though it said it had no direct or statistical evidence that Watkins and three others took advantage of their prior access in game situations.

Hentzel, the group’s president, said sometimes even the first 40 characters of a question can be telling.

At the time of the review, Watkins was working for the quiz organiser as question writer for high-school level contests. The NAQT said Watkins has been terminated as a question writer.

Watkins denied any wrongdoing.

“My immaturity damaged my much-prized relationship with NAQT and cast undue doubt on three remarkable accomplishments by three Harvard teams,” said Watkins, in a statement issued by the organisation.

“I regret my breaches of question security …. Though I know everyone will make their own judgments, I did compete in good faith.” (Reuters)

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