Edward Kennedy is Caught Cheating on an Exam and Leaves Harvard

Chatter about how Ted had been kicked out of Harvard for cheating — proof in many minds of his inferior ability — finally forced JFK to intercede.

The president summoned the Globe's top political writer, Robert Healy, to the White House, where he negotiated how the cheating news would be released. Healy insisted it go on page one, but he and his bosses agreed to blunt the impact, using the softball headline of "Ted Kennedy Tells About Harvard Examination Incident," and delaying any mention of the actual transgression until the fifth paragraph.

Kennedy entered Harvard College, and in his spring semester was assigned to the athlete-oriented Winthrop House, where his brothers had also lived. He played as a large, fearless offensive and defensive end on the freshman football team. In May 1951, anxious about maintaining his eligibility for athletics for the next year, he had a friend who was knowledgeable on the subject take his Spanish language examination for him. The two were quickly caught and expelled, but in a standard Harvard treatment for cases of this kind, they were told they could apply for readmission in a year or two after demonstrating good behavior.