Harvard University it has forced dozens of students to leave in the wake of a massive cheating scandal. The Ivy League institution did not say exactly how many students were disciplined and declined to address concerns that a professor and his teaching assistants were partly to blame for the academic dishonesty, The New York Times reported Friday. The dismissed students had cheated on a May 2012 take-home final exam for a government class. School administrators said last year \"nearly half\" of the 279 students in the class were suspected of cheating. Michael Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Friday wrote a letter to staff and students indicating \"somewhat more than half\" of those cases had resulted in dismissal, or an estimated 70 students in total, the Times said. The forced withdrawals are a disciplinary measure that lasts two to four semesters, after which the affected students may return to school, the newspaper said.