More than 70 cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were accused of cheating on a math exam, the worst academic scandal since the 1970s at the Army’s premier training ground for officers.
Fifty-eight cadets admitted cheating on the exam, which was administered remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them have been enrolled in a rehabilitation program and will be on probation for the remainder of their time at the academy. Others resigned, and some face hearings that could result in their expulsion.
The scandal strikes at the heart of the academy’s reputation for rectitude, espoused by its own moral code, which is literally etched in stone:
“A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”
Tim Bakken, a law professor at West Point, called the scandal a national security issue. West Point cadets become senior leaders the nation depends on.
“There’s no excuse for cheating when the fundamental code for cadets is that they should not lie, cheat or steal,” Bakken said. “Therefore when the military tries to downplay effects of cheating at the academy, we’re really downplaying the effects on the military as a whole. We rely on the military to tell us honestly when we should fight wars, and when we can win them.”
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said West Point’s disciplinary system is effective.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Tom Vanden Brook