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West Point concludes investigation into largest cheating scandal in past four decades

Academy won’t say how many football players were involved

The United States Military Academy, commonly known as West Point, concluded an investigation into a spring 2020 calculus exam that was the largest cheating scandal in the past four decades atf the service academy.

“Of the 73 cases investigated by the cadet honor committee, six cadets resigned during the investigation,” a news release said. Officials at the military university said “an additional four cadets were acquitted by a board of their peers, and two cases were dropped due to insufficient evidence.”

“Of the resulting 61 cases that were fully adjudicated, eight were separated, 51 were turned back one full year, and two were turned back six months,” the unsigned media relations statement said.

University officials suspended the rules to allow football players implicated in the cheating scandal to play during the 2020 season, including a bowl game. A West Point cadet told The College Fix at the time that the accommodations for the football team seemed “suspicious” but said it was a “noticeable trend.”

The honor code prohibited violators from representing the service academy.

The College Fix reached out to the West Point media relations department, asking how many of the cadets involved in the cheating scandal were football players and if they would still be allowed to play for the academy.

West Point spokesperson Elizabeth Woodruff referred The Fix back to the news release. She said that was “all the information we are releasing at this time.”

“[Superintendent Darryl Williams] changed the policy because of concerns that punishment was being implemented without consideration of chain of command input or matters of mitigation and extenuation,” the media officials said in its statement.

“Of the original 73 cadets, 52 were athletes representing 10 different teams,” the university said. “Sixteen cadets, across six athletic teams, competed prior to final adjudication,” and “no cadet found guilty is currently representing the academy.”

West Point officials also ended the willful admission process. The self-reporting process, which had been a part of the West Point honor system since 2015, eliminated separation as a punishment for cadets.

Punishment for cheating scandal

Cadets who were turned back are held under a suspended separation until graduation.

Five of the eight cadets separated from the academy agreed to participate in the academy mentorship program, according to the university. “Under this program, cadets are separated from the Academy and are required to serve for 8-12 months as an enlisted Soldier before they may apply for readmission,” West Point said. “There is no guarantee of readmission.”

The guilty cadets involved in the cheating scandal all received a “course grade of “F,” lost cadet rank, and lost privileges.”

The university said:

The full honor program review will be complete in October 2021, but in the interim, the review determined that the willful admission process was not meeting the desired intent of increasing self-reporting and decreasing toleration. Therefore, the academy has decided to end the program. Ending the program means that separation will be a potential punishment for any honor violation.

“Character development is the most important thing we do at West Point. It is critical to building leaders for our Army,” Williams said.

“The tenets of honorable living remain immutable, and the outcomes of our leader development system remain the same,” the superintendent said. The goal is “to graduate Army officers that live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence.”

MORE: Critics say remote proctoring can’t stop cheating

IMAGE: West Point/YouTube

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