West Point expels 8 cadets over cheating scandal; more than 50 must repeat a year
Eight West Point cadets have been expelled while 51 others must repeat a year of school over the academy’s biggest cheating scandal in more than 40 years.
The military school is also ending its policy that allows students who violate its honor code to stay at the academy if they admit fault and accept punishment, a program known as the Willful Admission Process.
Most of the cadets caught cheating on an online freshman calculus exam in May had enrolled in the program, which was found in a review not to have increased self-reporting of cheating.
“The tenets of honorable living remain immutable, and the outcomes of our leader development system remain the same, to graduate Army officers that live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence,” West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams said in a statement. “West Point must be the gold standard for developing Army officers. We demand nothing less than impeccable character from our graduates.”
The cheating took place while West Point students were studying remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school’s instructors initially raised accusations against 73 cadets, including 72 first-year cadets and one second-year, but two cases were dismissed due to a lack of evidence, four cadets were acquitted by a board of their peers and six cases were dismissed because the cadets resigned.
Of the 61 cadets found guilty, 51 have to redo one full year, and two have to redo six months.
In total, 52 cadets, or more than half of those caught cheating, were athletes, the majority on the football team, USA Today reported.
Fifty-five of the cadets had enrolled in the Willful Admissions Process, which has them write journals and essays calls on them to pair with a mentor and enroll in other programs.
The cadets who are allowed to stay at West Point are on probation for the rest of their time at the school.
West Point’s honor code states, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.”
Prior to the most recent cheating scandal, in 1976, more than 150 West Point third-year cadets resigned or were expelled over cheating on an electrical engineering exam.