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West Point expels 8 cadets, holds more than 50 back a year in cheating scandal

Army cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point stand on the field at the 118th meeting between Army and Navy at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Penn., on December 9, 2017. File Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI
Army cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point stand on the field at the 118th meeting between Army and Navy at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Penn., on December 9, 2017. File Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

April 17 (UPI) -- West Point has expelled eight cadets and held back more than 50 for a year after completing its investigation into cheating on a remote learning May calculus exam.

The U.S. Military Academy West Point investigated 73 cases of suspected cheating, a statement from the school said. Of the 73 cases, 55 admitted to cheating through the willful admissions process, which eliminated expulsion as punishment for those cadets.

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The willful admissions process has been in place as part of the West Point honor code system since 2015.

Sixty-one of the cases were fully adjudicated, according to the statement. Four cadets were acquitted by a board of their peers, and another six cadets resigned during the investigation.

Of the 61 fully adjudicated cases, eight were expelled and 51 were held back one full year, which means they will have to repeat a year of instruction, USA Today reported, adding that the cheating scandal was the worst since 1976 when 153 cadets cheated on a mechanical engineering exam.

Along with the eight expulsions and 51 held back a year, another two cadets were held back for six months, according to the academy.

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"A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do," the Cadet Honor Code states.

Five of the eight expelled cadets were offered an academy mentorship program, of whom, three accepted and two declined, the academy added. Under the mentorship program, the expelled cadets are required to serve eight to 12 months as an enlisted soldier before they can apply for readmission.

The academy also said of the 73 suspected of cheating, 52 were athletes representing 10 different teams. Now that the investigation is complete, no cadet found guilty can represent the academy in sporting events.

A review of the full honor program will be complete in October. In the meantime, the academy has decided to end the willful admissions process because it "was not meeting the desired intent of increasing self-reporting and decreasing toleration," the statement said.

The academy added that ending the program means that any honor violation could lead to expulsion.

"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," Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams said in the statement. "West Point must be the gold standard for developing Army officers. We demand nothing less than impeccable character from our graduates."

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The investigation was overseen by Army officers and civilian personnel from the academy's Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic.

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