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Over 70 West Point Cadets Accused of Cheating on Calculus Exam

Over 70 West Point Cadets Accused of Cheating on Calculus Exam

A West Point law professor called it a national security issue.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point accused over 70 cadets of cheating on a math exam, making it the school’s worst academic scandal in 45 years.

From The Associated Press:

Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt, spokesman for the academy at West Point, said Monday that 73 cadets were accused of cheating on the calculus exam in May after instructors noticed irregularities in answers. All but one were freshmen, or plebes, in a class of 1,200. The other was a sophomore.

“West Point honor code and character development program remains strong despite remote learning and the challenges brought by the pandemic,” Ophardt said. “Cadets are being held accountable for breaking the code.”

Here is the breakdown:

  • Two cases dropped due to lack of evidence
  • Four cases dropped due to cadets resigning
  • 55 cadets admitted cheating, enrolled in a six-month rehab program on ethics (remain on probation for rest of their time at West Point)
  • Three admitted cheating, but not eligible for rehab program
  • Nine accused of cheating have “administrative hearings to determine if they’ve violated the honor code and recommend penalties.” They could be expelled.

The rehabilitation program is called the Willful Admission Program. The cadets will receive “a mentor and write journals and essays on their experience.”

I saw one report say that the cadets will remain on probation for the rest of the time at West Point. Another report said just for the remainder of the year.

West Point law professor Tim Bakken described the scandal as a national security issue because a lot of these cadets climb the ladders in the military:

“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.”


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they’re only following the example set by their superiors and other role models…………

    Observer in reply to exfed. | December 22, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Yes, when generals from our military are going on television and openly boasting and laughing about how they repeatedly lied to their Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, about how they were ignoring his orders to remove troops from Afghanistan, why are we expecting any better behavior from the officers-in-training?

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Observer. | December 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm

      And those same generals have had huge investments in defense companies for the past 20 years…….

      Have they been expelled yet?

From GW code of honor…a gentleman will not lie, cheat or steal.
‘Honor Code’ would require EXPULSION if found cheating. Need to expel 74 plebes.

    MattMusson in reply to DallasMatt. | December 22, 2020 at 8:27 am

    “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

    This begs the question, how do you work for a Commander in Chief Biden who does all three?

      Easy! Those 70 are preparing for life in the military!

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to MattMusson. | December 22, 2020 at 9:36 am

      The same way one does for Obama.

      The pathetic angle of all of this is that these cadets will/may one day command/lead the sons and daughters from Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and all the other states from where recruits form the bulk of the US military. These are the kids who were raised by parents who work sunup to sundown, believe in God, help their neighbors, love their country, and teach their children values to live by. The days of Patton, Bradley and Schwarzkopf are long gone. Now we’re living with the woke military.

    Old Soldier in reply to DallasMatt. | December 22, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Washington and Lee’s Honor Code is single-sanction: violate it and you are on the street. The same should apply to the service academies and any other school that considers itself a place of serious study.

      Nah. The swamp/left/islamic axis needs corruptable US generals, like mattis and gang.

      After 8 years of obama, our military’s alliance is to thr swamp, not America.

      Take your 600 dollar covid crumbs and shut up. Or else….

      MattMusson in reply to Old Soldier. | December 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      The West Point Honor Code is administered by Cadets.

      The biggest number of reported Honor Code violations deal with Cadets having sex and lying about it.

      In this case, these Freshmen were taking an online Calculus class. This is about the blurred line between getting help from their fellows and having someone do the work for them.

        gospace in reply to MattMusson. | December 22, 2020 at 3:12 pm

        Was at one time totally administered by cadets. Lot’s more oversight- cadets seemingly were too hard on each other and actually expected athletes to adhere to the code….

        It toomk a while, but even West Point is corrupted. They should have mattis as their graduation speaker.

        Our nation is done. It’s like a bad child in prison. We need to move on, before we are trapped in what is coming.

    henrybowman in reply to DallasMatt. | December 22, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Question #21: Calculate the limit of liberty, as honor approaches zero.

Look at how sleazy our civilian leadership is. The cheaters will fit in perfectly.

And the generals/admirals who lie about wars/conflicts to enrich themselves are the perfect ones to judge these cadets. Sadly, this is far more indicative of a serious problem in our society. It is, in large part, due to not holding young people to account for their actions, sloughing off miscreant deeds as “youthful mischief”, and not allowing young people to be punished for breaking rules and laws. Programs have been instituted by the government to cover up for them (Promise Program, DACA, etc). Lead by example if you are in leadership (this IS a hint to a corrupt Congress consistently enriching themselves and their families through lobbyists).
As has always been true, YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW!

We are in deep sh*t, with so many of the supposed “best and brightest” thinking cheating is OK. So much for Duty, Honor, Country. These kids grow up watching people get away with murder, arson, violence, election fraud even. Unbelievable. Casts everything they have EVER done into question prior to admittance to West Point.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Virginia42. | December 22, 2020 at 9:53 am

    They also grow up seeing the school bully picking on the weakling, and when the weakling fights back, the weakling is punished. The bully gets none. So, they reach the conclusion you lie, cheat, push, and fight dirty to get ahead.

Sad. Once a cheater always a cheater. Integrity is hard to earn but easy to lose. Expel them all, the Dems are looking for a few “good” men 😉

    Some will learn and grow. I am reminded of one person I caught cheating on a take-home exam. I saw the student two years later at graduation. He thanked me. He told me that until that moment, he did not know anyone really cared.

    Many people strive to attain the badges of achievement, not the actual learning and accomplishment that the badges signify, because it appears that the badges are what counts.

    I see that in my workplace regularly. People are passed over for promotion because they do not have some certificate, never mind that the certificate did not exist fifteen years. In one case I know, the person passed over wrote part of the curriculum for the certificate.

      G. de La Hoya in reply to pinesol. | December 22, 2020 at 10:06 am

      I do not disagree with you that there can be exceptions to the rule. However, West Point’s integrity is now on full display. Hopefully Covid won’t be used as an excuse and justified. I don’t like it but, cheaters and a$$kissers get ahead 😉

“of cheating on the calculus exam in May after instructors noticed irregularities in answers”

Always throw in F(x) + C – you’ll never go wrong

Calculus is not going to work for everyone. Some of that may just be a matter of intellectual maturity or just not being prepared to learn at a certain time. Lack of fundamental principles is another glitch that can hinder advanced learning. If you don’t have a basis in algebra, geometry or trigonometry then you may end up with rote memorization.

In a competitive environment failure is what it is. I don’t know if they teach remedial math or fundamentals courses at the academy but, evidently they may not.

Cheating is blatant dishonesty and is proof that those so compromised are not suited for the program.

Speaking of the program… who are the math instructors and what part did they play in the story?

    alaskabob in reply to NotKennedy. | December 22, 2020 at 11:22 am

    We are talking about West Point. Getting into the Academy and “remedial” are never used in the same sentence. The coursework is very rigorous and failure can happen. At that level, failure should be from mindset rather than Intellectual inability to achieve. There is Also the pressure to place higher in ranking. one can’t cheat on the battlefield without risking lives. Sad…but washout.

    You can’t get into USMA without being at least ready for PreCalc. True even for football prospects — if their Math SAT isn’t high enough to predict success in calculus, a prospect can enlist and attend a one-year Prep School whose sole purpose is to make him college-ready in math and English. Some don’t make it.

    When I was there every cadet had to take an engineering sequence, so four semesters of calculus, up through differential equations, was required. It may be different now.

      Yes, I recall hearing about the prep school. Lots of dedicated commitment in such an environment. I was never an engineering major but still managed to get through differential equations, albeit with a B.

      Once worked with a retired 0-6, WP and a couple of other masters degrees including applied mathematics. He could speak some dialect of Chinese and was learning to read and write it, in retirement. Very smart guy–he had the very highest regard for himself and upbraided a young guy who referred to him by his first name.

      What a hoot, he said that his first name is Colonel!

empiricallyobvious | December 22, 2020 at 9:22 am

Expell them all! This is not an isolated incident. There is coordination and to use a democrat’s favorite word.. collusion! This exposes a serious character defect in these soldiers and they cannot be allowed to assume roles of power and leadership!

    That is not enough punishment!

    All these cheaters should be an enlisted soldier for at least six years!

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | December 22, 2020 at 9:57 am

      I was enlisted. Navy, but that is not pertinent to the argument I offer. What makes you think we “lowly” enlisted want cheaters in our ranks?

      Let me guess: you were an officer, and one who looked down your nose as us.

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | December 22, 2020 at 11:09 pm

        Maybe that is not what was intended by the comment. I cannot speak to the USMA, but the commissioning program I went through required me to enlist for eight years (6 active plus two in the reserves). If I earned a commission, I would be released from the enlistment contract. If I did not earn a commission, or subsequently failed to earn certain qualifications thereafter, I was liable to serve the remainder of my enlistment as per the contract. You could quit the commissioning program at any time, or be kicked out for any reason, but the enlistment obligation would remain.

        The six year term of enlistment would grant them a time to mature while serving their country. If they earned trust and respect, then perhaps they could be granted another shot at a commission, if they so desired. The point is, enlisted service would be good for them. Expelled from their commissioning program, handed-off to boot camp, and then to a good 11b 1st SGT to learn about life, respect, duty, and responsibility before being granted the high honor of leading Soldiers would be an appropriate course of action.

        Six years in an infantry squad or platoon would be a much better course of development for these cadets. It is not dishonorable. Just a better course. It is the most sure way to salvage them from a personal, professional, and even spiritual level. The whole point of the enlistment progression is to develop leaders with technical rather general academic skills. So I say, yes, send them to the ranks. It’s where they make men. If they become true leaders of men, then perhaps they take a new shot at a commission. They have demonstrated they are in need of this developmental course of action and not ready to bypass this crucial and formative experience.

        You are already supposed to be a leader when you are accepted into a commissioning program. When you demonstrate this initial assessment is incorrect, you should be sent to the best leadership development program out there – enlistment in the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or USAF.

The Friendly Grizzly | December 22, 2020 at 9:40 am

How many of these cheaters are:

a) at West Point because they are from “Good Families” * who have influence with (translation: can buy) their congressman.

b) quota admissions

* “Good Families”: old money, eastern seaboard, WASP.

The military has permanently lost its soul in the pursuit of equality. Because many initiates could not compete, physically or mentally, the standards were substantially lowered across the board, not just in the academies.

The military is now much less than it was and still falling.

whether mastery of calculus is essential for command is debatable but one thing that IS essential is trust between a commander and his subordinates–trust is a component of honor in any man’s character, indicative of commitment and loyalty

soldiers will follow and obey a commander they trust regardless of personal likes/dislikes–they will often ignore/resist/disobey a commander they distrust

if you’re willing to cheat on some damned calculus exam, in clear defiance of your personal oath, what other oath or pledge or commitment are you willing to ignore/defy/disobey in your actions as an officer?

would expel them all–no excuses–in matters of life and death, loyalty to ones principles/oath/commitments is fundamental–trust is essential

as the marines say, “semper fi”

But I bet they were up-to-date on their Diversity and Inclusion.

Expel them. Barring that, they should be shunned by the entire Corp, current and serving. You might make it through but good luck getting a promotion past butterbar.

Once upon a time WuPu put out general engineering grads for a reason – they want problem solvers.

We’ll soon find Communist Chinese money at West Point.

And Barr will announce there’s nothing to investigate.

I want a breakdown by race.

I’m a USMA graduate and a former USMA faculty member. When I see this happen it breaks my heart, but it was also predictable. I was present at USMA for the 1976 cheating scandal in electrical engineering and was part of a study group that looked at cheating by football players from 49-51. In each case, there were, and probably still are, institutional conditions and incentives for cheating.

When I was on faculty, the worst was plagiarism. The cadet honor committee routinely exonerated plagiarists based on a made-up rule about what constituted “common knowledge.” The instructors, our Dean, and our Department Heads were livid about this and resorted to the disciplinary system when the honor system routinely failed. Fine, we could give out demerits and punishment tours, and course failures, which were in our purview (sometimes the failures led to dismissal, sometimes to turnbacks or summer school). But within the Corps of Cadets there seemed to be some level of toleration for plagiarism. “There but for the grace …” etc.

The worst of it came when JAG counsels were permitted into Honor hearings. They would always fall back on the argumentum ad passiones: “do you really want to ruin this one young man’s life over this small mistake?” They were doing their job, I get it, as forceful advocates for their clients. No blame there. But they were doing so to a panel of impressionable cadets, not a board of officers. Quite an imbalance of power there, and it sent out a signal to the Corps that plagiarism would always get a pass.

Or at least they didn’t see it as a hanging offense.

The “second chance” program they seem to have now (haven’t been in touch so I’m not sure what it’s all about) might be okay under the circumstances, but I have to think about it more.

On the whole, very sad, and from my perspective, very predictable. The big ones seem to come around every 30-40 years or so, and usually because so many of the little ones get away. So much more I could write about this, but this is enough for now.

theduchessofkitty | December 22, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Remember when they had a Communist as a cadet – and then outed himself after he graduated?

Once you let in Communist traitors, everything goes, I guess…

A National Security issue, really? Allowing treasonous Senators from Oregon, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and New Jersey to select Military Academy students is a National Security threat.

I guess I’m somewhat surprised that a finding of guilt doesn’t result in automatic expulsion for the culpable party. I mean, I expect this kind of leniency in Leftist-dominated academia, not the nation’s top military academcy.

This isn’t completely on-point, but, this situation reminds me of this idiot black student at University of Virginia Law School, a few years back. This reprobate falsely accused some campus police officers of engaging in racist harassment. The student was found to have made a totally false accusation against the officers, and, despite the fact that he was aspiring to enter a profession in which honesty and truth-telling are paramount ethical foundations, in accordance with contemporary “social justice” and “Diversity” dictates, the student was not held accountable, was not expelled, and, was allowed to graduate!

We all look back with heaetbreak at our former schools. West Point now merely reflects the low society admittes as students – and the low-life politicians who got them in.

Our nation is no more. The chicomms have done with mere bribes what no military power has done.

We have to discuss a divorce to at leasr safe our own way of life.

If only Dominion was grading

Master_Of_Fumes | December 22, 2020 at 6:35 pm

Every cadet involved in the cheating should be immediately expelled from West Point and presented with a bill for the amount spent by the taxpayers on their education.

Richard Aubrey | December 23, 2020 at 7:47 am

Got my Paper by “college op”. BCT, AIT (11B), Six months at Chattahoochee High.. 71542. Not many chances to cheat.

The guy who put this together is a heck of an organizer. Do you have to be over twenty-one to be in charge of the DoJ?

Once a kid–cadets are kids–finds out “everybody’s doing it”, whatever it is seems to be legitimate.

One would think that the whole thing had some red flags as it got momentum. Where were the instructors? How many cadets knew about it and kept quiet?

OTOH, you do what you have to do to accomplish the mission and you hope nobody finds out.
As a commander I had in 70-71 said, referring to 600-200, any regulation requiring 200 amendments wasn’t all that smooth to start. For non-mil types, that’s how you know how many people show up for work. I jest, sort of. You still have to get the job done

As a multi tour combat veteran who served both as an enlisted Soldier and as an officer, I find this repugnant. I attended New Mexico Military Institute, NMMI, which was modeled on the Virginia Military Institute, VMI.

As a cadet/student we followed the same honor code; ‘a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do..’.

It isn’t that difficult. It isn’t that complicated. The point of the honor code is to remove the folks with weak moral/ethical standards BEFORE they can be commissioned as officers and BEFORE they have Soldier’s lives placed into their hands.

Hell no. Throw their butts out.

This is why the military Services are not getting Veterans to recommend the military as a career.