Eight students were “separated” — meaning expelled — from the U.S. Military Academy and more than 50 students must repeat a year following a cheating scandal, academy officials announced in a statement Friday.
The academy, also called West Point for its location on the Hudson River in New York, will also end its willful admission process that allows cadets who admit to violating the honor code escape expulsion. The program, in place since 2015, was used by 55 cadets in this matter.
The incident occurred in May 2020, when 73 students allegedly violated West Point’s honor code by cheating during a remote calculus exam.
“Of the 73 cases investigated by the cadet honor committee, six cadets resigned during the investigation, an additional four cadets were acquitted by a board of their peers, and two cases were dropped due to insufficient evidence,” the statement said. “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 superintendent of the academy, Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams, in October “elevated the decision for cadets to represent the academy to his level,” the statement said. With this policy change, cadets were allowed to conduct public affairs activities, travel, and participate in clubs and sports until final adjudication.
Prior to the final adjudication, 16 cadets were competing for the academy on sports teams. No one found guilty is now representing the academy.
The cheating scandal is the worst West Point has seen since 1976, when 153 cadets resigned or were expelled after cheating on an electrical engineering exam, VOA noted in a previous article.
The service academies are highly competitive, and in return for a selective education without paying tuition, graduates are funneled into naval or military roles in the U.S. or their home country government. The academies take up to 60 international admissions each year. The first international cadet to graduate was Antonio Barrios, a Guatemalan, in 1889.