REPORT
TO
THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY
BY
THE SPECIAL COMMISSION
ON
THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
 
 
 
15 DECEMBER 1976
 
 

 
 
 
THE SPECIAL COMMISSION
ON THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
 
15 December 1976  
Dear Mr. Secretary,

 

The Special Commission on the United States Military Academy has completed its examination of the Honor Code, the Honor System, and conditions surrounding the Honor System at West Point, and submits its findings and recommendations.
 
The six members of the Commission are in complete accord with respect to these findings and recommendations.

The United States Military Academy has, throughout its long history, produced leaders of the highest character and quality. West Point remains a unique institution where young men and women, in a spartan military environment, learn the academic and military skills necessary to be a professional soldier. West Point must retain its unique nature. We strongly support the United States Military Academy. This report is presented with the hope that the Academy's great strengths will be revitalized and renewed.

The cadets we met at West Point were a remarkable group, with unquestionable devotion to the Academy, the Army, and the Nation. The failure of some cadets to adhere fully to the Honor Code cannot detract from the fact that the overwhelming number of cadets are honorable men and women who will, we are certain, become fine officers in the United States Army.

With these basic thoughts in mind, the Commission makes three statements of position.

First--The Commission unanimously endorses the Honor Code as it now exists.

Second--We believe that education concerning the Honor Code has been inadequate and the administration of the Honor Code has been inconsistent and, at times, corrupt. There must be improvement in both education and administration.

Third--The Commission concurs unanimously with the actions that you have taken to provide a "second chance" for certain cadets involved in the Electrical Engineering cheating incident last spring. Moreover, the Commission believes that the same consideration should be given to all other cadets who were involved in cheating, or tolerating cheating, on the examination in question.

The Commission recognizes that there is a body of opinion that believes your action resulted in a lowering of standards at West Point. We disagree. The cadets did cheat, but were not solely at fault. Their culpability must be viewed against the unrestrained growth of the "cool-on-honor" subculture at the Academy, the widespread violations of the Honor Code, the gross inadequacies in the Honor System, the failure of the Academy to act decisively with respect to known honor problems, and the other Academy shortcomings. Your action did not condone cheating; rather, it recognized that, in light of the grave institutional responsibility, the implicated cadets should be given another opportunity to meet the ideals of the Honor Code.

The time has come to end this unfortunate episode. The Academy must recognize that it is not treating a disease that can be cured simply by isolating those who have been infected. The Academy must now acknowledge the causes of the breakdown and devote its full energies to rebuilding an improved and strengthened institution. We see nothing to be gained by further action against these cadets and much to be lost by continuing with the divisive and unrealistic attempt to purge all who have violated an Honor Code that is perceived in widely differing ways. What is needed are reform and regeneration, not retribution.

We make several recommendations designed to correct institutional shortcomings we have discerned. Many of our recommendations have been made by other bodies in the past, but were not adopted. We urge that the conclusions and recommendations of this report receive your personal and prompt attention.

The Commission received complete cooperation from those members of the Corps of Cadets with whom we were privileged to meet; from the Department of the Army; from officials of the Academy; from members of the Tactical, Academic, and Athletic Departments; from graduates; and from officers who have served in past years in various capacities at the Military Academy.

 

Sincerely,  
FRANK BORMAN
CHAIRMAN  

 

 

Honorable Martin R. Hoffmann
Secretary of the Army
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310

SPECIAL COMMISSION
ON THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
 

COLONEL FRANK BORMAN, USAF (RET.), CHAIRMAN
President and Chairman of the Board,
Eastern Airlines, Inc., Miami, Florida
 

GENERAL HAROLD K. JOHNSON, USA (RET.)
Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, July 1964-July 1968
President, Financial General Bankshares, Inc.,
Washington, D.C.
 

A. KENNETH PYE
Chancellor and Dean of the School of Law
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
 

DR. WILLIS M. TATE
President Emeritus, Southern Methodist University,
Dallas, Texas
 

BISHOP JOHN T. WALKER
Bishop Coadjutor, Episcopal Diocese of Washington,
Washington, D.C.
 

MAJOR GENERAL HOWARD S. WILCOX
Chairman of the Board of Visitors, U.S. Military Academy;
President, Howard S. Wilcox, Inc.,
Indianapolis, Indiana

 

STAFF
 
ARTHUR M. SUSSMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Jenner & Block, Chicago, Illinois
 

THOMAS E. KELLY III, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
U.S. Army Center of Military History,
Washington, D.C.
 

DENNIS GRAY, ASSISTANT TO THE CHAIRMAN
Claremont Men's College,
Claremont, California
 

ROBERT ALAN GARRETT, COUNSEL
Office of the General Counsel,
Department of the Army,
Washington, D.C.
 

HOMER J. HOLLAND, SPECIAL CONSULTANT
First National Bank of Chicago,
Chicago, Illinois
 

CW3 HARRY L. BACON, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
U.S. Military Academy
West Point, New York
 

The Commission wishes to express its appreciation to Dr. Hans Zeisel of the University of Chicago. The Commission also wishes to acknowledge and thank Ms. Sandra Christie, West Point, New York; Ms. Ruth Schwoegler, Chicago, Illinois; and Ms. Elizabeth Koger and Mrs. Sharon Standbridge, Washington, D.C., for their secretarial assistance.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 

PART ONE: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

I         THE HONOR CODE

II       THE HONOR SYSTEM

III      THE EE304 CHEATING INCIDENT.

A.   Honor System
B. The Academy Environment
C. The EE304 Examination
IV      RESPONSES TO THE QUESTIONS POSED BY THE SECRETARY

V       RECOMMENDATIONS

A. Cadets Involved in EE 304
B. The Honor Code and System
C. The Environment at West Point
D. Military Defense Counsel
PART TWO: DISCUSSION:

I        THE EE304 CHEATING INCIDENT

II       THE STATE OF HONOR AT WEST POINT

A. Academy Awareness
B. Nature and extent of Honor Violations
1. "A Cadet Will Not Lie, Cheat, or Steal
2. ". . .Nor Tolerate Those Who Do."
C. Disaffection with the Honor System
1. Cadet Honor Committee
2. Interference with "Cadet Ownership"
a. The End of the Silence
b. Reversals of Honor Committee Determinations
3. Honor Instruction
4. Application of the Honor Code
D. The "Cool-on-Honor" Subculture
III      ENVIRONMENT OF THE ACADEMY
A. Mission
B. Academic Curriculum
C. Academy Leadership
1.  The Superintendent
2.  The Academic Department
a. Dean of the Academic Board
b. The Academic Board
c. The Faculty
3. The Tactical Department
a. Commandant of Cadets
b. Tactical officers
c. Leadership Evaluation System
d. Office of Military Leadership
D. External Review
E. Cadet Schedule
PART THREE: CONCLUDING STATEMENT



  The Special Commission on the United States Military Academy was appointed by the Secretary of the Army on September 9, 1976 "to conduct a comprehensive and independent assessment of the... (EE 304) cheating incident and its underlying causes in the context of the Honor Code and Honor System and their place in the Military Academy."  
 
The Report to the Secretary of the Army, by the Special Commission, is organized into three parts. Part One states the findings and recommendations. Part Two is a discussion of supporting material. Part Three contains a concluding statement.  

  Table of Contents
PART ONE
 
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
I
 
THE HONOR CODE
"A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do." The Commission fully supports the Honor Code as a simple statement of essential standards of integrity to which every honorable person aspires. We believe that individuals are not born with honor and that its attainment is an ongoing educational process. Some are unable to accept and assimilate these values as rapidly and to as great a degree as others. Nonetheless, these ideals should be inculcated into every cadet at the United States Military Academy. It is critically important that all leaders in whom the people confer both trust and power achieve the highest degree of personal integrity.

We have been impressed by the importance attached to the Honor Code by cadets with whom we have spoken. They generally agree that the Code, insofar as it proscribes lying, stealing, and cheating, is sound and that it espouses ethical principles in which they have the strongest personal belief. Indeed, most cadets treasure the Honor Code. Many of those implicated in the Electrical Engineering 304 (EE 304) incident express support for its ideals.

One aspect of the Honor Code is not fully supported--the nontoleration clause, which as now interpreted requires a cadet to report and thereby cause the separation of another cadet for an honor violation. Many individuals are reluctant to place duty to community over loyalty to friends. This dilemma is particularly acute at West Point, where loyalty to friends is emphasized in other aspects of Academy life. Cadets generally recognize, however, that if the Honor Code is to have any meaning, they cannot ignore the dishonorable acts of others; some action on their part, to express disapproval of honor violations, is necessary. In this sense, the Commission fully supports the principle embodied in the nontoleration clause.

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II
THE HONOR SYSTEM

Despite support for the ideals of the Honor Code, cadet compliance with the Honor Code, by the Spring of 1976, had become disturbingly lax.

The number of cadets who have resigned or otherwise been separated in connection with the EE 304 incident, 134 cadets as of December 6, 1976, does not, in our opinion, reveal the true extent of honor violations in EE 304. The Commission is convinced that many cadets who either collaborated or tolerated collaboration on the EE 304 take-home examination have not been detected or punished. The Commission is equally persuaded that scores of other violations of the Honor Code have gone undetected or unpunished and that, during recent years, a substantial number of cadets have been involved in dishonesty, toleration, and, on occasion, misconduct as honor representatives.

We agree with the remarks of Academy officers who served on the internal Review Panel or Officer Boards:
 

"Cheating was not confined to EE 304 nor to the Class of 1977 . . . . [S]ufficient evidence was forthcoming that there were wide scale incidents involving academic cheating in other courses at other times." * * *

"The Class of '77 is not unique.... [C]ollaboration and toleration are common at West Point. Undoubtedly other classes have been, and still are involved in cheating on a scale at least equal to 77."

* * *

"[W]e are seeing only the tip of the cheating iceberg."

* * *

"[T]estimony... indicates that cadet cheating on the EE 304 problem is only a small corner of the total problem.... [C]heating on a large scale has gone on before in previous classes...."
 

* * *

"[P]rior to serving on an Officer Board, I was personally convinced that reports of widespread cheating were little more then legally useful propaganda, perpetrated by clever defense lawyers. I no longer believe that to be the case."

We also agree with the Cadet Honor Committee's current Vice Chairman for Investigations, who recently informed the Corps of Cadets: "There have been cases of board fixing that can be documented, not only for the past year but for the past several years. For example, during the Electrical Engineering controversy this past summer, 30 of the 35 cadets who were found guilty by Officer Boards were previously found not guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee. Testimony arising out of the Officer Boards and the Internal Review Panel this summer has indicated that many of these were tampered with at the Honor Committee Board level. One cadet found guilty in the EE 304 controversy had previously been exonerated by 8 Cadet Honor Boards in his cadet career. Strong evidence, also from the Internal Review Panel, and from the Officer Boards held over the summer, indicates that he was protected by friends on the Honor Committee. Last year 16 first classmen were forwarded to full Honor Boards, yet not one was found guilty by his peers on the 1976 Honor Committee. One was found guilty by the 1977 Honor Committee. However, in contrast to those statistics, last year 20 fourth classmen were forwarded to full Honor Boards and of these 16 were found guilty by the 1977 and 1976 Honor Committees. Now this suggests that if not board tampering that there may be just an unwillingness for a cadet to find his peer guilty, if not it does demonstrate gross inadequacies existing in the system...." (Emphasis added)   it is distressingly apparent to the Commission that the Honor System, the means by which the Code is taught, supervised and enforced, had indeed become grossly inadequate by the Spring of 1976.

Even more disturbing is that this inadequacy was known to Academy leadership well before EE 304, but no decisive action was taken. In July of 1974, the departing Superintendent of the Academy provided the incoming Superintendent with a report concerning honor at West Point. The report, which had been prepared earlier by former faculty members, concluded that the Honor System was "in trouble" and that its reclaiming would be a "formidable task." This conclusion was fully supported in a 1975 Academy study which revealed widespread disaffection with the Honor System. Nevertheless, some Academy officials persisted, even after the EE 304 incident, in publicly proclaiming the health of the Honor System.

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III
 
THE EE 304 CHEATING INCIDENT

 

Those cadets who collaborated on the EE 304 examination knew beyond any doubt that such action was prohibited. Although they may not have believed that their conduct made them morally corrupt or dishonorable, they knew it was wrong. Their action cannot be excused. But to place full blame on these cadets is to ignore institutional factors which contributed significantly to such a "choice." inadequacies in the Honor System, in the Academy environment which was to have supported this System, and in the administration of the EE 304 examination combined to make a cheating incident practically inevitable.

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A. Honor System

Perhaps the most fundamental of the Honor System's inadequacies has been the expansion of the Code well beyond its intended purpose. Cadets have been found guilty for isolated conduct which cannot fairly be characterized as having made them dishonorable. Recently, for example, a cadet who reported himself for stating that he had done 20 sit-ups, when in fact he had done only 18, was found guilty of violating the Honor Code. A similar incident had occurred in 1970. in July of 1974, a new cadet who reported himself for telling his squad leader, who "did not remember the particular incident," that he had shaved, when in fact he had not, was separated. In 1975, a third classman was found guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee of "intentionally deceiving" in that "he wore a second class dress coat to a motion picture" during the week (a regulation prohibited third classmen from attending weeknight movies).

If these cases were aberrations, our concerns would not be as great. They are, however, representative of a significant number of the approximately 180 non-EE 304 cases which have resulted in findings of guilt by the respective Cadet Honor Committees during the 1970s. The Honor Code too frequently has been interpreted and taught in a technical, highly legalistic fashion. As a result, the Honor Code's basic purpose--insuring that our military leaders are honorable men and women--has been obscured.

One of the more demoralizing shortcomings of the Honor System has been confusion and inconsistency in the interpretation and application of the Honor Code. There is evidence of a critical lack of agreement on these matters among the administration, tactical staff, faculty, Honor Committee, cadets, and alumni. For example, actions such as "bed stuffing," covering windows with blankets after "lights out," and keeping liquor in hair tonic bottles have at times been considered honor violations--depending upon who is construing the Honor Code. As an Academy Study Group noted, "Operational interpretations of the Honor Code vary widely and are modified frequently without the benefit of any regularized process...."

Far from being a statement of immutable principles, the Honor Code as defined has become a compendium of changing rules. The body which has been entrusted with the primary responsibility for interpreting and applying the Code--the Honor Committee--annually changes its leadership, thereby precluding development of a stabilizing institutional memory.

Equally troublesome is the fact that the Honor Code has been exploited as a means of enforcing regulations--a view shared by 76 percent of the Cadet Corps in 1974. Cadets and officers have taken the shortcut of placing a cadet on his honor rather than themselves assuming necessary responsibility for the enforcement of regulations. Consequently, the Honor Code, by merging with the extensive Academy regulations, has lost much of its unique meaning. It has become part of the "system to be beaten."

A rigid and narrow interpretation of what constitutes nontoleration has also been detrimental to the Honor System. Cadets who become aware of honor violations have no legitimate option other than to report the violator and to cause his separation with the possibility of enlisted
 
service. As already suggested, this sole option imposes demands on many cadets which they are unwilling to accept. Consequently, toleration has become widespread. Indeed, in 1974, 73 percent of the Corps stated that they would not report a good friend for a possible honor violation. Toleration weakens the Honor System by depriving it of a major element of enforcement. Furthermore, since the tolerator, in the eyes of the Honor Code, is as guilty as the violator, future violations by tolerators become more likely. In 1967 the Superintendent's Honor Review Committee, a group of 3 Academy officers charged with monitoring the Honor Code and System, prophetically advised the Superintendent:

"The cadets interviewed, as well as this Committee, are in agreement that any 'cheating' scandal would find its beginning in a 'toleration' situation, i.e., a cadet would observe a friend or roommate cheating but because of their closeness would not report the incident. From that point a vicious chain would gradually find its way to other cadets." Closely related to the growth of toleration has been the mandatory sanction of separation for all honor violations. The single sanction assumes that a cadet becomes instantaneously honorable upon entering the Academy; that all violations of the Honor Code are of equal gravity; and that all violators are of equal culpability. This has contributed significantly to the breakdown of nontoleration, to questionable Cadet Honor Board acquittals by a single negative vote, and, in some cases, to questionable reversals by reviewing authorities. In every other aspect of Academy life, the cadet is expected to mature and develop. Only in matters of honor has a plebe been expected to meet the same standard as a first classman.

Recognizing these problems, in early 1976, a majority of the Corps, but less than the required two-thirds, supported the end of the single sanction. Recently, after the EE 304 crisis, the Corps again voted on a proposal to eliminate mandatory separation. The proposal failed to carry by less than 1 percent. The Commission believes that Cadet Honor Boards and reviewing authorities should have available to them a range of other actions to recommend in addition to separation, including, for example, suspension, probation, or course failure.

Other shortcomings may be seen in the Cadet Honor Committee. Comprised of a limited number of first and second classmen, the Committee has been charged with almost exclusive responsibility for insuring the effectiveness of the Honor System. Some Honor Representatives have been considered overly zealous; others have been "cool-on-honor," a phrase denoting a lax attitude toward the Honor Code and System. The granting of cadet rank to the Honor Committee leaders has identified the Committee with the cadet chain of command and, therefore, the duty to enforce regulations. Such rank, we believe, is an unnecessary accompaniment to service on the Committee. By the Fall of 1974 only 41 percent of the Corps believed that the Honor Committee accurately reflected the Corps' attitude about the Honor System.

Many cadets have felt that the Honor Committee is part of the structure that has taken away "their" Honor Code. Significant changes in the Honor System have, in some instances, been made without the knowledge and approval of the Corps of Cadets. Furthermore, the dubious 11-1 acquittals, the lack of convictions for toleration, the absence of fundamental fairness in some Honor Board proceedings, and the rare convictions of first classmen have resulted in the perception of many cadets that the Honor System has been hypocritical, corrupt, and unfair.

The validity of this view was acknowledged by the current Cadet Honor Committee when it proposed several changes which were recently adopted by the Corps. The "due process" hearing is now at the Cadet Honor Board level; the Officer Board has been eliminated; a less than unanimous vote is required for a finding of guilty; and cadets other than Honor Representatives will participate in the investigation and adjudication of honor violations. We have some reservations about the specifics of these changes; however, we agree with their purpose.

Another problem has been the failure of Academy officers to participate fully in the Honor System. Responsibility for honor education, for example, has been placed almost completely in the hands of the Cadet Honor Committee; in 1974 less than 1 percent of the Corps believed that they had gained most of their knowledge about the Honor Code and System from tactical officers and professors. The Academic Department has made little effort in the curriculum to assist cadets in discerning and coping with the moral dilemmas that inevitably confront individuals in general and military officers in particular.

Because of preoccupation with the notion that reform must be initiated by the Corps if the Honor Code and System are to be accepted, the Academy had not assumed sufficient responsibility for insuring that needed changes were effected. The role of the Academy's officers had largely been confined to reporting honor violations or reviewing Cadet Honor Board adjudications.

The lack of officer involvement in the Honor System is consistent with the Academy's apparent policy of placing more responsibility on the cadets themselves in every aspect of cadet life. This lack of involvement contributed to the belief that the Honor Code and System belong exclusively or primarily to the cadets and that any participation by officers constituted interference. This, in turn, generated cadet antagonism when decisions by the Superintendent and Officer Boards differed from Cadet Honor Committee determinations.

These inadequacies have combined to foster cadet cynicism toward and estrangement from the Honor System, thereby weakening the System itself. There has developed within the Corps what has been referred to as a "cool-on-honor" subculture--a largely unorganized group of cadets who justify certain honor violations and "beating" the Honor System. This subculture and its accompanying peer pressure have influenced many additional cadets to commit honor violations. In some instances the Academy's Leadership Evaluation System has been used by cadets to enforce at least toleration of the subculture. With each violation, the subculture grew and its influence became more formidable.

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B. Academy Environment

The inadequacies in the Honor System cannot be viewed in isolation. if the System is to operate effectively, the total setting must be supportive. Factors such as the rapid growth in Corps size from 2,500 in 1964 to its current strength of 4,400, instability caused by the modification of some Academy traditions, and certain societal attitudes and turmoil may have militated against this support. While we recognize the influence of these factors, we believe other institutional problems were the primary causes of the erosion of respect for the Honor System.

There has, for example, been serious disagreement over the proper role of education in the mission of the Academy: Should West Point train combat leaders for immediate service in junior ranks, or should it provide the fundamental education and study to allow graduates (a) to assimilate quickly the special skills required for junior officer service in the basic branches of the Army, and (b) after experience and further study, to provide the senior military leadership on which the nation depends for its security. We are convinced that the acquisition of a college education within a military environment must, during the academic year, have first call on the time and energies of each cadet; military training should be concentrated in the summer months. The failure of Academy constituencies to agree on the relative importance of the educational component of the mission has hindered the development of an academic atmosphere which discourages dishonesty.

Development of such an atmosphere has also been impeded by the failure to determine priorities among competing claims on cadets' time. Prior to curriculum changes adopted this Fall, cadets needed far more credit hours to graduate than are required by most institutions of higher education. The academic pressures have been intensified by the increase, during the academic year, of military and physical training and cadet leadership responsibilities. In excess of two-thirds of the cadets surveyed in 1975 stated that they did not have sufficient time to satisfy overall demands. While cadets may not have been overworked, they clearly have been overscheduled. The result, as well described by a recent honor graduate, has been that:
 

"In the present West Point system, mediocrity is not a choice for it is the sole alternative. It is not surprising that in an atmosphere of nonstop running and meeting deadlines that conformity and mere adequacy march to the forefront hand-in-hand." The Academy has not been structured in such a way as to encourage academic excellence. Superintendents have often been selected primarily for their military leadership abilities; because of their limited tour length, they have frequently not had the opportunity to become effective educational leaders. Furthermore, Superintendents have not, in most cases, been given an adequate voice in the selection of other Academy leaders such as the Dean, the Commandant, and members of the Academic Board. Nor has the Academy had the benefit of the continuing advice provided most institutions of higher education by their boards of trustees.

Equally troublesome has been the failure to develop an appropriate state of discipline. In recent years, the Academy has delegated much of the authority for supervising cadets to the cadet chain of command. This has had the effect not only of increasing the time pressures on some cadets, but also of weakening the state of discipline. Confusion over the proper role of the company tactical officer has further contributed to this problem. By law, the tactical officer is the company commander. While all cadets and officers have some responsibility for discipline, the tactical officer must ensure that the Academy's high standards of discipline are met.

Finally, adherence to the Honor Code is more difficult when cadets perceive dishonesty around them. The standards of the Academy have appropriately been set at a level much higher than the lowest common denominator of society at large and, for that matter, of the "real Army."

While the so-called "double standard" can be disillusioning, its existence must be acknowledged. West Point, however, has always and must continue to set the standards for the Army. It is of utmost importance that every officer at the Academy lead by example; they, in particular, must aspire to the high ideals of the Honor Code if the cadets are to do so. The degree to which Academy officers at different echelons have, in fact, demonstrated such leadership is open to question. Clearly, cadets have perceived failure on the part of some.

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C. The EE 304 Examination

The nature of EE 304 as well as the method of administering the take-home examination contributed, perhaps most directly, to the occurrence and magnitude of the cheating incident.

In our opinion, allowing 823 cadets 2 weeks to solve an out-of-class examination in a course for which the relevance had not been established by the Department and which was almost universally disdained by cadets as irrelevant and "spec and dump" (memorize and forget) placed unwise and unnecessary temptation before each cadet. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that, throughout the EE 304 course, cadets had been allowed and even encouraged to collaborate on home-study problems similar to that of the March 3 and 4 examination. Indeed, not only was one such problem due on the same day, but the second part of the examination also permitted collaboration. It became common practice for cadets--who had difficulty with their problems or who simply did not have the time or motivation to complete them--to go to the room of an individual known to be proficient in Electrical Engineering, take his EE notebook, and extract the needed information. Such action, which inevitably increased dependency on collaboration, had never been considered a violation of the Honor Code or, for that matter, any regulation.

We agree with the statement of a former Commandant of Cadets who advised the Commission:

"In my view the [Electrical Engineering] Department invited violations of the Code by the manner in which it administered EE 304. At the very least, it placed the cadets under great pressure, needlessly." Implicitly acknowledging the shortcomings of the EE 304 pedagogy, the Academy changed the rules for take-home assignments shortly after the EE 304 incident. Henceforth, cadets will be allowed to seek assistance, provided its nature and extent are clearly indicated on the paper. We are, however, troubled by the fact that some academic authorities, despite the change, see nothing wrong in the manner the EE 304 examination was administered.

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IV
 
RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS POSED BY THE SECRETARY

 

In the mandate establishing this Commission the Secretary posed eight questions. We have discussed these basic and essential queries elsewhere in this report. Nevertheless, in view of their importance, direct answers are provided at this point.

1. What were the causative and contributing factors underlying the recent Electrical Engineering 304 cheating incident? The EE 304 incident resulted from a progressive decay in individual respect for and adherence to the Honor Code. While specific conditions involving the nature of EE 304 and the administration of the examination are directly responsible for the occurrence and magnitude of the incident, underlying institutional deficiencies, including those related specifically to the Honor Code and System, contributed to the general conditions making it more likely that an incident of this kind would take place. 2. Does the Honor Code and System impose a realistic and reasonable set of standards? The Honor Code establishes a set of standards for integrity and self-discipline that should be the constant objective of every honorable person. It is the belief of many cadets that they can adhere and are in fact adhering to the Honor Code. In contrast, the Honor System, as presently interpreted and administered, is neither realistic nor reasonable. 3. Is the Honor Code accepted by cadets as a way of life or do cadets adhere to it merely because of the consequences of a violation? It is impossible to answer the question as to all cadets. Some cadets do adhere to the Code because they genuinely accept it. Some do so because they fear the consequences of a violation. Some comply for a combination of these reasons. Other cadets, at least until the EE 304 incident, neither complied fully with the Code nor believed that the System gave them any real cause to fear the consequences of a violation. 4. Are high standards of moral and ethical conduct emphasized in all aspects of cadet life? High standards of moral and ethical conduct are expected of all cadets at West Point. However, the core curriculum does not provide an educational basis for a cadet to develop an understanding of ethical conduct. In this sense, high standards of moral and ethical conduct are not appropriately emphasized. 5. Are the pressures on cadets generated by the academic, athletic, and military training at the Academy realistic and do they contribute effectively to the mission of the Academy? The combination of academic study, athletics, and military training (including cadet chain of command duties) at the Academy imposes unrealistically heavy pressures on many cadets. There is at present no effective means of establishing priorities among the departments competing for cadet time. 6. Is the ethical base adequately provided for cadets to develop a strong sense of integrity, exclusive of the Honor Code and System?   No.

7. Does the institution in its structure, its policies and doctrine, and in its operation appropriately support the Cadet Honor Code and System?

No. The Honor Code belongs to every person who values personal integrity. The entire institution must take a strong role in the development of the honor concept, the implementation of Honor System procedures, and the ultimate review of the exercise of cadet responsibilities. Recent history demonstrates that, in some respects, the Academy by its structure, policies, and doctrine has not appropriately supported the Honor Code and System.

  8. Is there sufficient emphasis and effectiveness in formal instruction on honor matters at the Academy?
No. Honor instruction to the extent it exists has been almost totally handled by the Cadet Honor Committee. There must be instruction in ethics introduced into the core curriculum, to provide a base for continuing instruction in honor matters.
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V
 
RECOMMENDATIONS

  A. Cadets involved in EE 304

The Commission has considered its primary responsibility to formulate recommendations concerning the institutional deficiencies it has found to exist. Unlike many other advisory bodies, however, this Commission has undertaken its work during the very crisis studied. It has thus been impossible to ignore the most fundamental question raised by this entire matter--what must be done with respect to the cadets involved in EE 304.

At the outset, we emphasize our strong support for the Secretary of the Army's August 23, 1976 policy to allow readmission of separated cadets. In recognizing the extraordinary nature of the situation, the Secretary, we believe, acted wisely and compassionately. The cadets did cheat, but were not solely at fault. Their culpability must be viewed against the unrestrained growth of the "cool-on-honor" subculture at the Academy, the widespread violations of the Honor Code, the gross inadequacies in the Honor System, the failure of the Academy to act decisively with respect to known honor problems, and the other Academy shortcomings. The Secretary's action did not condone cheating; rather, it recognized that, in light of the grave institutional responsibility, the implicated cadets should be given another opportunity to meet the ideals of the Honor Code.

The time has come to end this unfortunate episode. The Academy must recognize that it is not treating a disease that can be cured simply by isolating those who have been infected. The Academy must now acknowledge the causes of the breakdown and devote its full energies to rebuilding an improved and strengthened institution. We see nothing to be gained by further action against these cadets and much to be lost by continuing with the divisive and unrealistic attempt to purge all who have violated an Honor Code that is perceived in widely differing ways. What is needed are reform and regeneration, not retribution.

Under these circumstances, we must recommend, as to those cadets implicated in connection with the EE 304 incident, that:

1. All such cadets who left the Academy should be allowed to return to the Academy as soon as possible;   2. All such cadets presently at the Academy, whose separations have not yet been effected, should be allowed to remain at the Academy; and

3. All investigations of such cadets based upon allegations in the affidavits should cease.

We stress that the implicated cadets came from a cross section of the Corps; indeed, some had been leaders of their class. We do not believe that the single act of collaborating on the EE 304 examination makes these cadets unworthy of becoming West Point graduates. The Superintendent, speaking to a group of these cadets on August 28, 1976, expressed our feeling: "[I]f one has been found to have violated the Honor Code, in this case by cheating on EE 304, I think that was the wrong decision that the individual made; I think that under the terms of the Honor Code it can be called a dishonorable act; but as I look at those of you whom I know, I do not think that that one error in itself means that you are a dishonorable man--not at all." Moreover, punishment or continued punishment of these persons can no longer be justified knowing, as we do now, that a substantial number of even more culpable cadets have gone undetected or unpunished. As one member of the Cadet Honor Committee perceptively remarked, if the separated cadets are to be "branded," they ought to be branded only as "the ones who got caught."

We recognize that some of the implicated cadets undoubtedly deserved to have been expelled long ago. The Academy, however, has not, in its procedures, distinguished between such cadets and other highly motivated young men who became entangled in this affair. Failure to do justice to some should not be allowed to preclude mercy to others. All of the cadets should have a final opportunity to prove that they are indeed honorable or, conversely for some, to prove that they are not.

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B. The Honor Code and System

With respect to the Honor Code and System, the Commission makes the following recommendations:

1. The Honor Code should be retained in its present form: A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do."

2. The nontoleration clause should be retained. However, a cadet should have options in addition to reporting an honor violation. A cadet who perceives a violation must counsel, warn, or report the violator. Some action is required, as distinguished from tacit acquiescence.

3. Sanctions other than dismissal should be authorized for violations of the Honor Code. The Cadet Honor Committee and reviewing authorities should be authorized to consider the facts and circumstances of each case to determine an appropriate penalty. Any recommendation less than separation should be fully justified. Cadets who are separated should not be required to serve on active duty as a result of their separation.

4. All officers and cadets at the Academy must understand the fundamentals which underlie the importance of the Honor Code and the health of the Honor System:
 

a. The Honor Code must be viewed as a goal toward which every honorable person aspires, and not as a minimum standard of behavior for cadets alone. Furthermore, its proscriptions do not encompass all forms of dishonorable conduct; the test of whether conduct is honorable or dishonorable does not depend solely upon whether it is proscribed by the Honor Code.

b. The Honor Code must not be extended beyond its intended purpose of insuring that only honorable individuals become Academy graduates. Nor should it be exploited as a means of enforcing regulations.

c. The Honor Code and Honor System must be considered the joint responsibility of all cadets and all officers at the Academy. It must be understood that the Superintendent has the responsibility of reviewing and, if necessary, reversing cadet honor determinations. No one "owns" the Honor Code. Everyone must work to insure the effectiveness of the Honor System.

5. The Academy should seek ways to insure that the above fundamentals work on a continuing basis. As a minimum, the following should be accomplished:
  a. There must be academic instruction which provides an intellectual base for character development. All cadets should be required, early in their careers at West Point, to begin formal ethics study. This study, which must be part of the core curriculum, should include those ethical problems likely to be faced by a military officer. Ethics should be stressed throughout the entire curriculum and by all constituencies at West Point: Academic, Tactical, Athletic, and Administrative.

b. The content of honor instruction must emphasize the spirit of the Honor Code. A "cook book" approach makes the Code equivalent to another regulation.

c. The method of honor instruction and the environment in which it is conducted must be improved.

d. There must be greater participation by all cadets and officers in the operation of the Honor System. Cadet rank should not be awarded for Honor Committee service.

e. The Superintendent's Honor Review Committee should be continued, but its membership should include cadets and alumni. The Committee should meet at least annually with the mission of guarding the Honor Code against misuse, misinterpretation, and inconsistent interpretation. The Committee should have the ultimate power to interpret the Honor Code.

f. An officer should be appointed to advise the Cadet Honor Committee and the Superintendent's Honor Review Committee. This officer should report to the Academic Board (and not the Commandant alone) concerning all honor matters. Continuity is required in this position.

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C. The Environment of West Point

  With respect to the environment of the Academy, the Commission makes the following recommendations:
  Table of Contents  
 
D. Military Defense Counsel

We are disturbed by allegations that several military defense counsel suffered harassment and injury to their Army careers because of their vigorous defense of cadets. Inasmuch as the Secretary of the Army had commenced an investigation into these charges, we did not review these allegations in depth.

The defense function places counsel in an adversary relationship with West Point--the institution that seeks to discipline or otherwise punish his client. This adversary relationship is too often viewed as an act of disloyalty. A cadet client should feel secure that the legal defense presented is in no way compromised by the lawyer's fear of adverse personnel actions.

The present system of having the same officer teach law and act as defense counsel places him in the difficult position of attacking the basic policies of the institution to which he owes allegiance in his role as a faculty member. As a partial solution the Commission makes the following recommendations:

1. Judge Advocates who defend cadets should have no teaching duties.

2. Military leadership courses should include examination of the role of the lawyer as an advisor to the commander and the role of defense counsel in the justice system.
 

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PART TWO
 
DISCUSSION
 
I

 

THE EE 304 CHEATING INCIDENT

On March 3 and 4, 1976, the Electrical Engineering 304 instructors gave 823 second classmen a take-home computer examination which was worth approximately 5 percent of their semester grade. The only second classmen not given this exam were those cadets in the top academic sections of EE 304. The instructions which accompanied the examination were clear:

"There will be no collaboration on Part I of this problem (Part II will be done as a team project and appropriate collaboration instructions will be issued with Part II). Upon issuance of this problem there will be no discussion of the problem with anyone except Department of Electrical Engineering instructors ...."(Emphasis in original) When the EE 304 papers were returned on March 17 and 18, 1976, one cadet wrote on his exam that he had, in violation of the instructions, received assistance. Similarities were then detected in other exam papers and, consequently, the head of the Electrical Engineering Department ordered that all papers be compared by cadet company.

On April 4, 1976, the Electrical Engineering Department forwarded to the Cadet Honor Committee the names of 117 cadets believed to have collaborated on the assignment. Cadet Honor Boards were convened, and by April 21, 50 cadets were found guilty ("found") of either giving or receiving assistance; 2 others resigned without appearing before Honor Boards. On May 3, 1976, 10 military defense counsel representing the accused cadets wrote the Secretary of the Army, advising him that cheating at the Academy was "widespread;" that "upwards of 300 members of the Class of 1977" had cheated in EE 304; and that the Cadet Honor Committee "not only acted arbitrarily and improperly in some cases but that certain of its members affirmatively conspired and acted to conceal and cover up violations of the Cadet Honor Code."

On May 23, 1976, the Superintendent appointed the internal Review Panel (IRP) to "... investigate and examine all relevant evidence of violations of the Cadet Honor Code and other [USMA] regulations... arising from the EE 304 Computer Problem..." and to "...recommend for referral to Boards of Officers all cases for which [it] determines that there is probable cause of a violation." The Superintendent, in an August 26, 1976 letter to Academy staff and faculty, explained his decision to establish the IRP as follows:

"[T]he emergence of new large numbers of alleged violators in late May and the attendant administrative requirements necessary to respond to them was complicated by additional factors. Final exams were scheduled from May 17th to May 27th. They were followed by the traditional 'June Week' activities and the graduation and commissioning of the Class of 1976, including one-half of the 88-member Honor Committee membership. At the same time, charges of improper influence and the existence of 'tainted' members of cadet honor boards in the initial hearings in April were being partially substantiated by recorder interviews of accused cadets and by board witnesses. There was possible involvement of large numbers of the Class of 1977, including an undetermined number of Honor Committee members. All of these factors argued for creating an investigative panel, with cadet representation, to substitute for the Honor Committee, which is not structured to investigate or process violations of such a large scale." The IRP was comprised of 12 officers and 5 cadets and sat in panels of 3. Each panel, which consisted of 2 field grade officers and 1 cadet, made its own decision on whether a case should be referred to an Officer Board. The IRP screened those cases which had been referred to it by a team of 3 Electrical Engineering instructors. This team reviewed all 823 examination papers and forwarded over a quarter of them to the IRP. As a result of hearings before the IRP and Officer Boards, additional cases were screened by the IRP.

The names of 150 cadets, in addition to the 50 already found by the Honor Committee, were ultimately referred to Officer Boards by the IRP. Eighteen cadets resigned, and 103 were found guilty. Twenty-nine of the 103 cadets had initially been found not guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee. The cases of all found cadets were reviewed by officials at the Academy and Department of the Army, including the Superintendent and Secretary of the Army.

Academy regulations require that any cadet found guilty of an honor violation be separated from West Point; no other penalties are allowed. Separated cadets, if they are first or second classmen, may also be required to serve on active duty as enlisted men. On August 23, 1976, the Secretary of the Army announced a plan whereby any cadet who had cheated in EE 304 and who resigned from the Academy would be eligible for readmission to the Academy after 1 year; the requirement of enlisted service would be waived in each case. As of December 6, 1976, 134 cadets have resigned under the provisions of this plan; 49 of these cadets either had not been referred to or had not been found guilty by the Officer Boards.

On September 16, 1976, the Cadet Honor Committee received 159 documents which had been prepared by cadets implicated in EE 304 to demonstrate the scope of the problem. These documents alleged that 259 cadets had cheated in EE 304. Allegations were made against 72 cadets who had not previously been investigated as well as 37 who had been found innocent.The affidavits also implicated several hundred cadets in honor violations other than those arising out of EE 304; of this group, 191 had already graduated from West Point. The Honor Committee is investigating the charges against cadets who are currently at West Point.

As of December 6, 1976, 134 cadets have resigned or otherwise been separated in connection with EE 304. In terms of background and performance at the Academy, these cadets came from a cross section of the Corps. Some companies had many implicated cadets; others had few. All but 3 of the 36 cadet companies had at least one. In most cases, only a small number of individuals worked together--often roommates or friends. There was, in other words, no widespread organized effort to cheat. Some of the cadets implicated had violated the Honor Code on several prior occasions; others had done so rarely or, perhaps, not at all. According to the Superintendent, in his August 26, 1976 letter to the Academy staff and faculty:

"Among those cadets involved we have found many individuals of high quality who remain motivated toward commissioned service in the U. S. Army.... [T]hey continue to be aware of the differences between right and wrong and they remain independent, responsible young men capable of making hard moral choices. Others have exhibited varying degrees of motivation, self-discipline and commitment to the principles of integrity that are essential to a healthy Code." Many of those involved in the investigation and adjudication of EE304 charges believe that not all cadets who collaborated or tolerated collaboration were detected or punished. The problems of investigating and proving cases have led some officers, such as those in the Electrical Engineering Department, to conclude that approximately 400 cadets collaborated or tolerated in EE 304. They have pointed to the lack of proper investigative tools, the difficulties in relying mainly upon exam comparisons, the differing approaches of the various investigative bodies and Officer Boards, and the fact that many cadets cleared by one body were later shown to have been involved. As one Officer Board member advised the Superintendent: "If you or I had complete and perfect information, now believe that we would find that several hundred cadets collaborated--more or less--on the EE 304 problem. If the names of those tolerating such activity were added, the number would probably increase substantially . . . . I would caution anyone from drawing any conclusions from the numbers of cases sustained or not sustained by Officer Boards. Insufficient evidence should not be interpreted as innocence."
. . . .

"I do perceive that, when the Boards have run their course, they will have expelled (for all practical purposes) some cheaters who should have been expelled. They will have expelled some fine, honorable young men who were basically victims of circumstances that they did not have the strength to control. And, the Boards will leave a large number of cadets who are unable to rid themselves of their own sense of complicity. Few, indeed, will be the cadets who can start rebuilding the honor concept with a clear conscience."

The EE 304 course in which the cheating incident occurred is described in the 1975-76 West Point catalogue as follows: "EE 304 Electronics Frequency selectivity in communication circuits. Characteristics and modeling of electronic devices. Diode circuits, amplifiers, oscillators, and modulation methods. Radio and other electronic systems. Laboratory exercises reinforce key points." A group of cadets gave the following description of progressing through this required course: "[EE 304] is a 'number crunching' course. All one has to do is plug values into a calculator and out comes an answer. The reasoning and theory behind the answers are not fully understood.... Generally, we are given an assignment in one of the departmental texts to read, and then three questions to do for homework. The questions are of medium to easy difficulty, and the tougher ones can be done by referring to the assignment. The class, after a lesson assignment was to be read, is given a quiz on that reading assignment. The quiz tests our ability to put the numbers in the right equations and answer them. The cadet who does not take a particular interest in the course or does not feel the need to keep a high grade overall, completes the questions on that quiz and then forgets them. When a written partial review or term end exam comes up he can be found trying to regain the knowledge he learned or supposedly learned over the duration of the course. This phenomenon also happens in other courses...." As this description suggests, most cadets considered EE 304 to be irrelevant and uninteresting--a course to be suffered through. One faculty member in the Electrical Engineering Department expressed doubt that any cadet would take the course if it were not required. The cadets infrequently read text assignments and gained little understanding of basic electrical engineering principles. Rather, they memorized what was necessary to get by each class and then forgot it at the earliest opportunity. According to one member of the Cadet Honor Committee: "If one were to look at all the courses for second class year, Electrical Engineering would by far have the lowest rating as far as a worthwhile course. The class as a whole seemed to rebel against this course. Very few people showed any great interest in learning electrical engineering; therefore, one has a class that does not really care if they learn in electrical engineering or not. Everyone is just trying to 'get by' with the smallest amount of effort." It is thus not surprising that, as one faculty member remarked, "a majority of second classmen know almost nothing about electrical engineering. And this after a two semester/seven credit hour course!"

The EE 304 instructors regularly gave Assigned Study Problems (ASPs) to be completed outside the class. Indeed, between March 3 and 18, 1976, the cadets were given 5 ASPs; 1 was due on the same day that the March 3 and 4 exam was due. The EE 304 instructors authorized and even encouraged cadets to collaborate on ASPs. As a result, many cadets did not work the ASPs; they relied upon copying another's work and studying it before class in preparation for the periodic quizzes. One faculty member observed:

"Full collaboration has been allowed in the completion of ASPs to the extent that it is not considered dishonorable to simply copy a classmate's ASP just before class and then use this copy as a reference for a graded exercise. The practice of copying grew to the extent that cadets would go to another cadet's room, one who usually did the ASPs, take the cadet's notebook, and copy problems. It was not infrequently heard that cadets who had worked the EE 304 problem [on which collaboration was explicitly prohibited] had also left it in their electrical engineering notebook. This was done with full knowledge that other cadets would most probably be coming to their room to get ASPs and would then have available a solution to the take-home problem. Testimony usually followed the pattern that cadets were aware of the situation but were relying on others to be honorable." Table of Contents
 
II
 
THE STATE OF HONOR AT WEST POINT
 

During the last quarter century there have been repeated incidents of academic dishonesty involving significant numbers of cadets. In 1951 the Academy separated 90 cadets characterized by an Academy investigative board as having been part of an "organized ring or conspiracy" which had existed for "several years." A witness before the Commission alleged that the Academy uncovered a cheating incident two years later involving 174 cadets, but separated no one. The Commission did not investigate the allegation.

The 1964 Report of the Superintendent's Honor Review Committee, composed of 3 Academy officers charged with monitoring the Honor System, refers to "the problems of last spring which culminated in the separation of a group of cadets" and notes that "there exists the feeling on the part of some that not all of the guilty may have been detected and eliminated." No further details are provided. According to a senior officer serving at, that time in the Tactical Department:

"During my tenure . . . a serious honor situation developed in the Corps of Cadets that had the appearance of being extensive and deep rooted. This took place in the spring of 1963.... As a result some outstanding youngsters resigned and others, whose feeling for the Honor System left something to be desired, stayed on and graduated."   Academy figures show that in 1966-67, 19 cadets resigned or were dismissed for cheating or toleration of cheating in Physics and Chemistry.

In the Winter of 1972-73, the Cadet Honor Committee suspected that possibly 100 cadets were cheating. By late Winter, the Committee still had a feeling that cheating existed but, according to an Academy official, that it "had been unable to get hold of it." Twenty cadets were ultimately separated for cheating in Physics.

The EE 304 episode may be viewed as part of what has become a recurring pattern during the preceding 25 years. The incident is even less surprising when one considers the state of honor at West Point during the past few years. Specifically, violations of the Honor Code, including toleration, have become increasingly widespread, yet few have been detected or punished. Disaffection with the Honor System has, for a variety of reasons, become even more pervasive. It was in this environment that 823 second classmen approached their EE304 computer examination. Before discussing the situation, we consider the Academy's awareness of the general problem.

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A. Academy Awareness

 

At the completion of his term, the 1969 Honor Chairman wrote in the Cadet Chairman's "Honor Book" that although "great support for the Honor Code still exists within the Corps," a "significant number of cadets are 'alienated from the Code" and that "many cadets currently feel that the Honor Code works against them rather than for them." The Chairman of the 1971 Superintendent's Honor Review Committee advised the Superintendent that he:

"...has never felt before the degree of uneasiness about the Honor Code and System that he feels this year. He is convinced that a concerted effort by appropriate elements at the Military Academy is required to retain what we now have of the Cadet Honor Code and that a routine acceptance of this report without positive action is not the answer."   These comments stand in dramatic contrast to the Honor Review Committee's reports of the mid- end late 60s, which concluded that the Honor Code and Honor System were "highly regarded, well understood, and strongly subscribed to by the members of the Corps of Cadets" (1964) and that they "continued to hold their high place as matters of special trust and regard by the Corps" (1967).

In July of 1974, the departing Superintendent provided the incoming Superintendent with a report concerning honor at West Point. The report, which had been prepared for him in 1970, made the following observations:

"I believe, based on close contact with many cadets during my assignment to the faculty, conversations with others similarly assigned at that time and since, and comparison with my own cadet experience only a decade before, that the Honor Code is in trouble at West Point.

. . . .

"Reclaiming the Honor Code is a formidable task. There no doubt are in the Corps of Cadets (extrapolating from my faculty experience) a number of cadets who have violated the Honor Code and who have gotten away with it and know that they have. Some members of the Honor Committee share this knowledge. Cadets in general are aware of falling short of the cherished ideal in this area. The starting point for any improvement would have to be a mutual recognition on the part of cadets and faculty that a problem exists."

Partially in response to this strong warning, the new Superintendent established, in October 1974, a joint officer-cadet "Special Study Group on Honor at West Point" with the mission to "examine and challenge all tenets and facets of the Honor Code and System and to consider nothing sacrosanct or above question." On May 23, 1975, the Study Group issued a report which contained a number of conclusions: -- The "Honor Code is a clear and simple statement of an unattainable level of human behavior." It "is a goal suitable for the entire professional life of a military man and is a goal to which he should aspire in the challenging environments outside the Academy as well as in the training period of his cadetship."

-- The nontoleration clause makes the Honor Code "philosophically hard to digest by American society in general and, to a degree, by the Army Officer Corps."

-- "[0]perational interpretations of the Honor Code vary widely and are modified frequently without the benefit of any regularized process...."

-- The Honor System has "relied on mystique to cloak the very many issues and difficult judgments involved in prescribing and enforcing a system of ethics."

-- The "inflexible application" of the single sanction of separation "in conjunction with an idealistic code is certain to place considerable strain on a human system."

-- "The drift ... toward an increasing list of specifics... tends to obscure the spirit of the Code and exacerbate the conflict that cadets conjure up between honor and regulations."

 
The Study Group prepared and administered a survey to all cadets and officers concerning attitudes toward the Honor Code and System. This 1974 survey revealed in part that: -- 70 percent of the cadets deny that the Honor Code is uniformly adhered to throughout the Corps.

-- 60 percent of the cadets and 61 percent of the officers agree that adherence to the spirit of the Honor Code is deteriorating.

-- 39 percent of the cadets and 24 percent of the officers do not believe the Honor System is fair and just.

-- 26 percent of the cadets do not believe that the Honor System is effective in accomplishing its mission of imparting to cadets a sense of personal honor; an additional 16 percent were "neutral" on whether the Honor System has this effect.

-- 45 percent of the cadets and 45 percent of the officers do not believe that the Honor Code is realistically interpreted by the Corps.

-- 76 percent of the cadets believe that the Honor Code is used to enforce regulations.

-- 73 percent of the cadets would not report a good friend for a possible honor violation and 34 percent of the cadets would not report a good friend for a clear-cut violation.

-- 45 percent of the cadets want toleration removed as an honor violation.
 

Approximately 2 weeks after the Study Group's report was issued, the 1975 Cadet Honor Committee Chairman, a member of the Study Group, wrote the following to his successor:
"This past year has been very difficult. The Honor System is in transition, and has come very close to falling altogether. Although we may perhaps have arrested the demise of the System, there is still a great deal more to be done to restore a healthy one."
The admonitions of several individuals charged with monitoring the System, the memorandum provided the incoming Superintendent in 1974, and the Study Group's report and survey results revealed widespread disaffection with the Honor System. The Study Group's report was forwarded by the Superintendent to the Academic Board and the Cadet Honor Committee as a "working document."

Table of Contents 

B. Nature and Extent of Honor Violations

As the Study Group's survey suggests, violations of the Honor Code, including toleration, have not been uncommon.

1. "A Cadet Will Not Lie, Cheat, or Steal . . ." The Academy's Special Assistant to the Commandant for Honor interviewed many of the cadets separated in connection with EE 304. In an August 20, 1976 memorandum he described some of the honor violations which they said had occurred during recent years:
 
"Cadets have participated in violations of the Honor Code by exchanging information during the time break between class hours. This information has been passed openly between regiments and usually always in hallways of academic buildings but also possibly at prearranged meetings in the hostess' office.

"Some cadets have established prearranged times during written partial reviews (WPRs) and term end examinations to meet in the bathroom to exchange answers for an examination which was in progress.

"One cadet indicated that, in his company, an attitude prevailed which would prevent lying to another cadet but would support lying to members of the Staff and Faculty because the latter is viewed as 'beating the system.'

"Marking of the absence card and signature in departure books is viewed as a portion of the Honor Code frequently violated. Many of the cadets I interviewed consider this to be a matter of regulations as opposed to making any type of official statement.

"Cadets in charge of quarters and room inspection frequently, in a few companies, gave oral and signed false reports. Additionally, cadets in charge of quarters often mark absence cards for cadets they know to be on an unauthorized absence."
 

Two officer members of the Internal Review Panel made similar observations:
 
"Information given both to IRP and Law Department personnel indicates that there have been widespread violations involving lying, stealing, and toleration. For example, it is apparently not uncommon for cadets to mark their cards indicating an authorized absence and then deliberately go off limits. Others allegedly lie to help friends. This appears to be most common at honor investigations, honor hearings, and Officer Boards. There are also allegations of stealing to include calculators, stereo equipment and books, plus items taken from the Cadet Store, PX, Book Store, and cadet activities such as the parachute club. Reference books are apparently either stolen from or deliberately hidden in libraries in order to gain unfair advantage over classmates. Beyond these, there are a variety of allegations about cadets deliberately manipulating LES ratings, revealing confidential times for inspections, misusing credit cards, conveniently overlooking absentees, miscounting repetitions on PT tests, etc., etc. Finally, there is the almost certain presence of widespread toleration of all of the above."
* * *

"...[T]estimony before the IRP indicates that cadet cheating on the EE 304 problem is only a small corner of the total problem... [C]heating on a large scale has gone on before in previous classes and... includes:
 

1. Group collaboration/discussion of case studies.

2. Efforts by cadets to pass on to 'second-hour' cadets, questions that were asked on 'first-hour' writs and WPRs, and similar efforts to pass to 'second-day' cadets, questions asked on 'first-day' writs and WPRs.

3. Cheating on in-class graded work by passing calculators containing answers, looking at the completed work of others which is conveniently left hanging over the edge of a desk, passing answers in latrines, and using crib sheets.

4. Lying under oath by cadets testifying before Cadet Honor Boards, Officer Boards, and the IRP.

5. Fixing of Cadet Honor Boards by having a cadet sit on the Board who will vote 'not guilty,' in any case.

6. Larceny of club equipment."

The precise extent to which these and other violations have occurred will never be known. The observations of many of those officers who sat on the IRP or EE 304 Officer Boards are illuminating. In their after action reports, they wrote:
 
"I believe this recent cheating episode is only the tip of a much larger, more complex iceberg. The diffuse, unconnected, nonconspiratorial character of the cheating indicates to me we happen to have lighted on one particular skeleton in our academic closet. Statistically, it is unreasonable to assume the Class of 1977 is anomalous, an unhappy convergence of reprobates and bounders. That simply does not make sense given our admissions procedures. Moreover, I find it difficult to believe that Fortune guided us to 21 percent of a class the first and only time it ever cheated so that we could purge the miscreants and maintain unsullied the purity of the institution. If I am correct in so arguing, then there is something much more fundamentally wrong."

* * *

"Cheating was not confined to EE 304 nor to the Class of 1977. Early indication that this was the case was amply corroborated in testimony throughout the summer that the specific incidents implicating Class of '77 members in the EE 304 problem were only the first manifestation of widespread problems with honor, the Honor Code, and the Honor System. Even though it would be fair to say that the vast majority of the persons called before the subpanels [of the IRP] perjured themselves regarding the EE 304 matter and other related incidents, sufficient evidence was forthcoming that there were wide scale incidents involving academic cheating in other courses at other times."

* * *

"I am convinced that the cheating which took place on the EE 304 computer problem is much more widespread than most people would like to believe. By this mean, I believe that cheating has taken place long before the EE 304 problem was given out. Cheating, to certain degrees, has become a way of life and cadets aren't sure what is cheating and what is not. Of those who have not cheated or collaborated, many (I would say most) have tolerated this situation.... I now wonder if there is a single cadet at USMA now who could say he had not in any way broken the Honor Code."

* * *

"Although a large portion of the Class of 1977 is currently facing dismissal for cheating, there is no reason to assume that this is the only time members of this class have cheated on a large scale nor to assume that there have not been cases of comparable size in this class and classes previously and presently here."

* * *

"The Class of 1977 is not unique. The isolated yet widespread nature of cheating on the EE problem suggests that collaboration and toleration are common at West Point. This condition seems to be the result of a long term erosion of the Honor Code. Undoubtedly, other classes have been, and still are involved in cheating on a scale at least equal to '77. The Honor Code and System seem to have become a part of a game. Cadets are not concerned with being honorable. Some are concerned with finding ways to get away with as much as possible while staying within the bounds of the letter of the Code as they interpret it. Others simply are concerned with not getting caught."

* * *

"It appears to me that this situation indicates that large numbers of cadets either did not accept the Honor Code or did not consider collaboration on academic exercises to be a violation of 'their code'."

* * *

"Testimony given before my IRP convinced me that we are seeing only the tip of the cheating iceberg by looking at the EE 304 exercise. It is totally illogical to assume that this was the first time that the majority of these cadets engaged in unauthorized collaboration. It is equally illogical to assume that the Class of 1977 is the only class involved in such activities . . . .I am convinced that many cadets, both in the Class of 1977 and in other classes, had been cheating prior to the EE 304 incident. This was not a spontaneous capitulation to pressure; rather it is a disease which has spread and is only now being diagnosed. The attitudes and perceptions influenced by major events over the past three years may have been exacerbated by a variety of other circumstances, some of them peculiar to EE 304."

* * *

"At no time did I get the impression that the EE 304 problem created a unique situation. It may have involved cadets who had previously remained aloof from--or even unaware of--other unauthorized group efforts; but, it seems apparent that collaboration was not uncommon or unusual among certain cadets. Nor Sir, am I any longer inclined to think that the problem was confined to the Class of '77.... [P]rior to serving on an Officer Board I was personally convinced that reports of widespread cheating were little more than legally useful propaganda, perpetrated by clever defense lawyers. I no longer believe that to be the case."

One officer, in his termination of tour report, similarly wrote: "[I]t can be factually stated that the current problem did not just happen. From knowledge gained over the past three years, it was entirely predictable. Nor is the current problem confined to reported proportions within the Class of 1977, or to that particular class. There exists concrete evidence that it is very much more widespread.... The Honor System is not alive and well at West Point. In truth it is very sick . . .The dismissal of 100 or 600 cadets will not solve the problem because it is much deeper than 600 cadets. The problem is the system itself.... The extent of the current crisis is widespread and known to few outside the Corps of Cadets." Table of Contents   2. "...Nor Tolerate Those Who Do." The Honor Code states that a cadet will not "tolerate" those who lie, cheat, or steal. Although the toleration clause was not added to the Code until 1970, toleration has, according to the Study Group on Honor, been considered an honor violation at least since the turn of the century. Cadets who tolerate are, as explained In the Honor Committee's orientation booklet, perpetrating "as serious an offense as they would if they themselves were the violators." Although the Code proscribes toleration, it does not delineate the type of conduct which constitutes toleration or nontoleration.

The Honor Committee, however, has interpreted nontoleration as the "willful failure to report" an "observed or known" honor violation. Cadets are thus required to report themselves, as well as fellow cadets. The cadets' responsibility has been further defined by the Honor Committee in its honor orientation booklet:

"If you observe a situation in which you believe that an honor violation might have occurred, you are encouraged to confront the individual you suspect. Your discussion with the cadet should clearly point out how you believe an honor violation has occurred and provide the suspected cadet an opportunity to explain the situation. Situations will arise often which immediately may appear to be a violation of the Honor Code, but after hearing the facts of what actually occurred or what was intended by the other cadet, you may be convinced that a violation did not occur. If you remain convinced that a violation did occur, you should encourage the other cadet to report it to your Company Honor Representative. You, in turn, must report the suspected violation to your Company Honor Representative who will ensure that the violation is investigated following Honor Committee procedures described elsewhere in this booklet. After the investigation is completed, you will be informed personally of the outcome of the investigation. The key point to remember is that you must be completely convinced that an honor violation did not occur or you must report the circumstances to the Cadet Honor Representative." (Emphasis added)
 
As this makes clear, the cadet who observes or becomes aware of a possible honor violation has no alternative except to report the offender. Nontoleration cannot be expressed by, for example, confronting the violator, counseling him, or warning him. Nothing has been entrusted to the responsible judgment of the cadet.

The Honor Committee has explained, also in the orientation booklet, the importance of the nontoleration clause:

"The Honor Code is a training vehicle to ingrain in the cadet the fundamental basis for a code of professional ethics. Any Army officer is expected to put loyalty to organization and country above loyalty to family, friends, or even to self-interest. The efficiency of our Army, soldiers' lives, and even our national security depend upon it. The cadet must learn that the requirements of the service and Corps of Cadets transcend loyalty that one feels for fellow cadets. Requiring the cadet to report honor violations is a major element in this indoctrination. The only way the Honor Code can work is if it is policed by the cadets themselves. When each cadet knows that every other cadet is responsible for reporting violations, it strengthens cadet resolve to report violations. It provides a feeling of confidence that the system is being monitored continuously by those who are responsible for its operation." However, as noted by the Study Group on Honor, the nontoleration clause has been considered "philosophically hard to digest by American society in general and, to a degree, by the Army Officer Corps." Indeed, one former Commandant of Cadets advised the Commission that the clause should be eliminated, explaining, "it seems to signify that cadets will spy on each other like a 'Gestapo.' This should not be." Many cadets have similar problems:
"The subject of turning in someone on a violation is very sensitive. All of the cadets I have met that have expressed their views complain that it is very hard to turn in a friend. Part of this comes from being taught as a youngster not to tell on your friends so as to help them out when they make a mistake. Coming to West Point one is asked to do just the opposite by the Honor Code. If this is good or not is another question. This does however put pressure on a cadet. He has to decide to either go along with what he has been taught and violate the Honor Code or he has to go against what for eighteen years has been told and abide by the Honor Code. For a few cadets this is a hard decision to make."

* * *

"I have found that most of the cadets to whom I have spoken feel that to lie, cheat, or steal is wrong and that they are able to accept that portion of the [Honor] Code. The 'toleration clause,' however, evokes mixed feelings. Although it is generally accepted that the 'toleration clause' is essential to the enforcement of the Code, cadets still find it difficult to accept. Having come from a society which teaches that to 'tell on someone' or to 'fink on someone' is wrong, and then having been told constantly during the first weeks at West Point to work together, and to cover for each other, cadets find it hard to accept the 'toleration clause.' It seems to run contrary to all that they have previously been taught."

"Just about everyone whom I spoke to agreed that it is reasonable to expect a cadet to not lie, cheat, or steal. However, several cadets questioned the reasonableness of the toleration clause. Throughout a person's life, society dictates that a person does not 'squeal' on his buddy for minor offenses such as lying. West Point is one of the few places in modern society which not only looks favorably upon reporting a friend for lying, it demands it."

The reluctance many cadets feel about taking action which they consider tantamount to "finking" or "tattling" is intensified by having a single sanction. Reporting a fellow cadet is even more difficult if an accuser knows that the only penalty is separation and, in certain cases, mandatory enlisted service. These feelings are apparently shared by a number of cadets, for toleration at the Academy has become a serious problem. In 1972 the Superintendent's Honor Review Committee wrote:
 
"The Committee is convinced that toleration is the greatest single threat to the current health of the Honor System. Almost all cadets interviewed agree that 'no toleration' is not completely supported by the Corps. Several cadets stated that toleration is widespread. At least two cadets stated that witnesses who testified against other cadets at Honor Committee Hearings were subsequently harassed and subjected to pressure by fellow cadets because of their testimony. The Committee believes this problem deserves the urgent attention of the new Honor Committee."
In 1973, the Superintendent's Honor Review Committee stated that the "problem of toleration remains a serious threat to continued health and viability of the Honor Code." And in 1974 the Committee remarked again that "toleration is one of the biggest problems." Similar remarks made by members of the IRP and 0fficer Boards in 1976 have already been quoted.

Notwithstanding widespread toleration, very few cadets have been found guilty of toleration. During the 10 years preceding the EE 304 incident, only 2 cadets were found solely for this offense; 5 others were found in 1 year for toleration and other offenses. Convictions for tolerating violations thus accounted for less than 2 percent of the total convictions.

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C. Disaffection with the Honor System The state of honor at West Point is directly related to the viability of the Honor System, the means by which the Honor Code is taught, enforced, and supervised. "[T]o have a strong Code," testified the 1976 Honor Chairman, "there must be a strong system behind it...." As the nature and extent of honor violations suggest, the Honor System has not been "alive and well." Cadet disaffection with the System has been the product of many factors, including the failure to detect or punish scores of honor violations, the rigid and narrow interpretation of the nontoleration clause, and the single sanction of separation (when combined, in some cases, with mandatory enlisted service). 0ther factors have also increased cadet cynicism toward and estrangement from the Honor System. The Cadet Honor Committee itself, interference with "cadet ownership" of the Honor Code, the nature and method of honor and ethics instruction, the application of the Code and the fairness of the System are the most significant of these factors.

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1. Cadet Honor Committee

The Cadet Honor Committee, formally recognized in 1921, is responsible for the "supervision and administration of the Cadet Honor Code and Honor System." The Committee consists of 1 first classman elected from each company (Honor Representatives), 4 Regimental Honor Representatives, a Secretary, 2 Vice Chairmen, and a Chairman. Each company also elects one second classman every tall as an apprentice. When the Committee was first established, the position of the Chairman of the Honor Committee was, according to the Academy's 1921-22 Bugle Notes (newspaper), automatically filled by the senior class president. Furthermore, all of the upper classes were represented on the Committee.

The Academy's 1937 Howitzer (yearbook) described the Committee as "not a law-making body, not a court to try [offenders];" the Committee "functions only as an advisory and instructive council." However, after tracing the history of the Committee, the 1968 Honor Chairman wrote:

"The Commandant of Cadets theoretically still has ultimate responsibility for actions and decisions of the Honor Committee, but in practice the Honor Committee has progressed from the position of advisor to that of almost sole responsibility and power in the administration of the Honor System."
 
Because of the role of the Committee, cadet attitudes toward the System depend in part upon cadet perceptions of the Committee.

By the Spring of 1976 many cadets had lost confidence in the Cadet Honor Committee. As one faculty member who sat on the IRP remarked, "it is the strong perception of the Corps that its Honor Committee is undeserving of confidence." This conclusion is consistent with the Study Group's survey which revealed that only 41 percent of the Corps believed the Cadet Honor Committee accurately reflected the Corps' attitude about the Honor System.

The Cadet Honor Committee constitutes only 2 percent of the Corps. A few representatives are usually considered overly zealous--the "guys with the black hoods" in the cadets' vernacular. One group of cadets not implicated in EE 304 advised the Commission that the Cadet Honor Committee "placed themselves upon a pedestal above the rest of the Corps of Cadets, resulting in a 'holier than thou' attitude among some of them, and perhaps a loss of reality for others."

Many cadets, with good cause, believe that some members of the Honor Committee were corrupt. The cadet who gave the Class of 1977 its honor orientation was himself implicated in an honor charge. Based upon medical advice, the Academy chose not to pursue this charge and allowed him to graduate without a commission. As one cadet remarked, "I feel that [my] class [1977] saw the case as a big cover up and lost a lot of faith in the system at that point." Affidavits executed in connection with the EE 304 episode contain allegations against 23 cadets on the Honor Committee. The Superintendent, in setting forth his several reasons for the creation of the IRP, explained:
 

"[C]harges of improper influence and the existence of 'tainted' members of cadet honor boards in the initial hearings in April were being partially substantiated by recorder interviews of accused cadets and by board witnesses. There was possible involvement of large numbers of the Class of 1977, including an undetermined number of Honor Committee members."
As of December 6, 1976, Officer Boards have found 4 Honor Representatives in connection with EE 304; 1 other resigned from the Academy while under investigation.

The Special Assistant to the Commandant for Honor in an August 20, 1976 memorandum further noted:
 

"For a number of years it has been customary for some companies (probably at least three) to elect honor representatives who take a liberal view toward the interpretation of the Honor Code. In at least one company, a group of cadets combined to campaign for and were successful in electing an honor representative who openly and blatantly participated in and tolerated violations of the Honor Code. He also attempted to assist his friends should they appear before an Honor Board."
Similar comments were made by officers who had served on the IRP:
 
"It is not at all uncommon to have a company elect a representative who the other members know will act to keep the company out of trouble, one who is indifferent to the Honor System or one who has been involved in various violations prior to his election. This certainly does not apply to all representatives, but the condition is widespread enough as to cast serious doubt on the workability of the system as presently constituted."

"Many cadets claim that the entire Honor System has lost credibility due to improprieties on the part of members of the Honor Committee. Some cadets were apparently elected to that body on the basis of a campaign promise to take care of their friends. Others, once elected, apparently circumvented established procedures to suit their own whims."

"The most generous interpretation of evidence at hand is that the process of selection of Honor Representatives for their probity has been a failure. The current membership of the Honor Committee may include persons whose philosophy is quite antithetical to the Honor Code."

The perception that the Cadet Honor Committee was corrupt derived further support from the failure of first classmen on the Committee to convict fellow first classmen. During the 10 years preceding EE 304, the Honor Committee, on the average, found only 3 first classmen per year guilty of honor violations; this represented approximately 8.5 percent of the total number found in all classes. In 1975-76, 16 first classmen were referred to Honor Boards; only 1 of these cadets was ultimately found guilty and he by the 1977 Honor Committee. This first classmen "conviction" rate of 6.2 percent stands in dramatic contrast to the 80 percent rate for plebes during this same period.

The several 11-1 acquittals also suggested improprieties. In their 1970 report on honor at West Point, former faculty members advised the Superintendent that there "have been outright flagrant cases of disregard for the imperatives of the Code, with guilty cadets absolved by the Honor Committee when there was incontrovertible evidence that a violation of the Honor Code had occurred." Similarly, the Cadet Honor Committee's current Vice Chairman for Investigations recently informed the Corps of Cadets:
 

"There have been cases of board fixing that can be documented. Not only for the past year but for the past several years. For example, during the Electrical Engineering controversy this past summer, 30 of the 35 cadets were found guilty by Officer Boards who were previously found not guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee. Testimony arising out of the Officer Boards and the Internal Review Panel this summer has indicated that many of these were tampered with at the Honor Committee Board level. One cadet found guilty in the EE 304 controversy had previously been exonerated by 8 Cadet Honor Boards in his cadet career. Strong evidence also from the summer indicates that he was protected by friends an the Honor Committee."
Recognizing the problem, the Corps recently replaced the requirement or an unanimous vote to convict with a new provision requiring a 10-2 vote. According to the Vice Chairman for Investigations, "In order for anyone to tamper now with a full board under these systems, at least three voting members would have to be approached."

Many cadets also believe that the Cadet Honor Committee is part of the structure that has taken "their Code" away from them. As noted by the Commandant of Cadets in a memorandum concerning the recent "honor problem," the "Honor Committee processes were... surrounded with an aura of secrecy." Furthermore, the Committee has in some instances made significant changes in the Honor System without the knowledge or approval of the Corps. During a February 1976 speech urging adoption of discretionary sanctions, the 1976 Honor Chairman informed the Corps:
 

"It may be of interest to you to know that, if you vote for the Honor Committee to in some cases consider alternatives to resignation, it would not be the first time that the Honor System functioned in such a manner. Of the many examples, I could give you, let's use a recent one. The Honor Committee of the Class of 1972 voted in a discretionary clause without the knowledge of the Corps. The Class of 1973, again without the knowledge of the Corps, dropped the procedure."
Similarly, without the benefit of any regularized procedure to govern change in the Honor System, the 1976 Cadet Honor Committee unilaterally adopted a two-thirds requirement for passage of the discretionary sanctions referendum. Feelings were intensified shortly before EE 304 when a majority, but not the required two-thirds, of the Corps voted to abolish the single sanction. Recent changes have also been secured through procedures which have not been approved by the Corps.

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2. Interference With "Cadet Ownership"

 

The Honor Code derived from the "Code of Honor" of the Officer Corps of the late 1700's. According to the Study Group on Honor, it was Superintendent Sylvanus Thayer whose "strong convictions in this area are thought to have elevated the Code to the almost sanctimonious level of respect that it now traditionally occupies in the perception of cadets and graduates." The Superintendent in 1907 "decided finally that cheating should be considered to be in the domain of honor." General Douglas MacArthur, during his Superintendency, perceived a "deterioration in the Corps' sense of 'duty, honor, country'," and, in the early 1920s, "formalized" the Honor System.

The Corps and the Honor Committee have never had any punitive authority. Honor Committee findings of guilt have always been subject to officer review, including administrative board action and Uniform Code of Military Justice proceedings.

Nevertheless, for several years, cadets have been told and they have believed that the Code and System are "theirs;" the belief that the Corps "owns" the Code and System has persisted. In his May 28, 1976 address to the Association of Graduates, the Superintendent stated:

"The cadets want full responsibility for the Honor System. That is a healthy attitude. No Superintendent can run the Honor System. No Commandant of Cadets can. No Dean of Academics, no Association of Graduates, no outside group can run the Honor System--only the Corps of Cadets themselves can do so." (Emphasis added)
The Academy has often emphasized that, as in any military society, the cadets must expect to be subordinate to their military superiors. However, the conflict between the concept of cadet ownership on the one hand and the concept of appellate review on the other has not been resolved.

The concept of cadet ownership can be attributed to several sources. For many years, Honor Board findings had in fact been final determinations. Very few were appealed; even fewer were reversed. In a case where the decision was reversed and the found cadet "returned to the Corps," the "silence" (described below) was available to enforce the Board's determination.

Cadet ownership is also related to the lack of officer involvement in the Honor System. In an August 24, 1976 speech, the Superintendent noted:

"Some of my predecessors and some of the Commandant's predecessors have literally told Tactical Officers and I guess Superintendents have told Academic Officers to remain aloof of the Honor System because 'that belongs to the cadets and it's theirs,' and the implication is exclusively."
In a recent memorandum the Commandant of Cadets similarly noted: "The staff and faculty were not comfortable as active guardians of the spirit of the Honor Code because they were not adequately briefed."

During the 1970s a series of events occurred which made serious inroads on the concept of cadet ownership. Undoubtedly the most significant of these events were the abolition of the "silence" and the number of reversals of Cadet Honor Committee determinations by Boards of Officers and the Superintendent.

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a. The End of the Silence
 
For over 100 years the Corps of Cadets had been allowed to "silence" cadets. The silence was employed in those instances when, despite the Cadet Honor Committee's determination of guilt, the found cadet was  "returned to the Corps." Custom required that the silenced cadet live and eat alone and that cadets converse with him only in the course of official duties. Most silenced cadets resigned from the Academy within a short period. One cadet, however, endured the treatment for 19 months between 1971 and his graduation and commissioning in 1973. Subsequent public disclosure of this treatment brought strong demand for the end of the silence.

The Academy, anticipating a court challenge to the silence, prepared a statement of its position in the Summer of 1973:
 

"The present officials at USMA... believe that if the 'Silence' is outlawed it is tantamount to telling the cadets that they can no longer aspire to a code" of honor that is any higher than the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They believe: 'The Code works only because the cadets operate it.... Denial of such authority inevitably would deny responsibility for the operation of the Code. It would also mark the end of the Honor Code as an effective instrument at USMA. Specifically, the silence is the ultimate power available to the Corps to insure its effectiveness.'"
Despite these strong feelings, the Corps, in the Fall of 1973, voted to abolish the practice. It is a decision that some cadets still blame on the courts and the public. Many cadets believe that the abolition of the silence was the beginning of the loss of "their" Honor Code and System.

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b. Reversals of Honor Committee Determinations

From 1965 to June of 1973, 305 cadets were found guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee. Of those, only 15 chose to exercise their right to go before Boards of Officers. The others immediately resigned. Of the 15, only 3 were found not guilty. Thus, In over 99 percent of the cases, the Honor Committee's initial finding was in fact the final determination.

Commencing in the Fall of 1973, cadets In larger numbers began to request de novo hearings before Boards of Officers. During the academic year 1973-74, of the 25 cadets found guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee, 10 sought review by Officer Boards. Five were found not guilty. Thus, in one year the Cadet Honor Committee was reversed by Officer Boards more times than it had been in the previous 8 years. This trend continued in 1974-75 when, out of 24 cases in which cadets were found guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee, 14 requested Boards of Officers, and 7 were found guilty. Two of those 7 were reversed by the Superintendent. In 1975-76 (excluding EE 304 cases), 14 of 24 found cadets requested Boards of Officers. In 4 of those cases, the Cadet Honor Committee was reversed. Thus, for the first time in the history of the Honor System, large numbers of found cadets were being returned to the Corps. Coming immediately after the abolition of silence, the one means the Corps believes it had to express disapproval of the returned cadets, this new pattern has caused great unrest in the Corps. As one group of cadets explained in a memorandum for the Commission:

"The Corps felt that the honor that was supposed to be there was not there. Cadets who the Corps felt had violated the Code were able to remain at the Academy and graduate. If this was the case, someone could possibly figure honor was not as important as it was purported to be. The general attitude about honor and the Code was relaxed in that cadets would not concern themselves much with watching out for honor violations or preventing honor violations. Cadets of the upperclass at that time were not unknown to make jokes about honor and in some ways not believe in it. This... was because the Honor System, as far as some of the Corps felt, was not doing what it stated it should do to enforce the Honor Code.... [T]he Corps was being shortchanged because cadets they felt had violated the Honor Code were still at the Academy."
A case in 1975-76 brought this issue into sharp focus. A plebe, still in Beast Barracks (summer orientation for new cadets), was seen crying by an upperclassman. When asked the reason, he told the upperclassman that his parents had been injured in an automobile accident. After the story proved to be false, the plebe was charged with an honor violation. The Cadet Honor Committee and a Board of Officers found the cadet guilty.

During the period of these hearings, the cadet was placed in transient barracks and allegedly isolated and mi