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10 cadets found guilty in academy cheating scandal, another resigns

Jun. 27, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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An Air Force Academy investigation into a cheating scandal has found 10 cadets violated the honor code, academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said Thursday. Another cadet who was under investigation has resigned, Johnson said.

The academy earlier this year began investigating 42 freshmen for allegedly cheating on a Chemistry 100 lab report assignment, which was worth 50 of the class’s total of 3,000 points. The freshmen allegedly copied portions of a lab report from other students’ reports, the academy said in a March 3 release announcing the investigation.

Johnson said during a June 26 news conference that 23 cases were dropped as the investigation continued, and one cadet resigned. Of the 18 cadets who appeared before an honor board made up of upper-class cadets, eight were found not to have violated the honor code.

The honor board is scheduled to reconvene in July to hear new, potentially mitigating evidence in the case of one of the 10 cadets who was found to have violated the honor code.

A sanctions board has not yet decided how to punish the cadets who were found guilty, but they face anything from honor remediation — a three- to six-month rehabilitation or a six-month probation — up to disenrollment.

Johnson said that while it is disappointing to find some cadets cheated, other freshmen take time to fully absorb the values the academy tries to teach. The academy’s honor code states that cadets “will not lie, steal or cheat nor tolerate among us anyone who does.”

“They also can’t do calculus after the first week,” Johnson said. Similarly, the honor code is “an educational and developmental process. Some take longer than others, and some don’t get it.”

But sometimes cadets who make such mistakes show they aren’t fit to become Air Force officers, she said.

“We don’t like it when people don’t make it, but some people aren’t fit to be here,” Johnson said. “Part of the process of the academy is we find people who aren’t suitable to be lieutenants in the Air Force, and so we identify that, and they leave. And it’s a tiny minority of our cadet wing. We’d like to think we’re perfect, but we’re not.”

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