West Point military school rocked by exam cheating scandal

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New York | The prestigious American military school at West Point is rocked by a vast cheating scandal, with some 70 students accused of cheating on a math exam in the spring, the most serious breach of the establishment’s “code of honor” since 1976 .

“A ‘caddy’ does not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate such things being done,” says the code of the school, located on the banks of the Hudson River, north of New York.

But in May 2020, the code was flouted: by correcting arithmetic exams, taken online because of the pandemic, professors noted irregularities and concluded that it was cheating.

Seventy-three students – almost all of the first years – were implicated, and investigations opened for each by an internal commission.

After investigations and hearings, two files were closed for lack of evidence, four others were abandoned after the resignation of the students.

Of the 67 remaining cases, 55 students admitted their fault and are now following a special program, the “Special Leader Development Program”, supposed to promote their rehabilitation.

Eight files must undergo further investigation, four an intermediate route.

“West Point’s code of honor and personality development program remain strong despite distance education and the challenges of the pandemic,” said Christopher Ophardt, spokesperson for the school.

“The process (of complying with this code) is working and there has been no exception for any of these cases, the cadets must all answer for the violation of the code,” he added.

This is the largest cheat reported at West Point since 1976, he said. That year, 152 students were accused of cheating, and the Secretary of the Army had to appoint a special commission.

It was determined that the rights of the students had not been respected, and the investigation was not completed.

Founded in 1802, West Point has approximately 4,000 cadets in the Army, enrolled in a four-year course. Its students must sign up for five years after graduation, in exchange for free education, the cost of which is estimated by the US military at $ 225,000.

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