Air Force Academy Cheating Scandal

February 2007

The Air Force Academy can't catch a break.

The Air Force Academy is investigating allegations of cheating by 28 freshmen and has restricted all 4,300 cadets to campus over the weekend, asking them to meet in small groups to consider "their self-image and the image of the institution," Air Force officials said. ....In a brief statement this week, the academy said that 19 cadets so far have admitted cheating on a Jan. 31 "fourth class knowledge test," a routine exam on military affairs given weekly to all 1,200 freshmen. Among the 28 cadets under suspicion of cheating are 19 intercollegiate athletes, the academy said.

This is in addition to a porn problem.

Forty-three cadets lost their Internet privileges in January because they had downloaded pornography or visited pornographic Web sites, and there have been recurring incidents of alcohol abuse, academy spokesman Johnny Whitaker said.

The freshman class particularly is having problems.

Nineteen percent of the freshman class was failing academically at the end of the fall semester, chalking up the lowest collective grade-point average in 20 years, he added.

That's a lot of problems for one academy. Is Wayne Allard trying to minimize them?

Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said there have been bigger cases of mass cheating at other military academies, including a 1992 incident involving 134 seniors at the Naval Academy, which resulted in the expulsion of two dozen midshipmen.

When you add cheating and porn to the Academy's prior problems of sex harassment and religious intolerance, I think it's safe to say there is something systemic going on. I have no way of knowing whether it's the institution or student culture that needs fixing. I doubt this is going to be enough though:

The Air Force Academy is investigating allegations of cheating by 28 freshmen and has restricted all 4,300 cadets to campus over the weekend, asking them to meet in small groups to consider "their self-image and the image of the institution," Air Force officials said.