Cheating Scandal Rocks Military Academy at West Point

May 20, 2021
Soldiers in military uniform
The United States’ Military Academy at West Point is among the most prestigious academic institutions in the nation. Alongside their training to become an officer upon graduation, cadets also receive a top-level civilian education.

Sadly, the pressures to perform led to poor academic choices by students. According to an article from USA Today, 73 students faced allegations of cheating and 61 received a guilty verdict. This resulted in a variety of punishments, including expulsion, being held back a year, and being placed on probation.

This report is especially concerning when we consider the methods that colleges and universities use to determine punishment. In many situations, these investigations lack proper due process and opportunities for students to defend themselves. A student misconduct lawyer can help to promote a more efficient and effective defense if you are facing similar potential discipline.

The West Point Cheating Scandal

Being accepted into the United States Military Academy is an achievement all its own. Once a student arrives at school, cadets must complete a rigorous academic program that requires intensive academic study. Unfortunately, with COVID-19 leaving students at home and subject to virtual learning, many find that it is easier to get away with cheating.

On a calculus exam administered in May of 2020, the school asserts that 72 first-year students and one second-year student wrongfully collaborated together on an exam. As evidence, the school noted that these students all made the same error on the same portion of the exam.

The punishments for this alleged cheating were harsh. Of the 73 students facing these accusations, the school found that 61 were guilty. In addition, six students resigned during the investigation, four received acquittals, and two were dropped for lack of evidence. As punishment, the school held most students back one year and expelled eight others.

How a Lawyer Might be Able to Help Students in Similar Situations

While the situation at West Point certainly garnered significant attention, this is far from an isolated incident. Every year, thousands of college students face accusations of academic misconduct or allegations of improper behavior. For these individuals, defending their work is key to their academic futures.

Every college and university has its own methods for investigating and punishing improper behavior. Unfortunately, these often minimize or completely ignore a student’s rights to due process. In some situations, a school might conduct an investigation in near secrecy. In others, the institution might not allow the student to properly confront their accusers or have an advisor present during the hearing. A student misconduct attorney can shape arguments defending students during these investigations.

Seek Out a Lawyer No Matter Where You Get Your Education

Few institutes of higher learning in the country take integrity more seriously than West Point. Students here must follow a strict code of conduct that prohibits cheating and dishonesty in all its forms. The scandal arose in 2020 and resulted in harsh punishments for a significant portion of the first-year class. This investigation saw many students being held back and some punished with a full expulsion.

If you are facing a similar problem at your college or university, one of KJK’s numerous lawyers might be able to help. We work nationwide to explain the rights of students and help them receive fair treatment after allegations of misconduct. This can include presenting a defense in person, arguing for fair due process, or helping students to prepare their own defense when schools do not allow direct attorney advocacy. Call us today if you require these services.