Seventy-two of the students accused of violating the academy’s famous code of honor are first-year students, referred to as “the year of the year,” according to the academy. One student is a sophomore. They are all accused of cheating on the calculus exam in May, when West Point switched to virtual classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There are around 1200 students in the first year class.
The fraud accusations were first reported by USA Today.
“The honoring process is working as expected and students will be held accountable for breaching the code,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a statement to CNN.
“The West Point Honor Code Program and the Character Development Program remain robust despite distance learning and the challenges presented by the pandemic,” Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Obhart, West Point spokesperson, told CNN in a statement.
Evidence of cheating was discovered by coaches who found “irregularities” while marking their calculus exams, according to Opphardt.
Two cases were dropped for lack of evidence and four more students resigned from the Military Academy. The remaining 67 students await a decision on their fate.
“Students are being held accountable for breaking the code,” said Ubhart. “Although the honor system is disappointing, it works, and these remaining 67 cases will be held accountable for their actions.”
Major fraud scandals
The academy said a total of 59 students had admitted to cheating on the exam, with 55 of them now enrolled in the academy’s “willful admission” process, a rehab program that includes after-hours lessons and discussions about ethics and the law of honor, and is on probation for the rest of the year.
Four of the students who admitted to cheating were not eligible for the recertification process, according to the academy, and will face a trained advisory board of fellow students, who will make a recommendation on their fate, ranging from probation to expulsion.
The director of the academy, Lieutenant General Daryl Williams, will make a final decision about what will happen to them.
The academy said that a full investigation session is underway for the eight military students who have not admitted to cheating.
West Point has been hit by major fraud scandals before, particularly in 1951 and 1976, which involved 152 cadets.
Many cadets were re-admitted from the 1976 incident due to the manner in which investigations and sanctions were handled.