In the summer of 1976 West Point military academy was rocked by a scandal involving a large percentage of its junior class. A number of junior classmen were found to have violated rules on a “take home” engineering exam that consisted of two parts. Part 1 of the exam was to be completed individually without assistance. Part 2 of the exam was to be completed as a group activity. Instructors upon grading the exams discovered a trend where contents of Part I had been duplicated or copied in a large number of examinations graded.
All cadet of the West Point military academy live under a idealistic honor code systems that provides evaluation, judgment, and penalty assessment regarding all honor code violations. The honor code is administered by a committee of cadet peers. Most honor code violations result in automatic expulsion from West Point. Decisions by the honor committee can only be overridden by the West point superintendent, secretary of army, or the president of the United States. For the most part administrators and politician in power are loath to overrule decisions rendered by the committee.
The case highlights a intense educational process where the school attempts to impart in their cadets a value system of unlimited energy, motivation, self confidence, comadarie ship, trust, integrity, and honesty. The conditions of west point seek to mimic war time environments. In times of war the leaders need to have high energy levels, be self confident and honest or soldiers will die. The school utilizes a number of “arbitrary” stress events, long hours, close supervision to create a environment where the weak fail. Soldiers are not allowed to show lack of integrity, cheating, self-doubt, pity, or hesitation without being expelled. The average cadets point of view on life is to “survive” today. The main recreation activity is sleep. The extreme environment and pressures...