Academy values win out over cheating scandal
By Tech. Sgt. Steve German, Air Force News Agency
/ Published February 24, 2007
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNEWS) -- While the cheating scandal here earlier this month showed a handful of cadets made the choice to cheat on tests, it was other cadets who reported those breaking the rules.
A wall at the academy displays the academy's honor code: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does." Johnny Whitaker, director of Communication at the academy, said the honor code played a role in cadets coming forward to report those breaking the code.
"The system worked as designed", Mr. Whitaker said, "The code was developed in 1960, it hasn't changed in its 47 years since it was developed, and it's the foundation of this place."
Thirty-nine cadets have been investigated since interviews began in early February. Thirty-six cases were forwarded to be investigated further based on normal procedures in the cadet honor system. Twenty-four cadets have admitted to cheating while 12 others deny the allegations. All of the cases involve freshmen cadets, known as fourth classmen.
"Everything that we do, our mission, is to produce officers of character," Mr. Whitaker said. "Obviously, integrity is a major aspect of that character development."
The cadets involved are said to have shared answers to tests via instant messaging software over the Internet. The tests involve basic military knowledge all freshman cadets are required to know.