As an alumnus of one of the last schools in the US with an honor code, the following email from an alumnus of the US Military Academy was a shock.
The message this woman is promoting is that a cadet who cheats is more honorable than a cadet who doesn't cheat if only he will admit that he cheated.
Gentlemen, this is a far, far cry from an "honor code". This is almost the antithesis to an honor code. I can guarandamntee you that not a single other fellow alumnus whom I know agrees with her. Honorable men simply cannot accept such weasel wording.
This statement prompted us to survey other USMA alumni who provided varying opinions about why the honor code there changed since women were admitted. While none of them repeated this claim, the statements from other women alumni proved to be equally as distressing. Not even selecting the best women minds in the country and spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars to mold them into honorable "soldiers" succeeded at that task. What happened instead is that my alma mater was effectively destroyed when it was forced by the courts to accept women in its ranks, based on the "success" of women at the USMA.
I despise the women who destroyed my alma mater and its honor code, using the force of law to do so.
From email@example.comSat Feb 10 11:49:00 1996 Date: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 17:53:58 -0600 From: Bethany Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: fathers <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Please Help VMI
To Whom It May Concern:
As a recent graduate of West Point, I can say that the honor code did not change while there. The code remains "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do." However, the consequences that result when a cadet breaks the code have changed. If a cadet lies, cheats or steals, and doesn't own up to his/her actions, and the Honor Board finds the cadet has violated the code, the cadet will be permanently expelled. However, if a cadet violates the code, and possesses the moral courage to admit it (depending on the severity of the action), the cadet will either be suspended for a year with the option to return with a different year group, or given the option to serve in the Army as a SPC for a year and reapply to the Academy with another yeargroup (if reaccepted). The basis for these changes is that sometimes the more honorable thing to do is to admit your mistakes. If a person can own up to violating the code while knowing the severity of the consequences that ensue, than that person may actually be of stronger moral fiber than one who doesn't violate the code to begin with or one who doesn't get caught. I sincerely believe that no correlation exists between the change in the consequences of the honor code with the admittance of women to West Point. Women have attended West Point for over 25 years now. Why would such changes only be seen 26 years following their admission as opposed to immediately afterwards (or at least in the first decade!).
Bethany Lee USMA 1992
Your candid insights into changes at West Point, particularly to the Honor Code, since women were admitted, have enabled the following summary to be completed. Even though the original question was "Do you know if West Point's Honor Code has indeed changed, and is it your opinion that the admission of women led to this change?", these impromptu responses illustrate the breadth of alumni opinions about why or if such changes occurred. Any message which should not be forwarded to the 500 member list should be marked "PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject header so it will be used only in the final statistical summary. Otherwise it will be assumed that it is available to the entire forum.
"...never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won."
Poll results from USMA Almumni on the West Point Honor Code
On 13 Feb 1996, Andrew Diabo wrote:
> If you remember me, I was one who indirectly pointed out that the admission of > women to West Point was the cause of 'changes' in West Point. There were a > lot of 'changes' to West Point during my time there and I feel that those > changes > were inevitable due to the final decision to admit women. Since women are > around, the honor code has been 'soften' (not that it was rigid, but it was more > precise and effective back then) to adapt to their presence. The bare fact that > we just cannot treat women as equals when it comes to 'combat' and military > ideology and it is a hard truth for many to accept. > > Whether West Point was a success in admitting women, I for one can say that > it was a success to admit women without any real damage but could be more > of a success in creating a bigger and stronger graduate force. I graduated > from West Point and I saw a lot who swayed away from graduation and success. > The Honor Code is something we cherish and live by until today and if it is > tampered, so is our lives and honor. > > Regards > Andrew Diabo > Class of '88 > West Point (USMA)
From MAriyo@aol.comSun Feb 18 23:32:40 1996 Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 01:16:49 -0500 From: MAriyo@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: VMI Forum
Mr. Knight, Please delete my e-mail address permanently from your forum. I do not wish to read nor reply to the subject matter being discussed.
Donna H. (Lee) Ariyoshi, West Point '86
From RoseyDC@aol.comMon Feb 19 22:47:37 1996 Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 20:18:11 -0500 From: RoseyDC@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Please Help VMI
I know this is a bit late sinceI saw the results already, but I still wanted to give my 2 cents worth.
I cannot say whether the honor code has changed since the entry of woment ot the academy. I was not there then. Nor can those who were there previously say how it is now. They are not there now. The honor code changed/evolved during my four years there. It is an evolving code which reflects the corps attitudes as it is run by the corps. I do not believe that women entering the academy was the primary cause of any changes. It was the entering of a population which may have slightly different views on what the honor code entails. Just like when the academy was integrated. Certainly the honor code changed then. Otherwise how could have "racial crimes" occured without out any reporting. Certainly there is a period of adjustment. After that short period it levels out from extremes to a more moderate balance.
Women should be allowed into VMI and the Citadel. A seperate institution is not a viable solution. We already know from the Supreme Court seperate is not equal. If a woman can hang with the men she should be there. Shannon Faulkner should not have been there. She should not hhave been at West Point either. She was not in shape. However, she and any other woman should have the opportunity to apply and be accepted. Just like any man. I can do it. If I wanted to be there then there is no reason for me not to be allowed to.
Rose Class of 1995
From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Feb 20 13:28:09 1996 Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 16:19:00 -0500 From: "Buel, Pattie" <email@example.com> To: fathers <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: VMI Forum
I have spent the most of the last hour reading mail generated by the forum and found I have a few comments.
Ref Mr Hoskinson's reply on the Honor system and demerits: I believe this option (demerits) was done away with well before I entered the academy (Jul '81) but I would like to know when. Maybe having this option (for minor violations - inaccurate statements made spontaneously and not immediately corrected and honest mistakes) would make cadets more likely to admit to them. If a cadet deliberately lies, he should be expelled. An officer's word should be solid gold.
Ref the replies regarding physical standards: People must acknowledge the physiological differences between men and women. If physical fitness standards are to challenge both sexes, the standards (for certain events) must be different. Personally I have no problem with different standards for the push-up, but standards for sit-ups and the run should be the same ior at least closer for both sexes. Perhaps the sit-up standard for women should be HIGHER than for men. The goal is to set standards that willcause both sexes to EQUALLY EXERT themselves in order to meet them. [I'm not good at push-ups - never have been, never will. But I can run as fast as do as many if not more sit-ups than many men my age.] If the standard requires the average cadet to work hard to achieve it, then it is fair. You can't challenge everyone. For some people, the motivation to excel is internal, for others it's based on meeting an external standard.
In case VMI loses its fight (and I hope your alternative program proves successful), you should do extensive research so you can adequately set the standards. At USMA, the biggest gripe from male cadets was the time difference for the indoor obstacle course. Men had 3+ minutes, women had 6+. On the surface this looks very unfair. However, what many men did not realize was the difference in penaltoes given if you could not make and obstacle. For example, failing to make the 7 foot hanging shelf - a man got held 15 seconds and went up the ladder, ditto for the woman but she got an additional 45 seconds tacked on at the end. Same type of unequal penalties for the 16 foot rope climb. If the additional penalties had not been there, the time differences would have been greatly reduced.
As far as allowing women into combat arms branches, I say if women can meet the physical standards they should be allowed in. Those standards must be based on wartime conditions and therefore include endurance for long deployments and covering many miles by foot. We, however, are not going to change the politics involved in women in combat and position coding.
Ref federal funds - To me this issue is not federal funding, but DOD commissions. Any school that receives equal treatment as a DOD commissioning source should have the same admissions policy as regards to sex as the DOD institutions. I think a school remain private so long as the majority of its funding does not come from federal or state tax dollars.
Ref sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is alive and well in America. It existed when I was a cadet but it was not reported. If an upperclass cadet is afraid to quiz a plebe on required knowledge because of possible sexual harassment charges, then things have gone too far in the opposite direction. I understand the definition of sexual harassment to be "unwanted attention or advances of a sexual nature." If you leave off the "of a sexual nature", you're left with harassment and all plebes get harassed. Yes, there are fellow women (can I say that? - "fellow" women) out there who will scream sexual harassment or turn on the tears anytime things don't go their way. I pity those women because they cannot or will not achieve anything important in their lives through their own efforts.
Patricia Buel, USMA 85
From email@example.comMon Feb 12 10:21:25 1996 Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 09:56:00 -0500 From: "Buel, Pattie" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: fathers <email@example.com> Subject: RE: Please Help VMI
As a class of 1985 graduate, I can state that while I was there the Honor Code had not changed - either in language (A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those who do.) or in enforcement. My class honor rep for our company turned himself in for an honor violation when we were juniors (he was suspended for a year). I know of others who were turned in by professors, roommates, etc. These people were both male and female. During my four years, we had no locks on the doors (although I understand this has changed) and you kept your valuables in either your lockbox or your footlocker.
The Academy was talking about changing the phrasing of the Honor Code to reflect "tolerate the acts of those who do" to separate the deed from the person. If the Honor code has changed (in enforcement), I do not think it is a reflection of women being at the academy. Instead I believe it is a reflection of the different environment today's cadets were brought up in where personal honor is a concept that many of them do not understand until after they get to the Academy.
Personally I found upon graduation that I had to change the way I responded to people who were not from West Point. Some people could not be counted on to do things just because they said they would, and some would outright lie if they though that's what you wanted to hear. Don't get me wrong - I'm a strong believer in the Honor Code and I believe that all officers should be able to take another officer at his/her word without regard to commissioning source. It was rather disillusioning to find that wasn't so.
Patricia Buel, USMA '85