Weekend Of Reflection At Academy

February 9th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Weekend Of Reflection At Academy

Colorado Springs Gazette
February 9, 2007
Pg. 1

Cadets confined to base, bar closed after cheating incident
By Tom Roeder, The Gazette
It will be a sober weekend of penitence and reflection at the Air Force Academy, where 4,000 cadets are restricted to base and the on-campus watering hole is closed.
All cadets will spend the weekend cooped up at the base of Eagle Peak figuring out how to ensure compliance with the school’s honor code after 19 admitted to cheating on a basic-knowledge test. Nine others are suspected of cheating and face hearings before a cadet-run honor board to determine their involvement.
The honor code forbids lying, cheating, stealing or tolerating those who violate the code.
The academy is also trying to figure out how to boost the grades of the freshman class, which through December was the most underperforming group of students at the academy in more than 20 years.
The 28 freshmen implicated in the scandal are among the more than 19 percent of their class who have lower than a C average in their first semester. Of the 536 cadets at the academy whose gradepoint averages are below a 2.0, 249 are freshmen.
“This is a pretty disappointing time for us,” Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Regni said Thursday of the cheating allegations that were revealed the day before.
Regni, who ordered the lockdown and bar closure, made his remarks to the academy’s Board of Visitors, a federally appointed oversight group that makes recommendations to the Department of Defense and the president.
Regni said it will be weeks before it is known what punishments the freshmen will get. Possible penalties include expulsion or a stringent, yearlong probation program for first-time offenders.
A cadet reported the cheating. The 28 are accused of using Internet instant messaging to share answers on a test of basic Air Force knowledge that included questions on aircraft types and uniform insignia.
Regni said he doesn’t understand why the freshmen would cheat on such a simple test.
“It’s somewhat incredulous that someone would cheat on the knowledge test, because there’s not a great deal of pain associated with failing that,” he said.
The knowledge test was part of a regimen of weekly quizzes given to freshman as part of the process that leads to “recognition,” or full membership in the cadet wing. Anyone who failed the test would have been restricted to the campus and told to study harder.
Regni said he restricted all cadets to base and closed the bar in a bid to have them “refocus and look in the mirror.” Sunday, he plans to bring all 4,000 cadets together in Mitchell Hall to write down ideas on how to prevent cheating at the school.
Academy instructors have been told to talk with their classes Monday about how to stop cheaters.
“I’m looking forward to a good, solid review,” Regni said.
Brig. Gen. Dana Born said another review is under way to figure out why so many freshmen are struggling academically.
Born, the dean of faculty, said she’s ordered groups to explore everything from daily academic schedules to how much time the freshmen spend playing video games to determine how they can get better grades.
“We’re taking a holistic approach right now in looking at what are all the likely things it could be,” Born said.
The Board of Visitors has requested a look at whether electronics from cellular phones to iPod music players are preventing students from buckling down in their studies.
The freshman class struggles most with math and science, two subjects causing nationwide headaches for college leaders, Born said.
The academic problems are not campus-wide.
While the freshmen are struggling, the senior class has reached unparalleled heights. More than 42 percent of seniors are on the dean’s list, an honor accorded to those who hold a 3.0 or higher grade-point average.

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