High incidences of sexual misconduct, cheating and substance abuse in AFA Cadets
A report conducted by The Colorado Springs Gazette reveals a high incidence of sexual misconduct, cheating and substance abuse amongst Air Force Academy (AFA) cadets. Based in part on Freedom of Information Act documents, the report stated the “cadet athletes flouted the sacred honor code by committing sexual assaults, taking drugs, cheating and engaging in other misconduct at wild parties while the service academy focused on winning bowl games and attracting money from alumni and private sources in recent years.”
Lt. Gen Michelle D. Johnson, Air Force Academy Superintendent, did not deny the findings in the Gazette report.
She said in a statement that the disgraceful behavior of the cadets “has caused us to refocus on our culture and climate. Since my arrival a year ago, we’ve taken a number of actions across the campus with the objective to even more deeply engrain a culture consistent with our core values.
Fox News reported that AFA athletes have taken part in wild off-campus parties. Incidents of heavy drinking, marijuana use, and date-rape-drugs have been reported at these events.
Dating back to 2010, the parties included “a core group of top football players” who allegedly partook in the drugs and alcohol. They purportedly used drugs to debilitate women and sexually assault them.
According to the Gazette, the parties were so out of control that the Academy canceled a 2012 sting operation. It was unsure if the undercover agents would be able to protect the women in attendance.
In addition to the cases of substance abuse and rape, the report indicated high incidents of athletes cheating on tests. The academy is well-known as one of the toughest academic environments in the country.
However, in 2012, 78 cadets were accused of cheating on a mathematics exam. A large amount of athletes were involved in the incident. Most recently, 40 cadets allegedly cheated on a chemistry assignment. Other probes into the extent of misconduct has shown that scores of athletes have been compromised yet penalties for cheating have not been fully enforced. Fifteen years ago, a cadet caught cheating would be expelled.
According to Fox News, Johnson stated that the Athletic Department has already “implemented several programs to ensure all cadet-athletes are living up to the Air Force’s core values. They established the Respect and Character Enrichment committee that meets weekly to ensure teams and athletes are living up to our expectation,” she said.
Johnson admitted that in the mist of all their efforts, she expects that “we’ll still have issues with a few young people who will make poor choices.
The Gazette reported that leaders at the Air Force Academy are reacting to the allegations of misbehavior by tightening recruiting standards, beginning new programs and continuing investigations and monitoring to ensure athletes meet the school’s strict conduct rules.
The code of conduct has been broken, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed.