CGA investigating possible honor violations

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by USCGA_2018, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. USCGA_2018

    USCGA_2018 Member

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    NEW LONDON, Conn. -A group of third class cadets is currently under investigation regarding a potential violation of the Academy’s Honor Concept. The case involves alleged unauthorized collaboration on online quizzes. The situation is currently under investigation and no further details are available at this time.

    "We hold all cadets to the high standard articulated by our Honor Concept," said Dean of Academics, Dr. Kurt Colella. "In situations like this it is the responsibility of Academy leadership to determine whether each accused cadet’s actions are an opportunity for learning, or if their misconduct is serious enough to keep them from serving successfully as Coast Guard officers. We follow a methodical and deliberate process that involves a thorough investigation to identify the facts of the case, and will then determine the most appropriate means of addressing the issue with each cadet involved."

    Ugh... Knew about this since MAP week. It involves a large number of cadets with varying degrees of culpability. This is an unfortunate incident that will serve as a reminder to constantly evaluate your actions and conduct.

    On a more positive note, the academy has changed the structure of the course for this spring so that this type of environment for convenient collaboration will not exist. I hope for a speedy and just (perhaps lenient) resolution for all involved.
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Boot 'em! Changing a system so dishonorable people aren't able to act dishonorable (as easily) does nothing to rid the institution of that excess garbage....
     
  3. proudofmyboy

    proudofmyboy Member

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    Honor is everything....
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's the only thing no one can take from you. You have to give it away and once you have it's hard to get it back.

    That was drilled into us at CGA. I revolted against some things there, but that one sunk in (as did how to fold my underwear and socks).
     
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  5. proudofmyboy

    proudofmyboy Member

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    Yes indeed..We taught DS that at a young age. It is something that he holds dear.
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I am always very sad for the parents and family of cadets and mids who get tangled in these things. All the SAs have had these types of incidents, large scale ones recurring every few years. Those parents thought they had instilled good judgment and values, only to be horrified by that awful call home from DS or DD with news of their fall from grace. While serving as a USNA BattO, I came to believe Good Mids Can Do Bad Things. Sometimes they can recover and stay, sometimes the immediate, second and third order consequences change the entire course of their lives. I saw the impulse of a moment, fueled by fatigue, fatal competitiveness, a sense of invincibility and a moral compass ignored lead to collapsing dreams.

    I was the Honor Remediator for several mids who had been retained after Honor proceedings, and we worked through discussions and assignments designed to "rehab" them. Every one of them bitterly regretted their actions, and all admitted they knew it was wrong in the minute and wished they had listened to their gut. For the record, I personally felt that most should have been separated, but due process had been followed and leadership gave them a second chance. Not one of them woke up the morning of that day thinking "I am going to cheat today."

    For parents: yes, talk about values and moral obligations, but also share practical life lessons about knowing when you are too tired to make a good decision, understanding the power of impulses, coping with peer pressure, learning to pause a moment and think through an action and all possible risks and ramifications.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
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  7. USCGA_2018

    USCGA_2018 Member

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    LITS, I enjoy your posts and agree with you often on many things, but I think that we need the process to play out here. Simply booting 'em may not be practical. What if this incident included 50 or more cadets with the potential for significantly varying degrees of involvement?

    When the investigation concludes then the cadets can go in front of a board and have their fates determined. Until then, we should refrain from labeling any of these cadets as dishonorable.

    We probably should not discuss details of the inquiry because there is an ongoing investigation and anything I might add would be second or third hand anyway. I can tell you this though. A good number of the cadets that were in this class are friends, teammates, share the same major, are members of the same company, or at a minimum are all 3C. It hit my DS hard and as he explained the situation to me I asked, "If you were in that class, would you be in trouble as well?" He said, "ya, probably".

    These are 2 and 3 star cadets we are talking about. These are some of the best and brightest young leaders. When details emerge maybe we'll learn that these were a series of online, open book, non proctored quizzes? Labeled quizzes, but certainly sounding and appearing more like home work and being treated as such by the cadets?

    Again, I do not know all the details, but perhaps this has become public and is such a spectacle more due to the number of alleged participants as opposed to the egregiousness of the violation?

    Regardless of the outcome for these cadets, there has been opportunities for redemption already. Admitting self incriminating facts to those investigating these matters is honorable. Giving the names of others that you collaborated with demands trust. Telling your fellow cadet, who has not yet been questioned, that you incriminated them takes courage.

    I have immense respect and admiration for these cadets that are prepared to walk through the fire to continue their education and service to the Coast Guard. There is already so much stress and pressure at a SA, I can only imagine what the last 5 weeks or so have been like and what the coming weeks will bring.

    Popular or not, and admittedly not fully informed, I'm rooting for the cadets in the Class of 2018.
     
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  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'll say this. I did not have a classmate who was kicked out who wasn't either a friend, in my major or in my company (OK, maybe a few). We started with a little over 300 and ended with around 200. Some left on their own, of course. Some couldn't cut it in the classroom. Some broke conduct rules. And some were dishonorable.

    If you can't hack it in class, that's fine. There are competing pressures and it can be overwhelming for anyone.

    Some people break rules. I got my share of demerits (I'm sure more than 100, but I can't remember anymore). Some people break big rules (sleeping with the wrong people in the wrong place, drinking alcohol when they aren't supposed to).

    And some people lie, cheat, steal or attempt to deceive. Those stories eventually become "cadet A said….. cadet B did….." lessons, which are shared at company training.

    We had PLENTY of "open book" homework, that was not, in fact, "ask a classmate" work. If there was doubt, you'd ask… so you didn't become a "cadet A or cadet B." And yes, there were incidents, here and there, of cadets cheating, and that usually resulted in 5-10 cadets heading at the door at once. When someone was spared, they weren't thought of in glowing terms. You know why? Because they no longer deserved to be there, regardless of what the Supe said.

    This information won't be public (cadets won't be identified) because it's an administrative issues. Typically cadets, when charged with an honor offense, go in front of the honor board. The honor board is composed of cadets. After that the recommendation of the honor board goes to the Superintendent (or was it the Commandant of Cadets… I can't remember).

    In my time at CGA I put two cadets up for honor offenses. One was recommended 9-0 disenrollment, the other was 5-4 disenrollment, both were retained by the Supe or Commandant of Cadets, and both has a stain on their honor, which they couldn't shake.

    Retaining dishonorable cadets does nothing for the corp of cadets.

    Will losing 50 cadets at once hurt? Sure. But this is pretty far out and there are ways to overset it (with incoming classes and OCS).

    At the end of the day, they may have taken the easy way… and they may have thought no one would get caught. Bottom line, you don't want to trust your life to someone who lies and takes the easy way out. I don't care if they're someone's friends, in someone's class, in someone's company or if they make up 15-25% of the class.

    The investigation will run its course, it will be able to determine who was willful and who was simply ignorant of a policy, the honor board will make a decision, and it will be up to a senior officer to make a decision.

    In the court of public opinion, they've already lost.
     
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  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    If I recall correctly, 24 midshipmen were separated in the aftermath of the 1994 USNA double E cheating scandal.

    The "system" plans for mids to depart along the way, both voluntarily and involuntarily, and Big Navy and Big Marine personnel staff keep an eye on the numbers in the rising classes. If need be, the spigot gets turned on at OCS and other programs, to round out the year's crop, one of the reasons those programs exist. Ditto other SAs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  10. LurkingQuietly

    LurkingQuietly Member

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    Since the standards are not the same, does the "system" treat an officer that hasn't graduated a SA differently than one that has?
     
  11. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    No. Tons and tons of threads addressing this. A good officer is a good officer, regardless of commissioning source.
     
  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I am not quite sure in what context to place your question.

    The "system" I refer to here is simply the manpower management analytics and modeling that govern how many officers get commissioned each year, depending on needs of the service, end strength mandated by law in each pay grade, predicted attrition rates and other factors. The SAs are the largest factories in the new officer production pipeline, but there are other production facilities - ROTC, OCS/OTS, PLC, direct commissioning, enlisted commissioning programs, and others - that contribute to the output of new officers each year. I posted about this to lend context to LITS' post. USCGA could, if the sad need be, absorb a chunk of cadets leaving. Production would ramp up elsewhere. Note: the "factory" analogy is in no way dismissive of the very important process of selecting and training officer candidates, from any source. It's commonly used to explain the numbers that rule the outcomes.

    Once commissioned, regardless of source, it's all about performance, performance, performance in the job assigned. SA officers are generally more professionally prepared due to their immersion, but many others who wear shiny new butter bars are equally smart, motivated and focused on professional success. Most of the time, I never knew how my subordinate, peer and superior officers were commissioned, unless they made a point of it. New officers, in general, need a bachelor's degree and some amount of professional training. OJT and hard work in a training or operational environment shake out the pack-plus, pack, and pack-minus players in short order. The SA-sourced officers may be at the top of the heap. Or not. I never thought about it too much as a CO.

    Hope that addresses your question. Do not intend to divert from USCGA honors investigation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  13. USCGA_2018

    USCGA_2018 Member

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    I appreciate the comments and thoughts LITS and Capt MJ. You all clearly understand the inner workings of the SA's far better than I. My limited knowledge comes mostly from the forums, my visits to New London, and what 3C DS reluctantly tells me.

    My initial post on this topic was to get people thinking that this was perhaps not as bad as it sounds. Unfortunately, I am now left fearing that it could be much worse than imagined. I just don't know.

    I'm still hoping for the best possible outcomes for all the cadets, especially those that I know personally.
     
  14. LurkingQuietly

    LurkingQuietly Member

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    Sorry, that may have come out sounding bad. That was a legitimate question I've always had. There are plenty of really quality kids that don't get accepted into the academy's, and I've always wondered if it really matters in the end.

    Thank you for talking about that. I think there should be more encouragement for those that don't go the route of the SA.
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm specifically referring to the Coast Guard here, but the CGA officers are more closely connected, if for no other reason than they came from the same college and had some of the same experiences.

    OCS-sourced officers, until I think 1996 or 1998 (or somewhere in the late 1990s) were out of Yorktown, VA. After that OCS moved to New London and the officer candidates have a small wing in Chase Hall, where CGA cadets live (very separate).

    CGA cadets spend four years together with 200 classmates. OCs spend 17 weeks with a much smaller number of future officers.

    Officers that commissioned from CGA will always have that connection, and will enjoy a history going back to the creation of the Revenue Cutter School of Instruction in 1876.

    But once you graduate, and officer's an officer. You'll be judged by your performance. CGA supplied 40% or so of the officer corps, so a majority of officers still come from other commissioning sources (OCS and direct commissions).
     
  16. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    There is no doubt a full-on investigation happening. When it comes time to hold people accountable, the adjudicating authority will evaluate what's right in the abstract, what's right for the Coast Guard, what's right for USCGA, what's right for the cadet(s), mitigating circumstances and very importantly, what precedents are in place or could be set.

    The full facts about individuals' actions are generally not releasable for confidentiality reasons. Rumors will abound. Cadets, alumni and bystanders will have opinions and share hearsay. It will be messy. Decisions will not please everyone. It could be very sad for some. There may be ugly newspaper headlines. SA detractors will trot out "this is what taxpayers' money buys."

    There is a phrase that applies to accountability as an officer, that appears again and again in military misconduct investigations: "... knew or should have known." That is the higher standard.

    Many a mid tried to tell me, when standing in front of me as a USNA BattO for a conduct offense, "well, I did X because my old roommate's older brother was in the class of 2014, and it was allowed." "I asked a 3/c on my sports team, and she said she had read somewhere it was allowed." Or a variation thereof. Like chum in the water to me, if current regulations were clear on the issue. I would usually just look at them and quietly say, "try again." Sometimes I would have them read the oath they took on Induction Day. Sometimes I handed them Mid Regs and asked them to explain the regulation. To their credit, most of them got it, admitted they knew better and had taken the cafeteria-style approach (shop around for the answer you like the best, from dubious sources), owned their actions and "did the time." Oh my. I kinda miss all that.
     
  17. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    For what it's worth, here is some advice from a 20 year-old that I thought was worth sharing: (1) There are too many rumors floating around; and (2) it is bad enough for the cadets involved. The parents don't need to get into the discussion as well. However, while I am here I will add one thought of my own: I doubt very seriously that there are any parents of those who attend service academies for whom honor, duty and service were not things that were stressed constantly in their homes as their children were growing up, so there are a few high horses out there off which a few might think about climbing down from.
     
  18. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    Of course parents (and others) are going to get into the discussion.

    The topic of cadets (allegedly) cheating has all the hallmark characteristics of a good thread on an internet chat board: it's relevant, current, ongoing, and interesting.
     
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  19. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    LOL, so true!!
    Not to mention many of us are bored stiff waiting to hear if our DS/DD are going to get an offer!!
    These are great distractions, and the utility is a teaching tool for our own.
     
  20. USCGA13STN

    USCGA13STN Member

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    In regards to USCGA, I was at the Academy when the last major incident occurred. The most recent graduating class were 4/c and there was an incident where a not insignificant portion of their class was caught cheating on their indoctrination boards.

    I remember there being general outcry that they weren't discharged. The consequences their class received were for the whole class, not the individuals. While I wasn't (and still am not) in a position to make the decision as to the adjudication of that incident, it makes you wonder about the decision process behind the arbitration.

    Anywho, just some food for thought.
     

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