Concerned Parent about accepted behavior

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by mdrob214, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. mdrob214

    mdrob214 Member

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    Let me start by saying the Service Academies are fantastic opportunities for the nations young men and women. They provide unique opportunities and challenge those selected to attend in many ways. Mentally, physically, and even morally.

    However, in the past two weeks my faith in the quality of the institutions has been shaken, specifically USNA. During the past two weeks I have heard thru parents the recounting of several stories regarding behavior in Bancroft Hall that at any civilian school would result in fines, eviction, disenrollment, or even criminal charges. Sadly, the source of these stories and the discussion around them consider it humorous and "entitled" because the Midshipmen are giving up all other social life.

    Let me start with the first incident. On a night highly anticipated by the Firsties, service selection, it was reported the rest of the Brigade was instructed to remain in thier rooms, doors locked, until the rancor settled. This was apparently from around 9pm until nearly 2am. During this time the large carts in the hallways were used to ram doors of underclassmen, bulletin boards were torn up and other "vandalism" took place. One mids Mom said her daughter feared leaving the room to even use the bathroom because of the comments being yelled thru the door.

    The second incident was during Army Week. While the Brigade was "locked down" it was too late. After an act of vandalism in one of the Company wardrooms resulted in water damage exceeding $100,000 dollars at what point does adult supervision have to step in earlier to ensure the protection of facilities. This was not unique. There have been multiple times where I have seen pictures this year of rotting food and debris completly covering stairwells to the point is was impassable. These pranks exceed what could remotely be considered acceptable. The USNA protects Tecumseh with rules about what is allowed and it is always cleaned up. Yes, even the halls and stairwells are cleaned up but there is no accountability. Sure, it might be a conduct violation but just don't lie and take your lumps and the Mids are fine. Funny joke. There are better, non-destructive ways to prank. I pulled pranks in "regular college" but never did you cause damage to your "home." Anything like these actions would have resulted in significant consequences the first time, let alone the two or three occurances this semester.

    The third item is what I understand to be the "running of the plebes" where the male Plebes run the halls of Bancroft in shoes and a jock strap or only a sock. By the end of the event they are usually only in the shoes. Really? In today's society? Didn't the Navy learn anything from Tailhook (google Tailhook scandal if you don't know what it is). Not to mention the military as a whole has a WELL DOCUMENTED issue with sexual assault and there are MANY OF US who are currently in the military who annually attend the mandatory training on how to recognize and prevent. This action and the acceptance is what is called an "enabling" event. How can accepting this behavior help teach the future leaders in the Navy to RESPECT each other? Is this "tradition" done by all companies? Seriously, USNA has some really great traditions but this shouldn't be one of them.

    Not looking to start a bashing of USNA, just want to know if this is widespread behavior in all the Companies or if it is limited to just a few.
     
  2. stella

    stella Member

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    Leaders?

    I hope others respond to this thread with their thoughts. As one in the initial stanges of looking into USNA, USAFA and USMA....well, incidents likes these give one pause.

    Of course we know that these things and more happen at all undergraduate institutions...and worse things. I guess it just is more disappointing when it happens amongst kids that are suppose to have leadership and character above those of their peers.

    Curious as to whether these are being blown out of proportion, not fully accurate or accurate. If the later, how often does this stuff occur? Can those who want no part in it totally avoid it?

    Thanks to original poster for putting this out here for discussion!

    S
     
  3. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    Have you seen a frat house or dorm at one of these "regular colleges" you mentioned? While I can't speak for what happens at Navy, we do similar stupid things here at West Point and guess what - nobody gets hurt, nothing irreplacable gets destroyed, and the bonds that tie the corps together as brothers and sisters get stronger. Old grads don't look back fondly on drill and sitting in class, they look back on adventures running away from TACs or otherwise causing mischief.
     
  4. stella

    stella Member

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    PDB888...
    I think the above is the reassuarance parents are looking for. My husband pointed out that of our 3 kids, our oldest would ignore the chaos and do what she felt like, our oldest would be right in the middle of it living it up and our youngest would find the activities ones that would make him anxious. Does that make our middle one a bad or dangerous kid? No.

    But as mom, the stories posted on this original post make me quake! Guess that is why not all stories are relayed home!

    Finally, do you find that there is hazing of kids who do not want to partake?

    S
     
  5. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    What they call "hazing" today pales in comparison to what has been done at the academies for decades and what continues to be done in fraternities today. For example, we have (or had) a tradition here of "birthday partying" the cows and firsties. On the night of their birthday, the plebes rush into their room, tie them up, take them outside or into the showers, and pour ketchup, nesquik, and other condiments on them. While there may be some wrestling around, there is no biting, etc. (USAFA). If someone genuinely says no, they don't get it. The guys don't tie up the girls, and the rest of the upperclassmen supervise. However, one reg staff guy that knew the plebes hated him didn't want to get birthday partied, so he complained up to BTD, and now birthday parties are banned and punishable by death :thumbdown:

    Bottom Line: no one is forced to participate in anything they don't want to participate in (besides Drill).
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    A couple of thoughts.

    First, if you weren't in the hall, you don't really know what happened. You know what someone told you which was likely what someone told him/her, etc. Remember the old "telephone game?":smile:

    Second, there have been, and likely always will be, hijinks at the SAs. It's part of the fun.

    Third, there are officers in the hall at all times. 24 hrs a day. There are very senior officers (Captains through a VADM) less than a 2-minute walk away. Thus, there is adult leadership in the "dorm," which is typically NOT present at civilian colleges, and these adults are well able to control any frolicking if it gets out of hand. I would be very surprised if they allowed activities which threatened life and property to continue.

    Fourth, if you don't want to "participate" in such activities, you can "opt out." In my time there never felt coerced to do anything along the lines of what the OP described. And I never feared for my safety.
     
  7. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    I call BS on anything done within the walls of Bancroft being more unacceptable at a civilian college.

    But, anyway, let's break this down:

    1: Service Selection Night: Plebes always lock their doors (or should) and most everyone else stays inside. From 2100-0200 is excessive, but the gist of it is you shouldn't really be outside your room when the firsties come back. Why? Because service selection night is the one night where it's acceptable to come back pretty hammered. The mix of drunk firsties and random plebes doesn't always have the best results, so it makes sense to keep the two groups sort of separated. If that one kid had actually gone out to the bathroom, nothing bad would have happened and she probably would have just gotten made fun of, but it's just better if the two sides don't interact at that time. No serious damage is done, everything gets fixed, and the firsties manage to drag themselves to class the next day. It's really not a big deal.

    2: Army Week Shenanigans: The throwing of food and beverages was (personally) always my least favorite Army Week activity. I always felt like the more creative pranks were funnier.
    However, there is "adult" :)rolleyes:) supervision that steps in when necessary and conduct action gets taken for the more serious stuff. Everything gets cleaned up and the intent is never to actually break things. When things actually get broken, they get fixed and the people that broken them get stomped.

    3: Running of the Plebes: Harmless. There's no pressure to participate, and there's plenty of warning ahead of time if you don't want to observe the, uh, festivities.

    Different companies have different traditions. My company happened to participate in all three of these, as well as several others you'd probably also find odious. No one got hurt, no one got sued, nothing got too broken, and we're all still (sort of) friends. Taking these things out of context is bound to get people upset.
    No matter how mature you think your 18 year old bundle of joy is...they probably aren't, regardless of the amazing leadership skills they learned in AP Calc and as student president.
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    USNA1985 and Hurricane;.... WELL SAID:thumb:

    Not that it offends me, because honestly, NOTHING offends me; but I think it's a matter of "perception" that upsets some posters; especially parents.

    Here's the part of "perception" that I have a problem with:

    1. "Adult Supervision"...... Hate to tell you this, but your son/daughter, plebe, doolie, cadet, mid, or whatever applies to them........ ARE ADULTS!!! Sorry, but they aren't your "Little boy or girl" any longer. They ARE ADULTS!

    2. In line with #1, I do not think it's appropriate to refer to them as "Kids". They may still and always be your children, but they aren't kids.

    In a nutshell: Yes, the academies can be at times similar to college dorms; pranks, raising hell, etc... But you need to realize that little Johnny or Janey did NOT "Go Off to College". They are now in the military. They have their own lives now. Their world is much different than yours. Most importantly, they are adults and 100% responsible for their own actions. They aren't mommy and daddy's responsibility anymore. Not to say that we as parents don't worry about them and concerned that they stay safe, happy, and succeed. Even those of us who spent 20+ years in the military and raised these kids in the military and know what to expect; still have these concerns. But in the end, my concerns and responsibility for my son at the academy was much different than that of my daughter at the local state University. And to be honest, I worried MUCH MORE for my kid in the State University than I did the one at the academy.

    Bottom line: The academies and military take care of their own. Don't worry about it. Your son or daughter is not going to be going through anything that no one else has gone through. Thousands upon thousands have gone before them. And as has been pointed out, no one expressing concern here is actually there. What you hear and interpret is not necessarily the way it is. Stories and events are always embellished to sensationalize and become more than it really is. Anyway; relax. If your son or daughter are at the academies or will be attending the academies, then they will be adults responsible for themselves. They will have the knowledge and tools to take care of themselves, to be safe, and to succeed. And they will have hundreds of others taking care of their back. This, and the fact that thousands have passed through those doors before them, make this much more different than any civilian college out there.
     
  9. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    And what's a $100,000 (of needless vandalism damage) to the US taxpayers anyway.

    :rolleyes:
     
  10. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    That $100,00 is probably more reflective of the poor state of the infrastructure and less of the destructive nature of cadets. Somebody bumps into a 50 year old pipe and the whole line explodes
     
  11. haz

    haz Member

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    Other than this thread I have not seen anyting about $100,000.00 of damage to USNA. I would like the op to put up a link that explains the damage, if they can't then to me its nothing but gosip.

    These MIDs are placed in a presure cooker almost 24/7 so sometimes they need to blow off some steam. If anyone thinks that this does not happen at other schools just watch an episode of Campus P.D.
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Not so much a pressure cooker as a holding cell.

    And if anyone here this is the BAD stuff midshipmen do, it's not. Some are disenrolled, and those kids tend to step WELL over the time. :wink:
     
  13. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    100K Damage? Think it is gossip in Bancroft! These things get overblown. Last thing I ever heard of was Firsties (not) tearing down their own posters off the Wall in the Company area. The Plebes work hard on those and I don't think firstie would deface them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  14. Flyboy522

    Flyboy522 USAFA 1986

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    All the replies are well said - I can't say it better so I won't really try. Been there - done that - got the T-Shirt and my oldest will be going if he so chooses and I have no worries!
     
  15. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Having one child go through and hearing the stories of the stupid things for four years was always a laugh. I would be very proud and not concerned if any of my other children attended any Service Academy. One to go with application next year. Fraternities were a lot worse.:thumb:
     
  16. icarus

    icarus Member

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    Oh no!
    What would helicopter parents do upon learning of such shenanigans?
     
  17. BillSL

    BillSL USMA Class of 2016

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    Complain and make spirit missions hard to get approved :/
     
  18. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016

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    I don't know the specific final cost they came to, but I've heard it range from 80-150K. And it is probably somewhere up in there. There was flooding in a wardroom on the 3rd floor which caused water damage all the way down two more floors and into the mid store.
     
  19. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    The flooding was definitely uncalled for and most certainly against the ROE. But alas, plebes don't always think too much.

    Yes, these things happen when you let midshipmen loose, and should definitely be prevented, but there is only so much that can be done. Things don't always go as planned, people don't always follow the rules.

    "Oh, no, that can't be true, all midshipmen are precious angels who will never make any mistakes. Especially my son. He would never participate in this insanity."
     
  20. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Ah but is the ruckus and damage caused by those frat boys paid for at the tax payers expense? Lets be honest, the American people hold the cadets and mids at the academies to a higher standard than the "brothers" of Sigma Pi Whatever. If the OP's rumours are confirmed, 100k worth of damage is no where near acceptable in terms of college kids being kids.

    If it's really just some bulletin boards and a little shenanigans then I don't see a problem with that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012

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