Justice at West Point

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by thepalmers4, Jul 27, 2013.

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  1. thepalmers4

    thepalmers4 Member

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    The Wall St Journal published a half-page opinion article today about former USMA cadet Trent Cromartie, who was charged and tried for sexual assault and ultimately separated from the West Point. See page A13 of the July 27-28 WSJ edition or google "WSJ Trent Cromartie."

    The article has a lot to say about bad decisions cadets make, the influence of friends and parents, political pressure, and unlawful command influence.
     
  2. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    That about sums it up. I think most guys are more afraid of being falsely accused and hung out to dry than girls are of being sexually assaulted
     
  3. pointguard

    pointguard Member

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    I missed her

    name, and if she is still at the Academy, or has graduated? Thx, a good read for DS to understand and learn a little about possible realities of life.
     
  4. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    And not enough to say about the dishonorable actions of Gen Huntoon.
     
  5. thepalmers4

    thepalmers4 Member

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    If there had not been "widespread drinking" and "sexual hookups", the General would not be part of this sad story.
     
  6. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    You realize this is still a college, right? And that "widespread drinking" by West Point standards would bore most college students to sleep? :rolleyes:
     
  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    After reading that story, I'm not so sure.
     
  8. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    Please PM me with the info about these wild barracks parties, it seems I've been missing out for the past two years.
     
  9. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    They sure happen at The Citadel, which has very similar restrictions and procedures on cadet leave with similar amounts of supervision in regards to TAC officers, etc, as USMA. Realistically, about 70% of the time they are caught.

    As a caveat I will say from what I've seen the average Citadel cadet has nothing close to the academic load of an SA cadet/midshipman.

    Source: friends and acquaintances at SA's
     
  10. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Did we read the same story?

    Cadets or folks drinking are reflection of our society - somehow drinking makes you "cool."
     
  11. SR-71

    SR-71 Member

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  12. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    My son (Class of 2015) tells me that many of his classmates avoid any contact with women Cadets because its just too potentially dangerous. I think this understandable caution is not in the best interest of the female cadets - unfortunate situation.
     
  13. sean007

    sean007 Member

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    Big Nick - My son is currently a New Cadet. I have already printed out the the Wall Street Journal article concerning Trent Cromartie - believe me when I say, I plan to have a long discussion with concerning this matter when I see him during A day.

    Furthermore, I would strongly encourage every parent of a WP cadet to have a similar conversation with their DS or DD. West Point, and the military in general, seems to be going through a realignment of priorities and philosophy, and until the "new" rules of conduct are codified, I fear a lot of good cadets will be thrown under the (PC) bus.
     
  14. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    When you look at the published USMA cases in the last 5-10 years you see very similar patterns:

    - Significant drinking... beyond casual. And nearly always unauthorized drinking by one party
    - "Frat" violations... (Inappropriate upperclass/plebe relations)
    - Violation of the various USMA regs (horizontal surface, closed door, etc)

    And in nearly every case, both parties violated these which enabled the situation. Only USMA would have the specifics, but I've been told that alcohol has been contributing factor or more in 100% of the recent cadet-cadet incidents.

    It's clear as day to the cadets who have to sit through hours of briefings on this where the problem lies. Drunk firsties have become a stereotype even.

    Yet every year (month??) cadets head down the same path, with some seeing the same result. DS has interceded on behalf of a female cadet friend more than once who continues to put themselves into problem sitations. But is losing patience.

    To BigNick's point, some cadets are serious about their career, and are unwilling to risk it by playing with fire while at USMA. Others seem to not care, and continue to get burned.

    With the number of briefings, regulations, etc there is no way a cadet at USMA does not know about the risk factors and how to avoid them. (For both male & females)

    This is a core judgement issue.... and yes, we are asking the 19 & 20 year olds to act different than your typical college scene. But if they cannot apply good judgement in this situation, what kind of officer will they make in a couple of years?
     
  15. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    Hawk,

    The problem for male Cadets is that in any situation the person in trouble will normally be the male Cadet -even in a he-said, she-said situation. The Army is VERY SERIOUS about this now and the PC Police are looking for people to punish - primarily males.

    I advise my son to be very careful with female Cadets. He has "put some distance" between himself and his female Cadet friends. It is just too dangerous. Even if you think it is a consensual situation or your words or actions are not intended to be hurtful - if reported by the woman - the male Cadet is in trouble.

    In many ways this makes it more difficult for those female Cadets that want to be completely integrated in the Corps and do not ask for or want special treatment.

    Sexual harassment is terrible and must be stopped and the offenders punished. However, I believe the Army has been pressured to go overboard on this issue.

    Ask any Cadet if you do not believe what I have said in this post.
     
  16. thepalmers4

    thepalmers4 Member

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    This is good advice for all SA parents! There is a lot to talk about, including things a cadet may not get briefed on like the impact of political pressure and inappropriate command influence.

    Hawk's discussion above of rules of conduct is right on. If a cadet stays sober, stays vertical, and keeps the door open, his/her risk goes down dramatically.
     
  17. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    There is a huge difference between sexual predators and college kids drinking underage at a party. Most of the pranks and stories that are passed down through the corps and even the knowledge book would be enough to get a cadet separated today. Or do you think a certain future General should have been separated for putting the reveille cannon on top of the clock tower?
     
  18. 845something

    845something Member

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    This issue is not unique to West Point and it is one that the entire Army and military are dealing with now. It is a paradigm shift and that shift is a marked difference from American culture. Specifically, consent cannot be given when impaired. Gone are the days of going to the bar and having a few drinks and finding someone to hook up with. The sooner Cadets and Soldiers understand this AND internalize it, the sooner the issues will go away. The root cause - alcohol - and it's unique status in our culture make this very difficult; especially when that is the only thing these future leaders hear and see from their superiors.

    Leaders need to be leaders and model what is right AND enforce the standards. Yes, that means some individuals will be prosecuted (both male and female) and some potentially good leaders will be gone from the Army. But if one thing is apparent from the past decade this has slowly been evolving, and this should be no surprise to anyone, simply saying there is a change and doing mandatory training is going to do nothing to change the culture in the Army. Commanders are given UCMJ authority for a reason - to maintain good order and discipline. Passing the buck, blaming the PC police, saying he/she should not have put themselves into that situation only does one thing - prolongs the pain of poor leadership longer while the rest of the Army leadership evolves and internalizes that new culture that makes us so distinct from civilian society.
     
  19. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Agreed entirely.... that was the point of my post. There is a clear pattern to these things, and for the most part they are avoidable by both parties.

    Cadets are playing with fire crossing those lines, and all it takes is a pretense, perception, etc to ruin their career. (Especially as a male cow or firstie!!!)
     
  20. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    This is simply not true. Currently the environment that Cadets (male and female) promulgate is a toxic breeding ground for sexual harassment and sexual assault. Most males never experience some of the atrocities with sexual overtones that many females experience as soon as they arrive.

    Don't get me wrong, a male being falsely accused or punished for that which he did not do is certainly a possibility and is equally atrocious, but occurrences of such injustices pale in comparison to the blatant verbal abuses female cadets deal with on a regular basis by immature and unprofessional male cadets.

    That's ridiculous. Anyone who maintains a professional and mature approach to all of their interactions has nothing to worry about. Unless if by "contact" you mean drunken sexual activity with female cadets your son barely knows, then chances are he has nothing to worry about. It's not like people are punished just for talking to female cadets.



    I wouldn't say that there is a new philosophy or rules of conduct to adopt. There is greater enforcement of rules that have been in place and standards of behavior that normal human beings generally don't have issues living up to.

    The changes in enforcement don't reflect a change in the military per se. They reflect a change in American society. When people come from places like Stubenville, Ohio where two football players can rape a drunken girl and be viciously defended by a town that claims they're merely being hounded by the "PC Police" you end up with a larger problem. Whereas in the past it may have been simply dealing with certain incidents, now the battle is one against the cultural ideas that Cadets come to West Point with.


    The issue the Academy faces is how do you train Cadets to realize that what they've been told is professionally acceptable by authority figures like their parents and coaches is unacceptable for those who will wield life and death authority over young men and women who will look to them for guidance and direction?

    There are no PC Police running around to catch well-meaning and innocent young men by trapping them with female succubi whose only purpose is to lure these young men into criminal traps. Rather, there is a push to effect a change in the mindsets of Cadets who come from a cultural milieu that allows for behavior that Army considers Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault.

    Will it be clean and easy? No. American popular culture features a multitude of products and media that routinely encourage and condone behavior that is completely unacceptable for an organization that must be a fine tuned and cohesive killing machine. However, that it will be painful and difficult does not change the fact that professional and respectful behavior is a necessity.

    Those who maintain professional standards of behavior don't have to worry about the "PC Police." The people who have to worry are those who think it's OK to spend a drunken weekend hooking up with people they don't know very well. Or those who think it is wise to send degrading and sexually suggesting emails to whole groups of people in some deranged sense of humor.


    The problem is not that "in any situation" male cadets will be in trouble. The problem is that some Cadets, behaving more like animals than people, put themselves into situations where a hazy and murky recollection of sexual events will be all that persists. Moreover, the problem is that the adults who raise these future officers condemn the proverbial and mythical PC Police rather than the conduct of their sons and daughters.

    I can just imagine how that conversation must go.
    "Be careful son. As fun as it might seem to go get drunk and have sex with female Cadets you aren't in a relationship with, the PC Police are out to get you so be on your guard."

    The Army has been pressured because action needs to be taken. In the past few years nominal action has been taken. Words have been spoken, committee held, but nothing has been done and the problem only festers and grows worse.

    When you get cases of brand new plebe female cadets being asked questions along the lines of:

    -"What's your favorite sexual position?"

    -"How deep can you take a **** into your mouth?"

    -"You look real cute. What's your phone number? I can get you out of here and get you alcohol on the weekends."

    by upperclass Cadets you have a serious problem. I've heard of more cases of females being treated in a degrading and animalistic manner by male counterparts than I have heard of males being falsely accused. In fact, with the exception of Trent (whose case we don't have all the details of) , I haven't heard of a case of sexual harassment/sexual assault where a male was falsely accused and didn't deserve the disciplinary action he received.

    There is an attitude and a mindset among males at the Academy that someone somewhere is out to get them slipping up. That there is a PC Police who is looking to catch them slipping when all they're doing is exhibiting normal (yet completely despicable) American teenage behavior.

    This mentality wherein males feel they will be falsely accused is probably one of the biggest reasons why SH and SA continue to exist in such a prevalent manner. Because no one wants to believe that people aren't being falsely accused and that we just have a culture that breeds sexual harassment and sexual assault. It's just like Stubenville, except unlike Stubenville these young men and women will have ultimate power over the lives of their soldiers some day.

    I applaud your post and wholeheartedly agree.:thumb:
     
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