Breakout was yesterday, the 31st. This is very cool, because it's in keeping with a dykeline tradition. They had the same exact number of days in the Ratline as their dykes and granddykes.
Class of '06: August 17th, 2002 - January 25th, 2003
Class of '09: August 20th, 2005 - January 28th, 2006
Class of '12: August 23rd, 2008 - January 31st, 2009
The Class of '03 broke out in late February, if memory serves.
As far as cell phones go, the First Class President decided today to give Fourth Classmen the privilege of using cell phones in their rooms only. Of course, this is only in effect until they start messing up and begin to lose privileges.
My rat year was the first year anyone but Firsts were allowed to have cell phones. The Second Class ('07) received that privilege at Ring Figure (just before Thanksgiving). At that time, cell phones were regulated by the Commandant's Staff. Anyone but Firsts (and then Seconds) caught with a cell phone received an automatic 5-1-5 and the phone was confiscated until the next furlough, when the cadet had to bring it home and supposedly leave it there. My Third Class year, the Second Class ('08) got pretty torked off because my Class received our cell phone privileges after the rats ('10) broke out. Here's how it works:
1) If you're a rat, you got nothin'.
2) Thirds (and now Fourths) are permitted to have and use cell phones in their rooms only. It's convenient for ordering pizza or Chinese, but it sucks terribly when your roommate is fighting with a girlfriend/boyfriend while you're trying to sleep.
3) Second Classmen can use their cell phones in their rooms or on the second stoop (the second floor of barracks, where all Second Classmen live). This provides a little more privacy, but if you talk too loudly people can still overhear your conversation.
4) First Classmen can use theirs anywhere in barracks. It's very convenient to be able to go out into the courtyards in the middle of the barracks. Very private. And it's nice to be able to sit on the benches outside the Commandant's office.
5) No cadets are authorized to have or use cell phones outside of barracks. This includes academic buildings and any location off-Post while in uniform (and we're always in uniform in public, unless we leave Rockbridge County).
Here are the major changes from Rat to Fourth Classman:
-They don't have to strain or walk in the Ratline anymore
-No one can drop them for pushups anymore
-They can talk outside of barracks and academic buildings
-They can use cell phones (this is the first year this has been permitted), but only in their rooms
-They can watch movies, play video/computer games, use IM, listen to music and fraternize (be friends with) Seconds and Thirds
-They can go out on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday evenings, other than with family/host family
-They get one weekend leave, but must depart and return in grey blouse (this goes for spring break, too)
-They can date Seconds and Thirds, but not Firsts
-They can relax when they eat (as opposed to eating at attention and not looking at their food)
-They no longer have the fear of the Rat Disciplinary Committee (this is worse than it seems... instead of paying for infractions in sweat, they will now only get PTs and/or confinement from the General Committee)
-When we switch back to white blouse (summer uniform), they'll get to wear shoulder boards that have the VMI crest on them, as opposed to the plain grey shoulder boards of rats
-They'll be getting their white-on-black nametags soon, instead of their old black-on-white ones
-Soon, they'll get their Class patches for the left shoulder of their duty jackets (it says simply "12", as opposed to the company patches of other academies/SMCs... again, we identify with Class first, company second)
-They can put their hays down at noon instead of 11:15pm now
Here are some examples of Third Class privileges:
-Being improperly dressed on the third stoop only (they can still get demerits for this though)
-They don't have to march back up to barracks after meal formations
-Wearing bathrobe on the third stoop only (this protects them from demerits)
-Loitering on the stoop (eating, drinking, standing and talking for extended periods of time)
-Use of Marshall and Lejeune Arches (they can also use Daniels Arch, as of Breakout)
-They can leave for weekends/furloughs in civvies
-They can walk on the sidewalk closest to the academic buildings
I think that's pretty much it. Good questions... keep 'em comin'!
Keep it real,
Jackie M. Briski '09
First Class Private