Honor Code Changes

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

THE United States Military Academy's venerable honor system is seeing changes this term. Under the more than 175 year-old honor code system, cadets promise not to lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do. The final clause makes it an offense to not report another cadet's dishonorable act. Following two major studies in 1989, cadets' opinions were solicited. Surveys showed cadets wanted more latitude for individual conscience and authority for student hearing panels. With this, the ``modified hearing'' was instituted.

The modified hearing takes place when a cadet voluntarily admits or reports an offense, says Capt. Michael Cardarelli, special assistant for honor. A special hearing is held and an appropriate penalty is recommended.

Penalties can include remedial education, being forced to repeat an academic year, or a year-long suspension. After suspension, a cadet must competitively re-apply for admission.

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Captain Cardarelli says that rather than weakening the system, this will strengthen it because ``it allows a cadet to self-report an offense rather than forcing another cadet to report it.''

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