The U.S. Air Force Academy accused 249 cadets of cheating, a violation of the service academy’s honor code, while the academy held at-home learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, announced a review of potential honor code violations during the academy’s Spring 2020 semester when the three lower classes, about 3,000 students, were sent home in March amid the rising COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the academy statement, a range of potential cheating may have occurred during an 8-day period in which the cadets went home and transitioned to an at-home curriculum.
The academy said, “Infractions were detected by existing Dean of Faculty academic safeguards” and “The Honor Code infractions ranged from failing to properly cite sources, to using unauthorized online tutoring websites to receive solutions to exam questions in real time, to completing final exams in small groups.”
The academy said the majority of accused cadets have admitted to cheating and have been placed on six months of probation and a remediation process. The remaining cases are pending and proceeding through various points of the honor code process.
Cadets found to be in violation of the honor code will not be allowed to represent the academy until they complete the required remediation process.
The academy said the remediation process has also been slow due to COVID-19 restrictions, but said it is dedicated to ensuring cadet accountability throughout the entire Honor process.
“The Honor Code is not only foundational to the Air Force Academy, but it serves as a guide for cadets to live an honorable life, whether serving in uniform or not,” Clark said. “Honor serves as one of my fundamental institutional priorities for developing Leaders of Character.”
News of the cheating scandal comes about a month after the U.S. Military Academy at West Point accused 73 of its cadets of cheating, in the worst cheating incident since 1976 when 153 cadets resigned or were expelled for cheating on an electrical engineering exam. In the most recent cheating incident at West Point, the academy alleged found irregularities in the mathematical work submitted by cadets on a remotely administered exam in May 2020.
Days after reports of the West Point cheating scandal emerged in December, the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis also announced an investigation into irregularities on a computer-based physics final exam. Around 650 students reportedly took the course and the Naval Academy announced all students enrolled in the course received an “I” on the exam, indicating an “incomplete” grade. The Naval Academy did not say at the time whether it suspected the midshipmen of cheating.