MBA 633 Case 4

MBA 633 Case 4 - 633 Case 4 Description In April of 1976,...

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633 Case 4 Description In April of 1976, Lt. General Sidney Berry, Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, learned that as many as 100 cadets were accused of cheating on a take home electrical engineering exam (Harvard, 1983). Over time, the number of accused cadets would rise to approximately half of the 823 who had received the exam. Under West Point’s Honor Code System, which is described below, cheaters are to be expelled from the Academy. There are no waivers for violators, and tolerance of violators is not accepted. This incident posed a significant problem because it would have resulted in the majority of the junior class being expelled. The events that unfolded over the next several months would prove to be divisive among current cadets, alumni and the general public. It would also lead to a public relations nightmare for West Point Academy and the entire United States Army, but ultimately the incident did not lead to major changes in policies. Honor Code Background Most academic institutions have rules and policies pertaining to cheating or plagiarism. West Point is no exception to this, but their policy is codified in a way that guides the everyday behavior of all cadets; via an Honor Code. The Honor Code has evolved over two centuries and the system that manages and maintains the Honor Code is controlled completely by cadets, who are considered the guardians of the Code. The Honor Code reads simply, “A Cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal nor tolerate those who do.” (Harvard A, 1983, p. 4) Violations of the Honor Code can result in severe punishment, such as automatic expulsion from West Point Academy. It is noteworthy that the punishments for violations are decided by a committee of cadets known as the honor committee. Decisions of the honor committee can only be overridden by the West Point Superintendent, Secretary of the Army, or the President of the United States (Tomlinson). For the most part administrators and politicians in power are hesitant to overrule decisions rendered by the committee because it would violate the purpose of having the cadets oversee the system. Many former cadets faced an ethical dilemma with the part of the code that stated, “will not tolerate those who do.” Because of the camaraderie formed during their training, many cadets were not willing to turn their fellow cadets in for an Honor Code violation even if they themselves would be considered violators because of their lack of action. Opinions about the strict nature and lack of tolerance in the Honor Code varied even among the
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This note was uploaded on 11/13/2011 for the course MBA 633 taught by Professor Thomas during the Spring '09 term at Bellevue.

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MBA 633 Case 4 - 633 Case 4 Description In April of 1976,...

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