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Character + Honor Code FAQ

Does the cadet Honor Code apply to all cadets in the wing?

Yes. Cadets are instructed during BCT that they must agree to live by the Honor Code if they want to enter the cadet wing. The Honor Code, which defines a minimum standard for the cadet wing, serves as a basis upon which each cadet can build a personal code of ethical behavior. The Honor Code states: “We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.” The Honor Code was adopted as an institutional standard by the Academy’s first cadet class in 1956, and since its acceptance, the cadet wing has exercised guardianship over it. The Academy has established a Cadet Honor Committee to help maintain high ethical standards within the wing and extend the ideals of the Honor Code.

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What is meant by the term “toleration?”

The Honor Code clearly states that cadets will not tolerate a violation of the code by another cadet. Experience with the code has proven that this is the strong point in maintaining its effectiveness. The Academy’s major honor problems have grown out of minor ones. Isolated individual honor violations were tolerated by other cadets, and this encouraged the spread of more honor violations within the cadet wing. The necessity for intolerance of such violations becomes even clearer when one considers the purpose of our training – to produce officers who will responsibly serve their country rather than their personal interests. The non-toleration clause represents the spirit within the cadet wing to hold its standards high and to protect them. A cadet who suspects or knows of an Honor Code violation is first encouraged to speak with the suspected cadet. However, if the cadet has difficulty in coping with the situation, the person is encouraged to talk with a cadet honor representative.

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How does the Honor Code operate?

The administration of the Honor Code is accomplished by a joint effort between cadets and Academy officers. Each possible Honor Code violation is thoroughly investigated on the premise that the accused cadet is honorable until a sufficient amount of reasonable evidence shows otherwise. The primary sanction for a Wing Honor Board violation is disenrollment from the Academy. Some cadets, however, are retained on probationary status. The main concern in the administration of the code is that fairness and equity be maintained while teaching the importance of personal responsibility and that the rights of the cadets are fully protected during this process. Cadets are taught the specifics of the administration of the Honor Code during BCT and throughout their Academy experience.

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