On March 11, several cadets were involved in a party where they ingested cocaine laced with fentanyl. Several of the cadets ended up in the hospital. The Superintendent, Darryl Williams, sent this out on March 14th:
March 14, 2022
Members of the Long Gray Line,
As many of you know, the United States Military Academy has been working through a serious incident involving several Cadets. The health and safety of all our Cadets is my top concern and priority. I ask that you refrain from speculating or commenting on the details of any ongoing investigation.
Initial reports indicate that four Cadets were transported to nearby hospitals in various conditions while on spring break in Florida after allegedly being exposed to a substance that may have contained Fentanyl. As of today, all but one Cadet has been released. We will continue to support any ongoing investigation, and once completed, we will take appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of our Cadets and to maintain good order and discipline within the Corps.
America looks to the Academy to develop leaders who embody the highest level of character. Character development is the most important thing we do here at the Academy. Good order and discipline are vitally important to our success. Therefore, illegal drugs of any kind have no place at West Point, in our Army, or in our Military.
The Academy remains committed to educating, training, and inspiring the Corps of Cadets. I encourage Cadets to take care of each other and themselves. Thank you for your continued commitment to West Point.
Darryl A. Williams
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
We pray for the recovery of the affected cadets.
At the same time, we note that there were multiple football players involved in the incident. Our own examination of the video shows 3-4 Black cadets and 2 White cadets involved (video isn’t the greatest, we may be off on classification). The reporting also indicates that the cadets were in their “early twenties,” so likely not underclassmen, and therefore having gone through most of the Academy’s developmental programming.
We have noted that the “diverse demographic” and athletes, particularly football players, are admitted at a much lower bar and by bypassing the WCS screen that West Point imposes on other demographics and groups.
We have shown that the groups admitted with lower test scores have much higher all-cause attrition rates, and particularly for academic/conduct/honor, than more-qualified groups. Or, broadly speaking, it illuminates the ability of different groups to deal with the overall rigor of the Academy. Including such things like behaving responsibly on spring break.
So while we don’t know anything about these individual cadets, we can’t help but wonder: if West Point prioritized “the highest level of character”, as it claims to do, over diversity and sports, and had admitted on merit some of the many other qualified candidates who applied for these slots, would we be reading this headline today? Would we be keeping the candidates who could have attended in place of those who are about to be separated?
As always, factual corrections and thoughtful criticism is welcome.