In an open letter published recently on Medium.com, former West Point instructor LTC(Ret) Robert Heffington blasts the Academy for lowered admission and ethics standards, changes in core curriculum, and an overall lack of discipline among the cadets.
The letter, addressed to the graduating cadets, starts with Heffington stating his loyalty to the Academy.
“Before you read any further, please understand that the following paragraphs come from a place of intense devotion and loyalty to West Point. My experience as a cadet had a profound impact upon who I am and upon the course of my life, and I remain forever grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the Long Gray Line.”
However, he quickly rips into the school staff for not enforcing the high standards the have set for themselves.
“The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. “
The fort at West Point is the oldest continually active Army post in the US, having been first occupied by the Continental Army in 1778. However, the school did not open until 1802, when President Thomas Jefferson signed the Military Peace Establishment Act. The school originally was quite disorganized, with no set length of study, and even had no standards for age, the youngest cadet being only ten years old. After the War of 1812, the Academy set its famously rigorous standards and formalized an education path.
However, Heffington says that in recent years, high standards and uncompromising studies have fallen away in favor of a winning sports team and political correctness.
“Every fall, the Superintendent addresses the staff and faculty and lies. He repeatedly states that “We are going to have winning sports teams without compromising our standards,” and everyone in Robinson Auditorium knows he is lying because we routinely admit athletes with ACT scores in the mid-teens across the board. I have personally taught cadets who are borderline illiterate and cannot read simple passages from the assigned textbooks.”
“The plebe American History course has been revamped to focus completely on race and on the narrative that America is founded solely on a history of racial oppression. Cadets derisively call it the “I Hate America Course.” Simultaneously, the plebe International History course now focuses on gender to the exclusion of many other important themes. On the other hand, an entire semester of military history was recently deleted from the curriculum (at West Point!).”
Heffington wrote his letter in response to the recent publicity surrounding 2LT Spencer Rapone, the “West Point Commie.” He claims that the school knew about his views, and that Rapone was a troubled cadet, but the school chose not to respond out of sheer apathy.
“(t)hey simply do not want to deal with any problem, regardless of how grievous a violation of standards and/or discipline it may be. They are so reticent to separate problematic cadets (undoubtedly due to the “developmental model” that now exists at USMA) that someone like Rapone can easily slip through the cracks. In other words, West Point’s leaders choose the easier wrong over the harder right.”