by Pam Zubeck
We heard from David Cannon, director of communications at the academy, who says the following about whether a cadet has to repay the government for his or her education and how much that would be:
The Academy doesn't decide if a cadet will pay back the cost of their education (approx $167k and not $400k as you blog — I can explain the difference but basically, the cost of the education is tuition, books, fees, room and board for 4 years. The $400k figure is taking our entire Operations and Maintenance budget and dividing by the number of cadets), the Secretary of the Air Force makes that decision. That's where this is now — awaiting that decision. And we may never know. It will be between the individual and the Secretary of the Air Force.
—————————————ORIGINAL POST: MONDAY, 2:20 P.M.——————————————
Months after the Air Force Academy undertook an investigation into cadets' use of spice, only 10 have been or are being punished.
The illegal drug use investigation was announced Jan. 12. Today, the academy, in response to media requests over the last several weeks, including from the Independent, said of the 31 cadets investigated, 13 have been cleared and 10 penalized in some way. Another eight are awaiting word on their cases.
Here's a rundown of where the cases stand:
— 25 reports of investigation are currently published:
— 13 cadets have been cleared of allegations of substance abuse;
— 8 received non-judicial punishment, such as a letter of reprimand or letter of counseling or an Article 15, a proceeding that falls short of court martial. Two of the eight have been disenrolled, while six still face pending disenrollment.
— 1 still faces non-judicial punishment.
— 1 faces a court martial.
— 2 reports of investigation have been completed and are awaiting command decision.
— 6 reports of investigation are still pending.
The academy said in a press release:
In April 2010, Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould issued a General Order prohibiting the use of intoxicating substances other than alcohol, caffeine, tobacco or lawfully-used prescribed medications. This general order was superseded in January 2011 when the Air Force published a service-wide Air Force Instruction which states “the knowing use of any intoxicating substance, other than the lawful use of alcohol or tobacco products, that is inhaled, injected, consumed, or introduced into the body in any manner to alter mood or function is prohibited.”
It's the second consecutive year the academy has investigated a cadre of cadets for illegal drug use, one of many factors that underscores the idea that the academy's honor code is broken, as we reported in a recent cover story that can be found here.
The most high profile cadet to be punished in the most recent investigation was star running back Asher Clark, who was supposed to graduate last month but was ousted instead. The academy hasn't disclosed whether Clark will be required to repay the U.S. government the roughly $400,000 cost of a cadet's education. Cadets who are kicked out or leave during their junior or senior years can be ordered to reimburse taxpayers. If they separate as freshmen or sophomores, they're generally not asked to repay the expense.