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Yet Another Scandal at West Point? You Be the Judge (Part 1)

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Yet Another Scandal at West Point? You Be the Judge (Part 1)

By Bill Prince, Colonel (Ret), US Army, USMA ’70

Scandal, cover-up?! Certainly, the apparent quibbling and stonewalling on the part of West Point officials regarding the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to cadets forces even the casual observer to ask what exactly is West Point trying to hide; and why?

Given the catastrophe in Afghanistan, should not West Point put politics and currently trendy theories aside to ensure that the Army’s future leaders are as well prepared as possible to go into harm’s way.

Bill Prince here – commissioned in the Infantry from West Point, served in Vietnam with both Ranger and Special Forces units, a two-year tour in El Salvador during the war there, decorated for “extraordinary heroism” during operations in Somalia, and finishing up with 11 deployments between Iraq and Afghanistan. I provide that background as, at least, partial bona fides for stating as my fixed opinion that CRT, if allowed to fully infect our military, will have a devastating impact on troop morale and unit cohesion.

Given the CRT threat to our military, I thought it worthwhile to investigate CRT at West Point. The following is Part 1 of the results of my investigation. The editors of the STARRS newsletter have graciously agreed to publish these results in two parts.

If the reader finds the following to be troubling, I believe Part II will solidify the impression that at least some of the individuals charged with training our cadets have lost focus on the mission of the Military Academy “to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.”

I had hoped to get most of the information for this article directly from West Point officials. Regrettably, the West Point administration has provided only limited assistance to me in this endeavor, despite my repeated requests for additional details and an offer, on my part, to provide the Academy’s Public Affairs Office (PAO) with the draft of this article for their review prior to publication.

And I seem to be in good company. West Point has failed to provide “substantive details” in responding to Congressional inquiries and now finds itself subject to a Judicial Watch lawsuit for failure to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. (West Point facing an obstruction lawsuit is clearly embarrassing for those of us trying to promote the Academy in our communities).

So how did a demonstrably racist, extremist ideology make it from the fringes of academia to the training of West Point cadets?

In preparing this article I twice contacted the West Point PAO with specific questions and wrote a personal letter to the Academic Dean. Regrettably, neither responded, nor did the PAO even acknowledge my request for confirmation that they had received my emails.

A subsequent request to Dr. Jeffrey D. Peterson, Director of the Character Integration Advisory Group (CIAG), elicited a terse response recommending I contact the already unresponsive PAO. I did receive some help from officials of the West Point Association of Graduates (AOG) but could not help feeling that “higher ups” were restricting them to a carefully approved set of responses.

In my second request to the PAO, I asserted that their lack of response would only fuel charges that the West Point administration was trying to cover-up a series of questionable decisions.

The following summarizes the questions I have raised. These provide an overview of the more controversial aspects of CRT at West Point – aspects which I had hoped West Point would confirm or deny, explain or at least put into context.

Perhaps the strongest evidence for a cover-up is the fact that should there not be evidence of wrongdoing, West Point would be delighted to set the record straight by showing those concerned (like the author), where we are misinformed.

West Point Superintendent LTG Darryl A. Williams has admitted that cadets attended a lecture given on 11 Feb. 2021 by Dr. Carol Anderson of Emory University. A slide from Dr. Anderson’s presentation reportedly contained the seminar title, “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage.”

In a 25 Aug. 2020 tweet, Dr. Anderson described (then Commander-in-Chief) President Trump as a white nationalist and the Republican Party platform as a platform of white supremacy.

Further, she has claimed that the motivation behind the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was the insistence by Southern whites on having access to the weapons they might need to quell slave revolts; a claim not supported by historical records.

West Point has not provided me with any information on who invited Dr. Anderson, nor details of any vetting process which would have easily uncovered her radical, racist views.

However, my investigation uncovered a possible link. HI 463 – “Race, Ethnicity, & Nation” contains a class “Not a Control Group: Whiteness as Race.” Required reading for the class are pages 1-38 of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide by none other than Dr. Carol Anderson.

Professors listed for HI 463 are Dr. David Frey and Dr. Peggy O’Donnell. Dr. Frey received his PhD. from Columbia and Dr. O’Donnell received her PhD. from UC Berkeley.

I believe it is fair to say that neither of those institutions are noted for producing “rock-ribbed Republicans.” I have asked if Dr. Anderson would again be invited to lecture to cadets but did not get a response.

This ends Part 1 of what has been for this “old grad” a very disturbing inquiry into the state of training of our future Army leaders. The most troubling aspect has not been what has been fed to the cadets. People of good will can disagree on what is, and what is not, of value in cadet instruction.

As misguided as I believe Critical Race Theory to be, the most damaging aspect of this investigation has been the lack of transparency on the part of Academy officials.

Had Academy officials responded with “Oops, we made a mistake on pushing this theory” I would have accepted that.

Had Academy officials stated clearly, “this is what we did, and we stand by it” I would not have agreed but would have respected their integrity.

What I find unconscionable is the stonewalling and apparent desire to hide their actions.

Part 2 will provide additional details. I hope the reader will stay tuned.

Yet Another Scandal at West Point? You Be the Judge (Part 2)

Yet Another Scandal at West Point? You Be the Judge (Part 3)

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