13 Middies Ousted In Marijuana Case
by Bart Barnes
The Washington Post
February 21, 1968
The Naval Academy will expel 13 midshipmen for smoking marijuana, Academy Superintendent Rear Admiral Draper L. Kauffman announced today.
It is the largest expulsion in the service academy's 122 year history.
Kauffman's announcement followed a one-day inquiry by the Naval Investigative Service into reports of marijuana smoking within the brigade of midshipmen.
The investigators were called in Tuesday after a midshipman reported he "had seen several midshipmen who appeared to be smoking marijuana in a midshipman's room at Bancroft Hall." Bancroft Hall houses the Academy's 4000 midshipmen.
Today's announcement was the second within a year involving marijuana smoking at the Academy. Last June, four midshipmen were expelled for smoking marijuana in Bancroft Hall.
The Navy refused to disclose the names of the midshipmen in that or today's case.
But it was learned unofficially that the 13 do not include any campus athletes or brigade officers as did the cheating scandals at West Point in 1961 and the Air Force Academy in 1965 and 1967.
Lt. Cdr. Jack M. White, public affairs officer, said all 13 were members of the same company of midshipmen. It was learned from midshipmen informants that the company is the Thirty-Fourth.
White said some of the midshipmen to be expelled had smoked marijuana on more than one occasion and some only once. Investigators are satisfied they have identified all who participated in the marijuana smoking, White said, adding that the current incident and the one last June are unrelated.
He said he did not know where the midshipmen obtained the marijuana but that Navy investigators would turn whatever information they had over to State and Federal authorities.
The Washington Post was first told of the use of marijuana in Bancroft Hall on Tuesday night by a midshipman informant. The Academy's announcement followed inquiries today.
White labeled the midshipman informant's description of one incident as more colorful than accurate, terming it "incredible."
According to the informant, ten midshipmen were discovered smoking marijuana, burning incense and playing with an ouija board in a hallway at Bancroft Hall about 4 a.m. Sunday.
Three of the ten professed to be practicing Buddhists, the informant said, and some of the marijuana was grown in a Bancroft Hall window box labeled "Genetic corn."
Academy spokesman insisted, however, that window boxes are not permitted in Bancroft Hall, "not even for scientific purposes." The hallways are patrolled regularly at night, they said, and no incidents of hallway marijuana smoking were reported.
The Academy said 11 second classmen (juniors), one third classman and one fourth classman were involved. They said the midshipmen will be subject to the draft when their dismissal becomes effective - probably sometime next week.
Until today the Naval Academy, despite frequent criticism of it's educational methods, had been largely free from the scandals and mass expulsions that have marred the histories of its sister service academies.
The Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., was staggered in the summer of 1961 by the first and most spectacular scandal, in which 90 cadets were dismissed for cheating. They included 44 football players, virtually the entire squad.
The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has suffered two major cheating episodes in its brief history. In February, 1965, Academy Superintendent Maj. Gen. Robert H. Warren announced the ouster of "109 cadets who chose to live outside the honor system." There were 29 football players in that group. Two years later, 46 more cadets were dismissed in a new cheating scandal.
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