On both Thursday and Friday, my local paper (the Capital) included front-page articles that might be of interest to military justice wonks. The more interesting was the lead story in Thursday’s Capital. Earl Kelly, Academy closes ‘spice’ probe, The Capital, Aug. 4, 2011, at A1.
The article reports that 16 midshipmen have been administratively separated due to spice possession or use. It also reports that at least some of the midshipmen are being required to repay the cost of their education and gave figures ranging from $108.000 t0 $120,000 for three of them. The separations occurred between December 2010 and May 2011. A massive simultaneous search was executed by NCIS agents in Bancroft Hall — the midshipmen’s dorm building — in December.
The reports that three of the separated midshipmen “several mids asked to have courts-martial, so they could be exonerated, but their requests were denied.”
The article contains conflicting information about whether any of the implicated misdhipmen were retained. The article indicates that the Academy’s spokesman said “that all midshipmen who were accused of using the drug were dismissed, and none was retained.” But the article also reports that one midshipman reportedly was court-martialed for spice use because she also faced another charge and was acquitted. She was allowed to remain at the Naval Academy.
One of the separated midshipmen complained about being separated despite his impression that spice use being widespread among mishipmen:
The former mid from Maryland said the academy used him and a few others to send a message to the Brigade of Midshipmen.
“In February, I was pulled out of class by the NCIS agent, who came right out and asked me if I had ever smoked spice. I said yes, I had, the semester before. That was like sealing the deal.”
“I smoked it three times,” he said. “There were hundreds of kids doing it. Some of them were star athletes. There were hundreds doing it, and we got booted. It is very frustrating.”
Yesterday’s Capital included this front-page article reporting that the Princeton Review named the Naval Academy the sixth most “Stone Cold Sober” college in the country, one spot behind West Point. Scott Daugherty, Sobering reality: Army beats Navy, this time around, The Capital, Aug. 5, 2011, at A1.
The article also reports that the Naval Academy “ranked seventh for ‘least happy students’ and 14th for ‘dorms like dungeons.'”
Living in the Annapolis area, I have a hard time believing that the Naval Academy is a more “stone cold sober” place than, say, Liberty University, which wasn’t in the Princeton Review’s top-20. Which college was named the nation’s most sober? BYU.