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 CapitalEarl 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.

13 Responses to “The Naval Academy and spice”

  1. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Our fearless leader has obviously not met any Liberty athletes . . . .

  2. Dwight Sullivan says:

    I have met some Naval Academy athletes . . . .

  3. J Peterson says:

    I saw that list. Anyone who would include the academies in a list of stone cold sober institutions obviously has not spent any time there. Ringknockers are some of the hardest drinkers out there…

  4. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    “The former mid from Maryland said the academy used him and a few others to send a message to the Brigade of Midshipmen.”

    Well, yes, that’s good order and discipline for you. Next time someone reads you your rights, you might have wised up enough not to talk.

  5. Andrew says:

    Let’s just say that the Firstie club was always known as the “thirsty club” and many a cadet stumbled back to the barracks after a night there.

  6. Just Sayin' says:

    so let me get this straight…

    smoking real pot (so long as you are on the right athletic team) is okay, but smoking fake pot gets you expelled.

    Okaaaaaaay…

    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/01/navy_academy_football_drugs_012710w/

  7. k fischer says:

    JS,

    It appears that the Naval Academy exercised its sound prosecutorial discretion based on the mid’s perfectly good mistake of fact defense. I completely see how the mid probably quite often partakes of one of Swisher’s finest when it is not adulterated with a little Maui Wowee and was completely surprised when this particular cigar tasted a little funny. So funny that he had to take two or three more long drags, holding the smoke in just to be sure. Perfectly reasonable explanation……….

  8. Anonymous says:

    What’s this Mid’s point? I don’t really care how many other Mid’s may or may not have been doing Spice. If he was doing it, and he admitted to it, he was wrong and shouldn’t be commissioned. If he is already flaunting the rules now, why should we be entrusting him with leadership and responsibility? He doesn’t deserve to wear this uniform.

  9. Just Sayin' says:

    well, he has a point when the substance is available commercially, the anti-spice guidance was vague and the academy has a history of ignoring legitimate narcotics when the user is a football player.

    Your statement basically implies he, who admitted what he did, is less deserving to wear “this uniform” than the guy who pretended he didn’t know what a blunt was.

  10. stewie says:

    Well, Just Sayin’, when you put it like that…

  11. k fischer says:

    I see Just Sayin’s point. Just like I wouldn’t want a president who was too stupid to inhale when smoking a joint, do we really want Naval officers who are so daft that they do not know they are actually toking on a spliff? I would much rather have the Spice users in the Navy. At least they knew what they were smoking. They just didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.

  12. Matt says:

    Does anyone else find it frustrating that this Mid refers to himself and the other students as kids? I certainly remember that I was not as mature as I ought to have been as an undergraduate, but anyone with 18 years life experience who is being awarded the excellent (and astoundingly expensive) education these Mids are getting – courtesy of the American taxpayer – should be expected to regard themselves and acquit themselves as responsible adults.

  13. imop2 says:

    Is the Navy academy an institution that is governed by laws? Or where the good ole boys network is in play and the football players and admirals daughter dont have to follow the same rules? Here is the kicker, the Navy law, at the time of the events, never stated Spice and only said that you could not get high on designer drugs. That was the wording in place, you get off the couch and check it out…Section 5 of SENAVINST 5300. 28D contains a list of banned substances and spice is not on the list. Section 6 states other (vague) substance and basically says one can not get high….What about coffee, alcohol? So we kick these kids out and they were not educated on spice at all by the the Academy and the law that is used to convict them, DOES NOT!!!! How do we expect God to Bless America when this kind of injustice goes on?