DOD Service Academies:

More Changes Needed to Eliminate Hazing

NSIAD-93-36: Published: Nov 16, 1992. Publicly Released: Nov 25, 1992.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Mark E. Gebicke
(202) 512-5140
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the treatment of fourth class midshipmen and cadets at Department of Defense service academies, focusing on the: (1) extent of hazing at each of the academies; (2) academies' actions to control and eliminate hazing; and (3) impact of hazing on cadets and midshipmen.

GAO found that: (1) the distinction between allowable fourth class indoctrination and improper fourth class treatment was unclear to a significant number of cadets and midshipmen; (2) the majority of the students at all three academies indicated that during their fourth class year they had been subjected to upperclassmen screaming in their faces, verbal harassment, memorizing and reciting trivia, and using study hours to prepare for fourth class duties; (3) the officers on the commandants' staffs generally concurred with the extent of hazing cited by the students, except for the Air Force Academy officers; (4) academy disciplinary records revealed that few individuals have been charged with hazing; (5) the Military Academy and Naval Academy made changes in their fourth class indoctrination system which focused on positive leadership development techniques; (6) there was a strong correlation between self-reported exposure to hazing-type treatment and higher frequency of physical and psychological stress symptoms, lower grade point averages, thoughts about leaving the academy, and lower motivation toward making the service a career; and (7) the majority of students, especially those in the upper classes, held traditional views regarding the purpose and operation of the fourth class system.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The senior military officer in OASD (FM&P) now participates in the annual superintendents' conference and will continuously work with the services and academies to clarify and improve the objectives of the fourth-class system.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Military and Naval academies continue to clarify the objectives of their fourth class indoctrination systems and apply the question, "How is this activity related to the development of a professional military officer?" to eliminate remaining elements that serve no demonstrated developmental purpose.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Starting in the 1992-93 acadmic year, OASD (FM&P) began conducting annual reviews of the fourth-class systems at all three academies.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Air Force Academy conduct a thorough assessment of its fourth class system, similar in scope and scale to the reviews conducted at the Military and Naval academies. Specific attention should be paid to clarifying the goals of the indoctrination system, articulating specific developmental roles for all four classes, eliminating negative leadership techniques, and eliminating or reducing those elements of the traditional fourth class indoctrination system that are prone to abuse or have little relationship to the development of future officers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OASD (FM&P) will work closely with the services and academy superintendents to ensure that the differences are understood and communicated.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should clarify the distinctions between hazing and spirit-related activities and the limits on traditional fourth class indoctrination activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OASD (FM&P) will work closely with the services and academy superintendents to ensure that the differences are understood and communicated.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should clarify the distinctions between hazing and spirit-related activities and the limits on traditional fourth class indoctrination activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OASD (FM&P) will work closely with the services and academy superintendents to ensure that the differences are understood and communicated.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should clarify the distinctions between hazing and spirit-related activities and the limits on traditional fourth class indoctrination activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Academy regulations specifically state that it is not the function of cadets or midshipmen to screen out other students.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should make it clear to cadets and midshipmen that it is not their function to screen out those who they do not think belong, because that function legitimately resides only with academy officials.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Academy regulations specifically state that it is not the function of cadets or midshipmen to screen out other students.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should make it clear to cadets and midshipmen that it is not their function to screen out those who they do not think belong, because that function legitimately resides only with academy officials.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Academy regulations specifically state that it is not the function of cadets or midshipmen to screen out other students.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should make it clear to cadets and midshipmen that it is not their function to screen out those who they do not think belong, because that function legitimately resides only with academy officials.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  9. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur and does not intend to act on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should set the length of the fourth class indoctrination period to the amount of time necessary to achieve specific objectives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  10. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur and does not intend to act on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should set the length of the fourth class indoctrination period to the amount of time necessary to achieve specific objectives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur and does not intend to act on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should set the length of the fourth class indoctrination period to the amount of time necessary to achieve specific objectives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  12. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should develop an explicit policy on how hazing will be handled and take decisive action using the appropriate charge when hazing is identified.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  13. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should develop an explicit policy on how hazing will be handled and take decisive action using the appropriate charge when hazing is identified.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  14. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should develop an explicit policy on how hazing will be handled and take decisive action using the appropriate charge when hazing is identified.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  15. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree that additional direction was needed and therefore does not intend to act.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should make it a specific responsibility of the cadet or midshipman chain of command to prevent and report hazing treatment rather than relying on the recipients of that treatment to report it.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  16. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree that additional direction was needed and therefore does not intend to act.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should make it a specific responsibility of the cadet or midshipman chain of command to prevent and report hazing treatment rather than relying on the recipients of that treatment to report it.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  17. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree that additional direction was needed and therefore does not intend to act.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should make it a specific responsibility of the cadet or midshipman chain of command to prevent and report hazing treatment rather than relying on the recipients of that treatment to report it.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  18. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should, for first-offense, hazing-type practices of lesser seriousness, consider establishing punishments that prevent reoccurrence such as suspending the offender's involvement in fourth class indoctrination.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  19. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should, for first-offense, hazing-type practices of lesser seriousness, consider establishing punishments that prevent reoccurrence such as suspending the offender's involvement in fourth class indoctrination.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  20. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should, for first-offense, hazing-type practices of lesser seriousness, consider establishing punishments that prevent reoccurrence such as suspending the offender's involvement in fourth class indoctrination.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  21. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should alleviate the reticence of cadets and midshipmen to report hazing-related activities by establishing legitimate alternative reporting channels to the chain of command.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  22. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should alleviate the reticence of cadets and midshipmen to report hazing-related activities by establishing legitimate alternative reporting channels to the chain of command.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  23. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should alleviate the reticence of cadets and midshipmen to report hazing-related activities by establishing legitimate alternative reporting channels to the chain of command.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  24. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree that anything needed to be done in this area and therefore does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should protect those who report hazing activity by imposing harsh punishments for anyone taking reprisals against those who report incidents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  25. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree that anything needed to be done in this area and therefore does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should protect those who report hazing activity by imposing harsh punishments for anyone taking reprisals against those who report incidents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  26. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree that anything needed to be done in this area and therefore does not intend to act on it.

    Recommendation: To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should protect those who report hazing activity by imposing harsh punishments for anyone taking reprisals against those who report incidents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  27. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OASD (FM&P) will continue to work with the academies and provide oversight.

    Recommendation: To increase the likelihood of success in eliminating hazing, the academy superintendents should facilitate the acceptance of change by educating the students, faculty, staff, and alumni on the necessity for change and involving them in the process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  28. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OASD (FM&P) will continue to work with the academies and provide oversight.

    Recommendation: To increase the likelihood of success in eliminating hazing, the academy superintendents should facilitate the acceptance of change by educating the students, faculty, staff, and alumni on the necessity for change and involving them in the process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  29. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OASD (FM&P) will continue to work with the academies and provide oversight.

    Recommendation: To increase the likelihood of success in eliminating hazing, the academy superintendents should facilitate the acceptance of change by educating the students, faculty, staff, and alumni on the necessity for change and involving them in the process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here