United States Naval Academy Seeks Expulsion of 15 Midshipmen for Drug Charges
On August 7 the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis recommended that 15 students be expelled from the academy for possession and use of illicit drugs (Michael Janofsky, "Annapolis Seeks Ouster Of 15 Cadets For Drug Use," New York Times, August 8, 1996, p. A18; Reuters, "Naval Academy to Expel 15 More in Drug Probe," San Francisco Chronicle, August 8, 1996, p. A7).
The recommendation for expulsions were made to the Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton. Dalton is expected to approve the expulsions. "Our policy is zero-tolerance, which is not to say someone may not want to try this again. But we take this very seriously, and the swift and decisive way we have reacted shows we have no tolerance for drugs," said Captain Tom Jurkowsky, a spokesman for the academy.
The students facing expulsion, 12 men and 3 women, were charged with use and possession of marijuana and LSD. Their cases were presented to Captain Randy Bogle, the academy commandant, and they either confessed or were found guilty by Captain Bogle. Students who are expelled from the academy are responsible for repaying the cost of their education, which is $85,000 for a senior and $60,000 for a junior.
The 15 students were among 26 midshipmen implicated in an undercover operation in October 1995 when Naval officials, acting on a tip, posed as drug dealers and sold LSD to two sailors. That led to felony charges of drug distribution against five midshipmen. All five were expelled and are now serving time in a military prison in Quantico, Virginia. The other six cases were dismissed for lack of evidence or on exoneration by Captain Bogle. Navy officials describe the scandal as the worst drug scandal in the academy's history.
The initial arrests prompted the academy superintendent, Admiral Charles R. Larson, to order all 4,000 students to submit to drug testing by urinalysis. The test produced no positive results. Captain Jurkowsky said that despite the number of cadets implicated, the scandal did not reflect a deeper drug use problem at the academy.