Officials with the United States Military Academy at West Point have banned cadet pillow fights following a particularly bloody “pillow fight” that left 30 people with injuries – ranging from broken bones to concussions.
The summer pillow fight at the center of the ban, which unfolded on August 20, resulted in more than a score of concussions, a broken nose and a fractured cheek.
The cadet pillow fight is an annual event organized by the prestigious military academy’s first year students, or “plebes,” in order to build camaraderie with one another following treacherous summer training exercises that they’re subjected to.
The August 20 pillow fight — which ABC News referred to as a “free-for-all” — resulted in participants not only being hit from behind, but not to the ground. There were even reports of some cadets having been injured with pillow cased laced with hard objects – in support of these reports, one military police identified a cadet who had stuck another cadet with exactly that: a pillow case with a hard object inside of it.
Tallying the aftermath of the bloody pillow fight, there were 24 concussions diagnosed, an unconscious cadet, a broken nose and a broken cheek.
The never officially sanctioned pillow fight “is now officially banned,” West Point Superintended Lt. General Robert Caslen indicated in a statement in which he added, “we will take appropriate action to ensure that all faculty, staff, leaders, the Corps of Cadets and everyone at West Point knows that it will not be tolerated.”
Upper-class cadets did not ensure the safety of the pebes, according to the report. Their failure to adequately control the fight could have been prevented had senior military personnel better communicated with the cadet leadership, according to Lt. Gen. Caslen.
In order to “send a clear message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated at” The Point, Caslen says he’s “taking appropriate action” based on the reported findings – which include “administrative actions” against the cadets as well as the senior military members responsible for the incident.
I’m troubled by the failure to mitigate and lead, and by the conduct of those whose actions contributed to this incident (…) I am taking appropriate action based on these findings — to include administrative actions against senior military members and cadets alike — to send a clear message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated at our nation’s premiere military academy.
Caslen was quoted by the Associated Press as having said in a Wednesday news release that the cadet pillow fight has “no place in the future” of The Academy.
The Academy, which was founded in 1802, had an acceptance rate of just 9 percent in 2013. Founded by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, the nation’s premiere military academy offers a four-year federal coeducational program to those who are accepted into its ranks.
What are your thoughts on The Point’s decision to ban the cadet pillow fight?