Grumbling among the Corps of the Cadets over the issue of leadership

This year the approach to leadership in the Corps of Cadets leadership has undergone some changes – and not everyone is happy with it.

One change that seems to have created an issue concerns the disciplinary process. When a cadet violates a rule, disciplinary action is administered through the chain of command. In the 2nd battalion, there is a rumor that there is a quota for disciplinary action forms and that has some students upset.

Ian Alford, 20, a psychology major in the Corps from Haverhill, Mass., has heard that and has a negative take on it.

“I can neither confirm or deny this quota issue and I hope it isn’t true, but I heard at one point 30 disciplinary action forms needed to be handed out in my battalion,” said Alford. “This so-called quota makes leaders look for every little possible discrepancy and it causes good students to suffer for innocent mistakes. Telling someone to seek out problems and give punishments and if they fail they get punished is not good leadership, it’s lazy.”

Another student, 20, and a sophomore who wanted to remain anonymous, agrees with Alford. He said he heard from a cadet in his company that they needed to give out 30 disciplinary action forms in two weeks. “I was given a disciplinary action form and Ian was given one, along with seven others I know,” he said. He thought the punishments didn’t need to be handled with paperwork.

On top of punishments being issued out in the Corps, some cadets raised the issue of unfairness in administering punishments among cadets. Alford as well as the anonymous cadet were both given disciplinary action forms for missing morning formation, each with their own reasoning. Both received different punishments.

“It isn’t fair that one person gets either an easier or harder punishment for the same offense,” said the cadet, who argues that the punishment system that 2nd battalion has been using doesn’t seemed to be working.

However, not everyone is unhappy with how things are run. John Futoma, 19, a junior criminal justice major from Portsmouth, R.I., says he has no problem with how the Corps is run. “Honestly I can’t think of anything that is wrong,” said Futoma. “It’s kind of hard to notice change, because when you work one job one year, and a new one the next, all changes are new to you.” Futoma is a first sergeant in 2nd battalion and says he thinks everything is running stricter than before.

This strictness is seen more as a restriction, described as a tight “leash” on leadership, especially cadre, by the anonymous cadet. Some cadre agree.

Jeff Belleza, 20, a junior communications major from Leominster, Mass., is cadre in the Corps and disagrees with the restrictions and what the Corps thinks the military is. Belleza doesn’t think the Corps conducts itself at all like the military. Despite being a military school, Belleza says the real military aspect isn’t being incorporated into the Norwich lifestyle the way it should be.

“The upper chain of command says they want to make this feel like the real military. Well in the real military, rooks would only get ten minutes to eat. If you want to make this like the real military well then that means if they screw up, I can make them do push-ups,” said Belleza. “If I could change something, it would be physical training before formation to get motivated. Ten push-ups max, for when they screw up. If you put someone in the front leaning rest for a long enough time, they’re not going to make the same mistake again. I don’t like the way I’m training my freshmen. Some of them just don’t seem to get it.”

Paperwork isn’t effective since Belleza said they just “sign it and blow it off” without learning anything.

It is not just upperclassmen who seem disappointed with the way the Corps is run.

“I won’t say who, but I had a rook quit the Corps because he said it was too easy. I’ve heard the complaints from many of my recruits that this is too easy,” said Belleza. “If there are students leaving because the Corps is easy, it should be a wakeup call to ask what is being done wrong here.”

The major issue for Belleza is how hazing is defined. Due to how hazing is defined, it limits what Cadre can do and how they do it in terms of training rooks.

Erin Gats, 22, is a senior communications major from Livermore, Maine and the regimental commander of the Corps of Cadets. She disagrees with the complaints and notes her way of running the Corps differs from what some cadre want.

Gats has implemented many changes to the Corps this year, such as the remedial physical training program which has helped many rooks pass their physical fitness test. Gats believes that the Corps has not gotten easier, but it has gotten more professional.

“I don’t think hazing needs to be redefined and I don’t see a learning value in making students do push-ups,” said Gats. “We have grown more professional since my freshman year and that’s for the better. The people that think it isn’t for the better ,is where the issues lie. We need to change the culture of [thinking] not being able to do ten push-ups is a bad thing. That’s the issue.”

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