The superintendent of West Point has taken full responsibility for a seemingly innocuous pillow fight that turned nasty at the military academy last month after 30 students reported injuries ranging from hairline fractures to concussions.
“I assure you that the chain of command will take appropriate action when the [police] investigation is completed,” Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen said in a statement on Saturday.
The New York Times broke the story of the fight on Friday.
The pillow fight, considered a rite of passage, took place on August 20. It traditionally marks the end of summer training for freshman cadets and is meant to instill an “esprit de corps” among freshmen, or “plebes.” Reports indicated that pillows were crammed with hard objects like helmets, leading to bloody injuries.
Caslen emphasized that West Point does not condone “any activity that results in harm to a teammate. Although the vast majority of the class appears to have maintained the spirit of the event, it is apparent that a few did not.”
This is Caslen’s second scandal since becoming superintendent in July 2013. In 2014, Caslen took responsibility for violating recruitment procedure after it emerged that high school football players were courted with alcohol and a bus ride complete with strobe lights.