The image above of 16 Black female cadets at the elite US Military Academy known as West Point has sparked controversy and outrage after going viral.
The cadets all pose with raised fists while displaying sabers seemingly in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
While the photo is great for social media fodder, such actions of political expression are strictly forbidden at the military academy and is considered a violation of the school’s honor code.
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York is investigating a photo showing 16 black female cadets in uniform with their fists raised in a salute that critics are calling a gesture of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the Army Times reports.
“We can confirm that the cadets in this photo are members of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2016,” West Point’s director of public affairs, Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker, said in a statement.
“Academy officials are conducting an inquiry into the matter.”
The Army Times also reports that they received the photo from several readers who were concerned the women violated Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.
The policy provides a list of political do’s and don’ts for service members and cautions against “partisan political activity” when in uniform.
A member of the Armed Forces on active duty may not:
22.214.171.124. Join a partisan or nonpartisan political club and attend its meetings when NOT in uniform, subject to the restrictions of subparagraph 126.96.36.199. (See DoD Instruction 1334.1 (Reference (c).)
-A member of the Armed forces shall not:
-188.8.131.52. Display a partisan political sign, poster, banner, or similar device visible to the public at one’s residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a privatized housing development.
Commencement and commissioning ceremonies are set for May 17, 2016 for West Point cadets. It is unknown at this time how this investigation will affect the women’s military careers.
What do you think about this ‘Black Lives Matter’ photo scandal?
Did the cadets go too far while in uniform?