Last week, former West Point instructor Lieutenant Colonel Robert Heffington, who reported communist West Point cadet Spenser Rapone, penned an open letter to academy graduates blaming West Point’s superintendent, commandant and dean for fostering a sweeping “culture of permissiveness” and an “embrace of mediocrity” within the academy. Now, some faculty have confirmed Heffington’s criticisms, and a former USMA professor claiming to have taught Rapone in his first year at the academy says the communist cadet was urged to resign.
On Thursday, a former senior faculty member contacted by The Daily Caller indicated that Lieutenant Colonel Heffington’s criticisms were “spot on” — and too forgiving, if anything. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Communist West Point Grad Was Reported in 2015 For Anti-American Posts)
Over the weekend, TheDC contacted a former West Point professor who claims to have taught Rapone during his first year at the academy. The professor confirmed that academy instructors are actively discouraged from disciplining cadets for poor behavior and violation of standards.
“I did teach Spenser Rapone,” one of the communist Army lieutenant’s plebe year professors stated. “And certainly the red flags were there.”
“He was highly critical of the Army,” the professor noted. “It seemed like he had a chip on his shoulder from his prior service, but I could never get him to say why. I had seen similar attitudes on soldiers getting out of the Army before. He was critical of the war strategy in Afghanistan as being a continuation of imperialism.”
“[I] even advised him bluntly to resign when he expressed some alarming opinions,” the professor recalled. “While I saw red flags in his statements and behavior, he hadn’t said or done anything bad enough to warrant a sworn statement like that of LTC Heffington. When I say he was critical of the Army, he never said things to me like he later posted on social media pages, like, ‘f$@kthis country.’ To me, he was more obnoxious than anything; he sounded like a jaded private.”
“I can only assume he became more radicalized over time,” this professor added, “because for as many red flags that I saw, I never saw behavior like that which LTC Heffington attempted to correct. I corrected [Rapone] on his hair, attitude… I also witnessed other officers correct him, mostly for his hair and less than acceptable military bearing in interacting with officers in Thayer Hall.” (RELATED: Colonel Who Reported Communist Cadet Slams West Point Leadership)
When TheDC asked if the professor reported the cadet for his attitude and alarming views, the professor responded, “no, I did not,” and explained why:
My superiors were aware of Rapone and had corrected him on their own (I witnessed that). Besides, academic instructors reporting disciplinary issues to TACs invariably resulted in the academic instructor being told, ‘stay in your lane.’ I had been told that already for correcting other cadet behavior… So I knew that writing a report would have been a useless waste of my time.
Asked what sort of disciplinary action, if any, the professor would have expected then-cadet Rapone to face, had a report been filed, the professor didn’t miss a beat: “I wouldn’t have expected them to do anything given the current state of discipline in the Corps of Cadets besides [telling] him to get a haircut.”
An active duty Army officer contacted by The Daily Caller, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with the sentiments of Lieutenant Colonel Heffington and the former senior faculty remember. The officer said that criticism of the increasing civilian influence within West Point was entirely warranted. “I can assure you,” the officer stated, “there are a number of avowed communists [teaching at West Point].”
The officer said he has “personally heard” two civilian professors claim to be communists. One in particular, he adds, was “quite proud of this fact.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Former Senior West Point Faculty Member Agrees With Criticism Of Institution)
According to the officer, the presence and influence of openly Marxist faculty members is partially to blame for the leniency that the academy showed then-cadet Spenser Rapone. “Why punish this Che-loving former cadet, Rapone, when we let senior faculty openly support such views?” the officer asked.