|"A cadet does not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do."|
The true purpose behind requiring that cadets not tolerate violations of the accepted standard of integrity is to develop the moral courage to stand up for what is right even when it conflicts with friendships and/or popularity. We are expected not only to hold one another to the standards but also to take ownership of the code, providing leadership to the campus by enforcing the standards that we all have agreed to live by. The importance of this type of ownership as well as the moral courage to intervene when necessary has been demonstrated by past events in the professional realm. The many corporate scandals that have rocked our countries economy could have been prevented or at least mitigated had someone within those corporations possessed the moral fortitude to do what was right at risk of being ostracized.
One of the key reasons cadets, and people in general, fail to embrace commitment to non-toleration is because of conflicting loyalties. It is easy to allow the comfort of placing allegiance to those within the system at a higher priority than commitment to the system itself, forgetting that it is that very system that binds us all together. We all benefit from having a strong code of honor at The Citadel yet we weaken it by tolerating violations of that code. How can we say we are committed to our honor code when we are complacently acceptant of those that transgress it?
Furthermore, even in regards to those to whom we would offer our loyalty we are demonstrating a higher dedication to their well being if we practice tough love, seeking for them to learn from their mistakes instead of reinforcing their transgression of the code. In short, all parties involved obtain a greater good when we commit to enforcing our own code: the Honor Code itself is strengthened, the personal honor of each cadet reaches a new level of maturity, and even the accused serves to learn more from a hard lesson than a lucky break.
Do not give in to personal weakness or outside pressure and fail to uphold the standard we to which we have all committed. If you truly believe in the Honor Code tolerating a dishonorable act is a clear demonstration of cowardice, proving that you are unwilling to stand for what you believe is right at the cost of approval or friendships.
(Daniel Clinebelle, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel, Chairman, '04-05 Honor Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org, January 2005)