West Point Rugby Team Disbanded for 'Derogatory' Emails About Women

(Image Credit: Christopher Morris/VII/Corbis)

The West Point men's rugby team was disbanded and 60 cadets punished after the U.S. Military Academy discovered a "derogatory email chain" that suggested "a culture of disrespect towards women."

A school investigation determined that "cadets on the team were found to have violated the Cadet Disciplinary Code for Unsatisfactory behavior, Error in Judgment, Failure to Perform a Duty, and a violation of the General Article for actions which tend to reflect discredit on the Corps of Cadets and the United States Army," West Point spokesman Frances DeMaro said in a statement today.

The school has not commented beyond the statement.

A message was posted on the West Point Army Rugby Facebook page last week that said, "Due to unforeseen circumstances, the West Point Rugby team will not be participating in the 2013 Collegiate Rugby Championship tournament in Philadelphia," which ended Sunday.

In a month-long investigation launched in April by the military academy in West Point, N.Y., an appointed officer investigated the rugby team's emails and overall culture.

The investigation did not reveal any evidence of sexual assault against women, civilian or cadet.

At the completion of the investigation, the cadets had to complete an "intense" respect rehabilitation program, which included self-assessments, reflective journals and role-model interviews. Members of the Class of 2013 graduated after completing the program.

"The intent of the program," according to DeMaro's statement, "was not only to punish the offenders, but to address the cultural issues with their actions."

The West Point Diversity Office, which organized a walk to raise awareness for sexual assault in the military April 30, declined to comment.