News · Politics

Female Cadets at West Point Are Now Required to Box (In the News)

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York State first admitted women — 119 female cadets — in 1976. While those women and the ones who followed have undergone rigorous training, the requirements for women were modified so they didn’t have to do everything that male cadets did.

This year, though, one of the last of those differences has been scrubbed. All female cadets are now required to take the boxing course, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

In years past, women had the option of enrolling in the boxing course, and all men were required to take it. But with the military fully integrating men and women in combat roles, West Point is also dropping the distinction.

The Washington Post said:

Female cadets said they heard about the decision to mandate boxing as they were preparing to arrive on campus this summer, and were surprised.

“At first I was kind of upset, but now I’m getting into it,” Harvey said, after the metallic clang of a bell marked the end of her match with Stewart. “Hitting is not something I want to do necessarily, hand-to-hand, like, if I don’t have to.”

She added: “In boxing, you have to hit them while looking at them.”

The change in requirements came as a surprise to some of the female cadets entering the academy this fall. “At first I was kind of upset, but now I’m getting into it,” DeAdre Harvey told The Post.

But, as The Post points out, the question of whether any of the cadets — male or female — should be boxing is still valid. A year ago The New York Times reported that “boxing accounts for nearly one out of every five concussions at West Point.”

“The issue is men and women doing the same thing,” Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland, West Point’s first female commandant of cadets, told The Post. “Now, whether boxing should be a requirement for anybody is a different discussion.”

We support the full integration of women into the military and military academies, because it opens opportunities for advancement to women. We also urge West Point to reconsider the boxing requirement for all cadets. Concussions can leave devastating and lasting injuries. It’s bad enough that members of our armed forces put their lives at risk on the battlefield. They shouldn’t have to take unnecessary risks when they are in school.


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