Army War College graduates class in midst of controversy

As the Academic Review Board prepares to investigate allegations that Montana Senator John Walsh plagiarized a paper he submitted to graduate from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, students participated in a different aspect of academics on Friday.

Hundreds of students graduated from the War College in a ceremony designed to recognize their hard work and sacrifice. College administrators say putting this event in the context of academic integrity is more important now than ever.

Instructors point to Colonel – and now graduate – Scott Mathna as an example of what honest, hard work can do.

“I grew up in Shippensburg,” Mathna said. “I’ve always looked at the War College and been here and it’s always been a goal of mine.”

That goal took time, energy and effort to accomplish.

“All the guard and reserve soldiers that participate over a two-year period still have to do their job, take care of their families, and do the education course,” Mathna said. “I mean time after time, the instructors come in and say by far this is the hardest way to do it.”

“[It’s] also the sacrifice that your family does,” Mathna added. “And as we grow, our family grows. And they’re kind of forced into that scenario but they always come through.”

“We’re just really proud of him,” his wife, Nancy Mathna said. “We’re really proud of his accomplishments and that he was able to complete the course and finish one of his goals and have it for his military career.”

The War College told abc27 that students like Mathna are the norm. However, there have been some exceptions in the past. Since 1990, six students have had their graduation statuses revoked after walking the stage because of investigations into plagiarism.

Leaders at the War College said they couldn’t give specifics about the John Walsh investigation, but they did say it shouldn’t take away from this year’s graduating class.

“Any issues going on in no way detract from their tremendous achievements,” Brigadier General Carol Eggert said. “The War College takes academic integrity very seriously and they will follow all the processes to determine the outcome of this situation.”

The Academic Review Board says it will meet in a few weeks.

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