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Article 15 as institutional action?

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by aftomdhopeful, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. aftomdhopeful

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    To summarize a very long and complex story, when I was in the military, I was drugged at a squadron party and then sexually assaulted and by a subordinate (I was an officer, he was enlisted). I reported it up the chain of command. Due to some professional grievances I previously reported about my commander, he took the opportunity to give me an Article 15 for conduct unbecoming an officer, drunk and disorderly conduct, and fraternization. Since there is no judge or jury on these things, it was approved. Several months later, the commander and the vice commander were relieved of command (basically fired and their careers destroyed). I had already made the decision to leave, so there was no chance for me to have the article 15 expunged (and frankly, it was so emotionally devastating that I cannot handle dealing with it, and have not even spoken of the incident in my applications). As I am applying, one of the questions in a secondary application was whether I had disciplinary action taken against me by the US military. I received an honorable discharge, and I was never arrested or investigated or charged with a crime that would be applicable in the civilian world. I did not receive a federal conviction. I do not know whether I should disclose it. In the real world, an article 15 is meaningless. I am afraid if I check the yes box I will be automatically screened out of consideration before a person ever reads my app. On the other hand, if I check no, I am afraid I could lose everything on the very unlikely chance that it were to show up on an extensive background check for licensing and admission and they found I lied about it. What should I do?
     
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  3. Doug Underhill

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    An Article 15 would be considered a disciplinary action, so not reporting it would be dishonesty.

    I'm pretty sure the screening algorithms schools use are based on GPA/MCAT and not questions such as the ones you describe. There will be an opportunity for you to explain the incident, if you wish to do so.
     
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  4. aftomdhopeful

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    The thing is, 250 words is no way to adequately explain what happened. Furthermore, while the discipline was clearly a retaliatory action, I do not see how I can fully explain it without an admissions committee reading it as "they were out to get me and I didn't really do anything wrong". I would really prefer to not have to discuss one of the most devastating periods of my life in an interview.
     
  5. Goro

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    Explain just as you've done here, and if you can provide a LOR supporting you and the events that happened, all the better.

    You'll be fine. Basically, you were railroaded.


     
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  6. aftomdhopeful

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    Thank you. As for proof, the best thing I have is a letter from the VA acknowledging that I do have symptoms of PTSD due to MST (military sexual trauma). Would that be appropriate to include? I am not sure it is a good idea to disclose mental health issues.
     
  7. Goro

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    No, that won't cut it, and might hurt. I have to tell you that med school is a furnace and I've seen it break even healthy students. Just make sure your therapist/psychiatrist is on board with a medical career.

    Adcoms have huge soft spots for veterans, so you have plusses starting out.

    And many thanks to you for serving our country.

     
  8. aftomdhopeful

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    What would you suggest as better documentation? Since those records are not public info, I do not think I could access them. If I got a letter from a military friend or physician who knew me during the time who could back up my statements, would that be ok?
    Overall, my mental health is fine. I only struggle if I have to discuss what I experienced, which is pretty much never.

     
  9. Goro

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    I was hoping for someone up the chain of command, who would explain how you were railroaded.

    A LOR from a military clinician would be very helpful.


     
  10. aftomdhopeful

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    The chain of command are the ones who did it. I might be able to get a letter from a physician though. I was sick for two days afterward and requested a drug screen.
     
  11. Goro

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    I was thinking of whoever fired the bad guys.
     
  12. aftomdhopeful

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    That was a general so far up the chain of command he would not even recognize my face, much less know my name. He flew to my base from halfway across the country to do it. He refused to respond to Congressional inquiries about the reason for removal of the commanders. It was officially given as "loss of confidence in ability to command". It is a much longer story than I mentioned because I didn't want to give too many identifying details, or bore everyone with the details. That is why I am worried about this. It is such a long story I do not know how I could adequately explain it to an admissions committee. Military politics are so different than the civilian world, and it is difficult to explain everything. I have two LORs from commanders who have known me since before that time, both of which are glowing, but neither of them mentioned anything about the incident.

     
  13. Goro

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    I think that you can craft the right narrative.
     
  14. aftomdhopeful

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    I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

     
  15. Goro

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    I just want to add that while I have a working knowledge of the military due to interest in things like that, I think that even the lay public, much less an Adcom member, knows of the military's shabby and sordid record of how they treat sexual assault victims.

    Hence, I believe you're bound to get a sympathetic ear.
     
  16. aftomdhopeful

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    Thank you again. I spoke with the admissions supervisor at the school, and I explained the full situation to her. She told me to mention it just in case it came up, but I could be generic in my application so the details are not in writing. Do you have any thoughts on this wording?

    When I was in the military, I had a different cultural philosophy on leadership from my commander. I expressed my concerns to higher authorities. In an attempt to discredit my testimony, my commander progressively disciplined me for minor infractions of personal conduct that would not be applicable in the civilian world. I have provided letters from previous military commanders who agree I was an excellent officer. I reported the retaliation, and he was eventually fired, along with the vice-commander. However, the infractions I received were not removed from my record. I chose to resign my commission when my contract was complete rather than continue my career. I received an honorable discharge. To my knowledge, none of these infractions would appear on a background check as they were not criminal in nature.
     
  17. Mad Jack

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    There is no way out of reporting it. Do it and explain, as Goro stated. You'll be fine. With the widespread knowledge of issues with handling sexual assault in the military in recent years, I highly doubt an adcom would doubt your defense.
     
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  18. aftomdhopeful

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    I am thinking about submitting this statement "When I was in the military, I had a different philosophy of leadership than my last commander. I elevated my concerns regarding the culture up the chain of command. In an attempt to discredit my testimony against him, my commander progressively disciplined me for personal conduct violations that would not be applicable in the civilian world. I have provided letters from previous military commanders who support me and note that I was an excellent officer. I reported the retaliation, and he was eventually fired, along with the vice-commander. However, the infractions I received were not removed from my record. I chose to resign my commission when my contract was complete rather than continue my career. I received an honorable discharge. To my knowledge, none of these infractions would appear on a background check as they were not criminal in nature. " I am hoping this will be ok, because it admits that there are infractions on my record, but still remains generic enough that it doesn't provide personal details on my application. Any feedback?
     
  19. Goro

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    Y'know, I don't have knowledge of what AMCAS forms actually ask for, but I think AACOMAS just asks if you've ever been dishonorably discharged.

    With the honorable discharge, this might be a moot point!!!

    Can any other applicants with AMCAS experience shed light on this??

     
  20. mw18

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    @Goro I think the issue was raised on a secondary and secondary alone.
     
  21. aftomdhopeful

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    AACOMAS and AMCAS both only ask about whether you have an honorable discharge or not. The secondary application to this school specifically asks the question about whether you received ANY infractions, and when I called to confirm, they said to report them even if you got an honorable discharge. Sorry if I was not clear before!
     
  22. Goro

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    I think that your explanation above is quite sound.
     
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  23. aftomdhopeful

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    Again, I really appreciate your feedback and advice :)

     

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