Author Topic: Jeans & mass punishment? #2  (Read 22757 times)

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Offline X Royal

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Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« on: March 04, 2018, 07:39:01 »
Second try as the first post was removed due to my unknowinly posting a link from a writer I shouldn't have posted here.
http://www.thewhig.com/2018/03/03/royal-military-college-brass-rip-students-over-jeans
Thoughts?

Offline Ostrozac

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 07:44:55 »
In six months the College will have to come up with a plan for Officer Cadets smoking legalized weed behind the barracks. Are denim trousers really the hill they want to die on?

Offline JesseWZ

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2018, 07:59:25 »
I was in the middle of a really long post when that got removed - I'll try and summarize my thoughts again.

I was initially of two minds on this one. First, that maybe with this new generation of OCdts, we're going to see some of the changes that have been going through BMQ in the last few years with regards to privileges. It seems privileges such as cell phone use, civilian clothing, weekends off, etc are being extended more frequently and earlier than in years past. Perhaps it is time for institutions to examine some of the more archaic traditions.

The manner the cadets decided to react to this however, demonstrates to me at least they aren't ready for those types of privileges.

One of the (several) articles I saw on this used the term "group punishment". I don't see it that way, and I don't think it was unfair at all. Some cadets committed the NDA offence of Failing to Follow a Lawful Command. All of the cadets were either complicit or willfully ignorant of the rule breakers. As serving members (and officers no less) they should be aware of their duty to report under the Code of Service Discipline. It seems more like instead of group punishment, this was individual discipline - applied to everyone.

What really turned my knickers into knots was the sheer volume of anonymous emails and interviews with the media. I read multiple publications that reported this, and many received emails and information from the students at RMC. The media is not how you air a grievance in the military. We have systems in place that work. If you feel like institutional change is required - be a goddamn officer and lead it. Whining (and it was just whining) to the media shows how poorly prepared or ill-suited for leadership some of the student body at that institution is.

While we having serving members in the desert and dirt unable to take off their flak jackets and helmets or put down their weapons for months on end, and Sailors constantly away from home for long periods of time, stuck in a tin can with 250 others similarly stuck, and Airmen and Women on constant duty rotations and last minute notice to moves, we have a group of future leaders that complain they have to wear semi-fancy pants to the bar.

I'm not one to throw around the word privilege - but privilege much?

The real kicker is, they signed up for RMC. No one can pretend they didn't know what they were in for. There are info sessions, recruiting packages, forums, meet and greets, etc. If they can't demonstrate how to follow the simplest of orders - how to dress yourself - then perhaps we shouldn't be entrusting them with more complicated ones - like taking a platoon and attacking a fixed position.

I foresee a meme coming - The Canadian Forces: Individual Experiences May Vary.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 08:06:36 by JesseWZ »
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2018, 08:23:59 »
Lets face it, my generation was wondering about that rule when we were officer cadets - we are talking mid 1970's here - and I bet every new generation has been wondering the same. In my days, it was not perceived as matter of privilege, it was perceived as left over from older days in trying to instil into the officer corps that we were the "gentlemen", above the fray that is the lower decks. We were more egalitarian than that in our view of other people (all being a product of the 60's movement), however, it was the rule and we followed it.

After a while, however, I came to realize, and many other friends have, that it had more to do with societal values in general: We were going to be the middle-top "managers" of the organization, therefore, we were expected to look and act the part as compared to civilian businesses.

Keeping that in mind, while the current cadets are supposed to dress "business casual", I can tell you that that attire does not include jeans, not even fancy ones you would wear to a dance or an evening out, not even for engineers (and that's a low standard of dress in business - trust me). So, if the idea is still to instil in them the way mid to upper management dresses as the standard, then they have nothing to "*****" about.

And I agree that what is being meted is not punishment, and that complaining through the press is simply not on - or even a sign of proper OLQ's. 


Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2018, 09:36:45 »
JesseWZ: try to prove that every cadet at RMCC had seen at least one other cadet in jeans in town.  Yes, it is mass punishment.  Oh and there is always going to be more important issues than yours.  If you use this as a reason not to fix the issues you live with, you'll have a miserable life...

If we allow every other member on every other wing to wear jeans when they go in town, what are we teaching these kids?  That you always have to wear smart casual?  We teach them to be socially retarded?  There are times for decontracted wear and times for buisness casual.  Instead of always imposing buisness casual, wouldn't it be better to teach them contexts when one a more relax outfit is socially acceptable? 

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2018, 09:40:49 »
Business casual includes jeans in every organization I know of outside the archaic pseudo Brits of Canada's military.

RMC is an expensive anachronism that the CAF should abolish.
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Offline MCG

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2018, 09:47:38 »
Yes, it is mass punishment.   
Is it collective punishment or collective training?  It is not just a semantics question.  If there is a cultural problem across the student population, the institution needs to inculcate a correction - that takes collective training.  Given the academic schedule, where do you fit that outside of evenings or weekends?

RMC is an expensive anachronism that the CAF should abolish.
Or, at least, that could be inferred from its last AG report.

Offline JesseWZ

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2018, 09:52:08 »
JesseWZ: try to prove that every cadet at RMCC had seen at least one other cadet in jeans in town.   

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. Lifestyles are networked (socially and otherwise) enough I have a really hard time believing there is a cadet at RMC that didn't know his or her peers were flaunting the rules. And I don't need to prove anything, this isn't court, its administrative action at a training establishment.

These kids "young adults that joined our all volunteer military and will one day lead people like me"are in a training establishment. Some of that training is how to follow orders.

If we allow every other member on every other wing to wear jeans when they go in town, what are we teaching these kids?  That you always have to wear smart casual?  We teach them to be socially retarded?  There are times for decontracted wear and times for buisness casual.  Instead of always imposing buisness casual, wouldn't it be better to teach them contexts when one a more relax outfit is socially acceptable? 

While jeans is a stupid hill to die on, the rest of us aren't afforded the luxury of which orders we can choose to follow, so why should they? The issue isn't whether or not wearing of jeans is good policy, it's that it was the policy and was clearly and regularly flaunted.

If RMC wants to change policy, great, that's its prerogative. I have nothing against jeans, hell I'm in a desert right now and I get to wear them occasionally. If I was ordered to wear smart casual all the time, or choose between that and a uniform - I'd be following the order, because that's what it is.

I have no qualms about the RMC cadets and by extension the administration attempting to come up with solutions - hell I even encouraged them to lead that change - within the rules that are in place for all of us. Running their mouths to the media is not the right solution in any context.

Oh and there is always going to be more important issues than yours.  If you use this as a reason not to fix the issues you live with, you'll have a miserable life...

I live a fairly happy life thanks. You're comparing apples to oranges. My issue is not their complaint (even though I think it's dumb), its how they went about "solving it". It demonstrates to me a lack of maturity to tackle those types of challenges.
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Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2018, 10:15:35 »
Is it collective punishment or collective training?  It is not just a semantics question.  If there is a cultural problem across the student population, the institution needs to inculcate a correction - that takes collective training.  Given the academic schedule, where do you fit that outside of evenings or weekends?

Punishment: the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.  That really sounds like a punishment especially that Col Ayotte initially referred to the consequence as "confined to barracks" which is a punishment under the NDA. 

JesseWZ: collective training as a remedial measure has been largely eliminated, at least in my experience.  In my experience, it only serves as a mean to lower morale and reduce trust in leadership in those that perceive they haven't done anything wrong.  Targetted disciplinary measures or targetted training is far more effective at correcting deficient behaviour (and it is much less ressource-intensive). 

Offline SF2

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2018, 10:18:21 »
Are 1st years still required to wear their "4's" into town?

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2018, 10:24:09 »
Quote from: SupersonicMax

If we allow every other member on every other wing to wear jeans when they go in town, what are we teaching these kids?  That you always have to wear smart casual?  We teach them to be socially retarded?  There are times for decontracted wear and times for buisness casual.  Instead of always imposing buisness casual, wouldn't it be better to teach them contexts when one a more relax outfit is socially acceptable?

I've spent a couple weekends on duty for the sin of wearing a business casual shirt that wasn't business casual enough, to an informal mess going away function. I'm among the first to condemn our archaic dress regs (after a tour I was turned away from getting my claim sorted out in Ottawa after an hour drive because I was in jeans, BY a civilian in jeans) but that's not the issue.  Officer cadets are ****ing off lawful orders because they think it's stupid. That privileged mentality carries over into other areas like courses where they show up and ignore cell phone rules or don't bother completing assigned homework. Because it's dumb.

From what I gather at RMC cadets are supposed to display integrity by both following the rules and reporting infractions to the rules. Seems like an institutional failing.

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Offline PikaChe

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2018, 10:28:37 »
I suppose charging the lot who failed to obey orders would be more hilarious. Summary trials for like forever.

This no jeans regulations are dumb. But then again, these are suppose to be leaders who may have to give lawful order that may send men and women under their command to their deaths.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2018, 10:37:07 »
I've spent a couple weekends on duty for the sin of wearing a business casual shirt that wasn't business casual enough, to an informal mess going away function. I'm among the first to condemn our archaic dress regs (after a tour I was turned away from getting my claim sorted out in Ottawa after an hour drive because I was in jeans, BY a civilian in jeans) but that's not the issue.  Officer cadets are ****ing off lawful orders because they think it's stupid. That privileged mentality carries over into other areas like courses where they show up and ignore cell phone rules or don't bother completing assigned homework. Because it's dumb.

From what I gather at RMC cadets are supposed to display integrity by both following the rules and reporting infractions to the rules. Seems like an institutional failing.

That part of my post wasn't an excuse for not following orders but rather my thoughts on whether the dress standard at RMCC actually teaches what we want from officers.  There are avenues to change rules and not following it is generally not it.

On a sidenote, I don't think you can evaluate someone's ability to follow orders in life/death situations with an order not to wear jeans.  There is a spectrum of orders and this is best evaluated in tactical/operational training scenarios.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2018, 10:39:40 »
Note to self:If I ever have to go to RMC / CDA for work, be certain to wear clean jeans with a shirt, tie and blazer.

To rephrase a comment made here: I can't believe that wearing jeans is the hill the college is choosing to die on.  And "individual discipline applied to everyone" is a cop out phrase.  This is collective punishment - even described as a punishment under the NDA (confined to barracks) until Col Ayotte realized (or was told) the implications of what he said).


The CAF's institutional terror that blue jeans will lead to... listening to Elvis?  Demon rum?  Dogs and cats lying down together? needs some work.  I have seen plenty of senior and general/flag officers, graduates of the CAF MilCol system, who have no idea of how to dress themselves when not in uniform - jeans are not the problem.

Pro tip: If you're in civilian clothes, but wearing the CAF green web belt with the brass buckle, plus your DEU oxfords, you look like an ***.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2018, 10:50:14 »
I suppose charging the lot who failed to obey orders would be more hilarious. Summary trials for like forever.

This no jeans regulations are dumb. But then again, these are suppose to be leaders who may have to give lawful order that may send men and women under their command to their deaths.

This. RHIP... but leaders have to be prepared to die first too.

The way you change policy isn't by public temper tantrum, it's through the thoughtful and reasoned engagement with existing change processes. If the cadets want to wear jeans, then let the hundreds of smart young men and women there put together a rational argument, including benchmarking results from other peer organizations, and submit it to the College Chain of Command.

That's how they'll have to do it when they leave the privileged MilCol cocoon and enter the real CAF, or anywhere else they'll work in the real world outside of Mommy's basement.
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2018, 10:52:44 »
Business casual includes jeans in every organization I know of outside the archaic pseudo Brits of Canada's military.

Then you know very little organizations outside the CAF, Dapaterson.

I spent my whole life in the professional/industrial civilian world of Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary and the US North-Eastern area (never really worked for La-La -Land West of the rockies, so maybe there?) and I can tell you that in the management side of things, and in the office side in general, as opposed to the shop floor, jeans are NOT acceptable as business casual. Someone showing up in jeans at the office would be sent packing faster than a speeding bullet - with two exceptions: high-end clean jeans are acceptable on casual Fridays (for those businesses that have it only - professional's offices for instance do not have that) unless you have to meet with clients, and it is accepted, with proof of payment on days where it is "sold" as a charity fundraiser, such as the Cancer Society's National Denim Day.


I happen to know, however, that wearing jeans to the office is fairly common amongst civil servants of various departments, probably more as something that developed because the civil service does not really try to have "standards" and with Union protection, you can't fire the civil servants for incompetence, let alone for the way they dress. But I am willing to bet that even in the civil service, you will not find EX-2 or above dressed in jeans at the office very often.

As for the acceptability of the rule: Well, it is the rule and the CAF is your employer, so follow them. You know, there is a long working hockey player called Tomas Pleckanec who played 13 years for the Canadiens. He wore a small goatee - always trimmed and clean - for his whole career. He was just traded to the Maple Leafs and guess what - he had to shave it clean. Why? Because an old fashion fart called Lou Amoriello has this rule that all players must be clean shaven at all times. Is it a stupid rule? Is it backwards? Is it old style management? Probably, but it is the employer's rule and everybody has to follow it.

Same goes for the CAF.

PS: I don't want people to think this is just a Military College rule. I mentioned in an earlier post that it was the rule in my days , mid 1970's, but I have to specify: I never attended MilCol. The rule existed and was applied for cadets at Chilliwak, at Venture and in the NROC program. It was the rule, basically, at all phases of an officer cadet training. We talk about RMC here, but, what is the current rule at the Leadership school in St-Jean for officer cadets right now?
   

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2018, 10:59:38 »
So, you go out for a movie with your significant other on your time off and your employer will give you grief for wearing jeans?  Becaus this is what we're talking about.

Offline stellarpanther

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2018, 11:03:28 »
I've spent a couple weekends on duty for the sin of wearing a business casual shirt that wasn't business casual enough, to an informal mess going away function. I'm among the first to condemn our archaic dress regs (after a tour I was turned away from getting my claim sorted out in Ottawa after an hour drive because I was in jeans, BY a civilian in jeans) but that's not the issue.  Officer cadets are ****ing off lawful orders because they think it's stupid. That privileged mentality carries over into other areas like courses where they show up and ignore cell phone rules or don't bother completing assigned homework. Because it's dumb.

From what I gather at RMC cadets are supposed to display integrity by both following the rules and reporting infractions to the rules. Seems like an institutional failing.

Just thought I'd mentioned that jeans are not allowed at CFSU(O) (Ottawa), from what I heard, the new CWO didn't agree with a no jeans rule and had it changed. 

Offline mariomike

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2018, 11:03:36 »
We talk about RMC here, but, what is the current rule at the Leadership school in St-Jean for officer cadets right now?

QUOTE

BMQ/BMOQ JOINING INSTRUCTIONS
KIT LIST/

Candidates must report to CFLRS with the following items, at a minimum:

Casual dress pants or clean jeans without holes

END QUOTE

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2018, 11:03:50 »
Virtually every technology company has moved away from that mindset.  Many folks I know in senior positions in industry see nothing wrong with wearing jeans to work.  Times have changed; the CAF needs to change as well.

That the grumpy old balding overweight white snooty classes still feel they need to dress out of the 1950s says much about them.

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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2018, 11:06:59 »
Quote from: SupersonicMax

On a sidenote, I don't think you can evaluate someone's ability to follow orders in life/death situations with an order not to wear jeans.  There is a spectrum of orders and this is best evaluated in tactical/operational training scenarios.

Maybe but I think stuff like this is where it starts and fluffing off stupid rules eventually leads to more serious ones being ignored. 
It reminds me of a couple young LTs deciding "helmets in rucksacks" didn't apply to them on a brigade march, until the brigade commander stopped and ordered everyone to put on their helmets. Oops.  Now there's a couple of platoon commanders who disobeyed the brigade commanders direction, how does that look in front of privates who actually get charged for having 48 pounds in a rucksack instead of the ordered 50?
Quite possible I'm reading too much into it though.


As for group punishment, isn't that what we always do?  Someone drinks too much and makes an *** of themselves so then the whole policy changes?

Agree about this being a funny hill to die on when we're going to be dealing with pot smoking at work.   Maybe this will be the catalyst to abandon our 1960s dress regs after all.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2018, 11:09:27 »
So, you go out for a movie with your significant other on your time off and your employer will give you grief for wearing jeans?  Becaus this is what we're talking about.

I can be charged for someone with my name on facebook "liking" something  ;D
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Offline stellarpanther

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2018, 11:10:50 »
While I will always follow any lawful order, I strongly believe the CAF really needs to change it's archaic way of thinking on several issues if they want to retain mbr's and attract new recruits. 

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2018, 11:26:06 »
Agree about this being a funny hill to die on when we're going to be dealing with pot smoking at work.
Maybe the College tribal elders are thinking that if they enforce ("collectively train") the dress regs, the Cadets may ...possibly  catch on and subsequently adhere to pot smoking rules.  :dunno:

However:
a) I have doubts the leadership is looking/thinking that far ahead;
b) Maybe it's because that Air Force guy is gone, and he current Commandant is Army, so rules may be important?

Offline yoman

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Re: Jeans & mass punishment? #2
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2018, 11:49:22 »
I see the great dress debate at RMC is continuing. During my time there the CoC instituted a policy that your off hour dress privaleges depended on what school year you were in:

1st years generally had to wear a uniform.
2nd years had to wear dress pants, dress shirt and a tie.
3 years were allowed khakis and a polo.
4th years were allowed jeans and a polo.

I was in 2nd year when this happened so my fellow classmates and I had to wear a tie just to go out to a movie or to go to Tim’s. It was a little ridiculous but we followed be rules without whining to the media. Some cadets had fun with the rules and wore the most flamboyant looking outfits that they could find while complying with the rules.  That was their little way of protesting.

Eventually, within a year or two if I remember correctly, the rules were reverted back to a set standard for all cadets. I believe that the internal pressures on the CoC from the college staff made it happen.

Bottom line is that obeying orders is important regardless of how stupid they seem to be.
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