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Air Force won't expel student for whiskey sip

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- An Air Force Academy cadet who turned herself in after taking a sip of whiskey won't be expelled, as had been threatened, officials said.

Academy commanders had demanded that Christina Fifer, a sophomore, reveal the name of a senior female cadet who gave her the alcohol in September, or face expulsion.

Fifer, 19, turned herself in three weeks after the incident -- following the school's honor code, which says cadets cannot lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate others who do.

She refused to identify the other cadet.

Fifer was restricted to school grounds for 60 days and forfeited some of her pay; academy officials announced Tuesday that she would not be expelled.

Officials declined to give more details due to federal privacy laws.

Because of the academy's sexual assault scandal, officials have adopted a zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking. An Air Force investigation found that alcohol was involved in at least 40 percent of the assault cases. Under the new policy, any cadet 21 and older who provides alcohol to a minor faces dismissal.

Last week, academy graduate Representative Heather Wilson, Republican of New Mexico, asked the Air Force to reconsider Fifer's case, saying Fifer was willing to take responsibility for her actions.

"She's tough as nails. If we do not want this young woman at the academy, who do we want?" Wilson wrote to Air Force Secretary James Roche.

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