First-year students, known as ‘plebes’, organise the annual pillow fight as a way to build camaraderie after a gruelling summer of training.
However, the pillow fight on August 20 escalated into a free-for-all, with plebes being hit from behind and knocked to the ground.
Injuries included a broken nose, a fractured cheek, and 24 diagnosed concussions.
One cadet was found unconscious, according to a report.
“While never officially sanctioned, it is now officially banned, and we will take appropriate action to ensure that all faculty staff, leaders, the Corps of Cadets, and everyone at West Point knows that it will not be tolerated,” said West Point superintendent Lieutenant General Robert Caslen.
There were reports that some cadets were injured by hard objects placed in pillow cases after photos and video of the melee circulated on social media.
However, the army report said many injuries were caused instead by elbows and falls to the ground.
The report said upper-class cadets did not take proper control of the fight to ensure the safety of plebes.
It said upper-class behaviours “ranged from throwing items such as small milk cartons, water balloons, fruit, and glow sticks from barracks windows to yelling at plebes and encouraging them ‘get back into the fight’.”
Caslen said the violence could have been prevented with better communication between cadet leadership and senior military personnel before the pillow fight.