Yesterday, after weeks of careful deliberation, we suggested that the regiment of midshipmen should refuse to voluntarily provide SA/SH data for surveys, studies, focus groups and the like until sea year on commercial ships is restored. Although most of the feedback to this has been positive, there is a persistent theme of response to the effect that we encouraged the midshipmen to be insubordinate. I have tried to address this in response to individual comments, but the issue is important enough to raise it to the level of a post. So here goes:
- We are not advocating that an SA/SH victim not report an incident through the reporting processes available at the Academy. Information on the two processes that are available can be found here. If you are a victim, you should absolutely report in the manner you are most comfortable with and avail yourself of the resources that are available to help you. Not participating in a survey is a very different thing than not reporting an incident.
- We are not advocating civil disobedience. Participation in all past SA/SH surveys, focus groups, etc. has been voluntary. As a practical matter, it MUST BE voluntary: Think of the additional damage that could be inflicted upon an SA/SH victim forced to relive the trauma in a mandatory survey or focus group. As we’ve said before on this site, “words matter.” Voluntary means voluntary. That means that a midshipman can elect to not participate. By definition, electing not to participate is NOT insubordinate.
- It is no secret that I have a low opinion of this administration; but even I do not think that this administration would be stupid enough to order midshipmen to participate in an SA/SH survey/study because of the damage it would inflict upon victims of SA/SH. But, if it is stupid enough to take that approach, then we are counseling the midshipmen to obey the order. In doing so, however, we encourage the midshipmen to respectfully register the fact that they are participating under protest. (Further, the mere fact that the midshipmen are ordered to participate would substantially undermine the validity of the survey and give us the desired result of depriving the administration of data that it can weaponize against the midshipmen.)
If, after reading the above, you still believe that we are advocating insubordination, I’m not sure what I can do to convince you otherwise.