On Friday, January 27, 2017, MARAD delivered to Congress the preliminary 2015-16 SA/SH annual report for USMMA and the final 2014-15 SA/SH annual report for USMMA. (These annual reports are different than the reports of the biennial sexual assault and gender relations surveys.)
A few quick observations:
- The surveys upon which these reports are based continue to use the same flawed methodology that we have reported upon in the past that make them inappropriate for use in comparing rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment at USMMA and the other federal academies.
- The data continues to be reported in ways that can be misperceived. For example, the preliminary report for 2015-2016 states, “Of those Midshipmen who experienced unwanted sexual contact, 18 percent indicated that the event occurred during maritime duty.” That sounds pretty bad — until you realize that only 4% of the 647 midshipmen who responded reported that they experienced unwanted sexual contact at any time, any where, during the survey period. So fewer than 26 students reported unwanted sexual contact any time, any where and of those 26, fewer than 5 students indicated that the event occurred during maritime duty. Yes, even one sexual assault is one too many; but, the Academy needs to learn to use the data to focus on where the problem lies. An assault was 5 times as likely to be committed away from maritime duty rather than during maritime duty yet the administration launched a war on sea year.
- Alcohol continues to play a major role in sexual assaults. This is not a surprise, as the same is true on campuses across the country. And it makes sense. A midshipman can have all the SA/SH training in the world yet once alcohol loosens the inhibitions, that training goes out the windows. Maybe it is time for the Academy to shift its focus from SA/SH “culture” to guiding midshipmen on responsible alcohol consumption in the formative years when many will first be exposed to major opportunities to experiment with alcohol. Reduce problem drinking and the Academy can substantially solve two problems — alcohol abuse and sexual assault.
It’s about time we came to grips with the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Alcohol is clearly the big problem and is behind many other problems. A female M/N of my acquaintance said that as a plebe, the only time she was uncomfortable was on Saturday nights “when the upper-classmen come back drunk” and making a racket. No sexual component: just an uncomfortable feeling.
When my son was a first-classman he said that half his classmates were alcoholics and the other half were drunks. Of course he was engaging in hyperbole, but the underlying truth was that there was a drinking problem. Now that Ken Force is retired, is anyone minding the store?
I’d like to see Kings Point emulate some of the things the other academies are doing in this regard. Check out this program at the Naval Academy, for example.
Looks like West Point has something similar, but not as well-publicized and perhaps not a formal program for all cadets.
Thank you for your links to the other academies! These two programs appear to be in line with what the USMMA (as well as many colleges and Universities) need to institute. We need to address the behavior’s and actions that perpetuate sexual assaults and harassment. In order to eliminate these and so many other problems, educating young men and women to what they are newly exposed to. will help.
Would support a program like the Naval Academy’s. Many of these Mids may be going to sea without being able to legally drink in the States, and overseas, with a long port call, alcohol is a temptation.
And yes, I’m still using my Nom De Plume (or perhaps Nom De Guerre since the 3 stooges named Chippy, Mikey and Jimmy started this war on Kings Point). I have professional and private reasons to do so. Too bad it has offended another parent, however That. Is. Not. My. Problem.
Frankly, alcohol is probably the biggest problem, as stated by Terry.
One of the only things I did not like about USMMA compared to the other academies was its easy public access. Visits to the other academies required going through a security gate of some type and even the students coming back from a night out had to pass through a designated entrance with some security.
It is too easy to sneak onto and off USMMA grounds. One can return at night totally smashed to a dorm room and nobody in authority would notice or take action. THAT is something that should be changed–Not as sexy as SASH but much more effective.
Sadly, 21 is only a number. Underage drinking is commonplace. My wife had an incident with two plebes on the Long Island Railroad. They were heading back to KP after a night on the town. One was intoxicated. The other was beyond intoxicated. My wife demanded that the merely intoxicated one get to work helping his classmate. Having heard nothing further we assumed that they made it back to campus without serious incident.
If they were having a drink or two, it would likely pass under the radar. Instead they get into binge drinking till they can’t stand up. USNA’s program makes sense, but occurs late in the midshipman’s academic experience. There needs to be a different kind of program for 2nd, 3rd and 4th class m/n.
This is actually amazing. Here we have something that parents, staff,the administration and, I would guess, most mids, particularly female mids ,might agree on as being necessary. Now the question is will the administration put the emphasis on this, which everyone agrees is a real problem, or will they continue to put the emphasis on the SASH at sea diversion of the last 7 months.
AS Terry Grey has indicated, if you solve address this problem, you probably go a long way towards addressing a huge chunk of the SASH issue on campus. Severely intoxicated students at any school, be they male or female, leave themselves open to a wide variety of dangerous, or at the very least, regrettable, situations.
As the parent of a current mid, I have heard the same stories and I do not hold my mid any less responsible than any others for the dumb things that having a few too many might lead to. If they really want to accomplish something, this is where to start.
Imagine if the civilian students were treated professionally, not kidnapped by the administrative rules under the threat of expulsion, and actually allowed to leave campus like normal college students. Perhaps the student drinking would not be packed all into small liberty periods trying to get the most bang for the buck.
Even as a male midshipman myself while as a plebe and upperclassman, I hated it when they gave Friday night liberty. All the drunkin’ antics would occur when the students returned goin’ out after binge drinking.
I know Steamboat Road has to remain fairly wide open to the general public because non usmma folks actually live there and it is a public street. My understanding, however, is that this is only a few homes on the right side of the road as u approach the water after entering Vickory Gate. Does anyone know if there r private homes on the left side, for example, behind the gym and the dorms?
Why do I ask?
In terms of both overall security (which i have always thought was horrible at usmma compared to the other academies) and perhaps alcohol abuse control (as per this particular thread of comments), a fence and controlled security entrance could be constructed along the left side of the road . Such a set up would not only enhance the security of the campus but would also provide a “choke point” for mids returning to campus after a night out. This would both give the administration a better ability to identify intoxicated students while at the same time acting as a deterrent to mids getting sloshed in the first place as they would b more likely to get caught.
Admittedly, such a fence would not secure the sports fields (although they could be individually enclosed for security purposes if so desired) but the issue we are discussing here really involves drunk mids coming back to campus without anyone in authority noticing.
The current set up is so wide open that pretty much anyone (including unfortunately even a terrorist) can walk right onto the campus in the middle of the day or night without detection.
Of course, any such fence should be aesthetically pleasing so as to maintain the beauty of the campus and to avoid opposition from the local community.
Leaders at MARAD and the USMMA only want to create and solve problems that benefit them, or help them to achieve a certain and predictable outcome. This whole situation is reprehensible. Governmental Incompetence and corruption.
You continue to do a great job shine the light on the real issues. For all the parents who are blaming alcholol for the issues. Let’s take a look in the mirror. The issues of alchol use and abuse is not unique to KP. Its prevalent at every college and academy in the United States. The problem with alchohol abuse starts with lax parenting. Did you look the other way in HS. Was it OK to have a beer at a BBQ. Please, don’t insult everyone who thinks this school is an institution worth saving. Don’t insult all the graduates who serve our nations commerce and national security. Your children were nominated and appointed to this academy because they were the best of the best in America. Don’t diminish that or dishonor this institution by insinuating that alchohol is the issue. We are better than that as a community. Find the root cause and address it. Alchohol will always be available and will always be a factor in issues on every campus. Maybe just maybe we should all realize that the amount of stress and pressure put on a student by accomplishing 5 years of academics in a compressed time frame is enormous. Add in the regimental lifestyle and you have a pressure cooker. If you haven’t experienced it you can’t really appreciate the difficulty of what your children are experiencing. The USMMA and several of the state schools are so difficult it makes other colleges pale in comparison. Don’t blame alchohol. It is a reaction to stress. Its not right and underage drinking should be addressed. Keep digging for what’s causing the stress. Every graduate will tell you how hard the program is academically. They are proud of having survived the program and rightly so. It imbues mental toughness and a can do attitude. The dark side is the stress level is off the charts. Having three children who went to rigorous academic schools and now considering my fourth for USMMA. ANd having graduated from a State school. I have passed on the opportunity for my daughter to attend this fine institution. The product produced at KP is outstanding but at what cost. In my opinion the cost is worth it for many but the risks are also great and you are seeing that play out right now. How to address that will consume this blog and the entire USMMA community for awhile. Good luck and I hope you all figure it out.