So when the whole sea year
“stand down” cancellation was announced, we were assured by the administration that graduation dates would not be affected. To give us reassurance, we were reminded of the government shutdown a few years back and how despite the Academy being the only federal academy that the government elected to shut down, no one’s graduation date was affected. So first, let’s see if the promise is being kept; then, let’s look at the logic of comparing the Academy shutdown and the sea year cancellation.
Is the promise being kept? On Tuesday, August 23, Superintendent Helis held a “town hall” with the regiment, faculty and staff. Midshipmen are not being allowed to communicate with the press (one of the reasons I’ve offered midshipmen an opportunity to submit comments to me directly in FULL CONFIDENCE), so here’s what my confidential sources tell me the regiment was told at this town hall:
“Pretty much they said we won’t get commercial ships for at least several months because they have to have their ‘investigation committee’ and review their findings before they can send us back out.But Helis stood by the fact that we have MSC and RFF ships right now.”
Helis reportedly said, “I’m willing to have several deferred grads in 2018B and 2019B to change the industry for the better.”
The stand down is not ending til at least January 2017. They are bringing in an outside assessment group to see what that group says should be done.
Helis reportedly said at least 1/3 of 2018B is safe but the other 2/3rds have to spend their breaks on training ships to make up and several people from 2019B will be in a similar situation.
So sea year won’t fully resume until sometime in 2017 (at the earliest). And it sounds like 2/3rds of 2018B is going to have to bust their tailbones to graduate — and just what kind of valuable training do you think the midshipmen are going to get in isolated spurts during breaks? And what affect will losing their breaks have on their academics? Kings Point is hard enough even with much-needed breaks. And what kind of affect will this have on midshipmen participation in team sports and other extracurricular activities? I guess the jury is still out on whether the promise is being kept, but with each passing day and a shifting of the resumption to January 2017 at the earliest (when just two months ago, we were being told it would be November 2016), that promise is looking more and more iffy.
Now let’s look at the logic of comparing the Academy shutdown and the sea year cancellation. The administration has been touting the fact that the Academy shutdown did not affect graduation. BUT, what it leaves out of that analysis is that the government shutdown did not affect midshipmen who were on sea year. That’s according to Superintendent Helis himself. Read it right here. And the government shutdown, which began on October 1, was over 20 days later with classes resuming on October 21, 2013, per the Academy’s press release. By contrast, we are coming up on three months since the sea year
stand down cancellation was imposed. The comparison to the government shutdown should give no one comfort that members of the Class of 2018 will graduate on time.