The Campus is our World [updated]

Sea year on the Kings Pointer begins for the B-Splits

In contrast with MARAD’s optimistic calculation of the restoration of sea year, a dozen or so B-splits have been informed that they will be receiving orders to report to the Kings Pointer for sea year in the next week.  My understanding is that most, if not all, of these midshipmen have been sitting at home doing nothing for the last 3-4 weeks. While it is certainly better to get them some sea days so that they will be more likely to be able to graduate on time, sea year on the Kings Pointer is not what they were promised when they accepted their nominations to the Academy and is a poor substitute for true sea year. The Academy promotes — even now

— the catch phrase, “The World is Our Campus.”  But for the 12 midshipmen about to be assigned to the T/V Kings Pointer and many more over the last year, the catch phrase has become  “The Campus is Our World.”

If things were as optimistic as projected by MARAD, it would not be necessary for midshipmen to make that long journey — down Steamboat Road to Mallory Pier — for sea year. But, as long as billets are being taken by state maritime school cadets, as described by this midshipman in the comments; and until far more companies are approved to take Academy midshipmen, these kinds of problems are going to plague sea year. The claim that sea year is close to being restored continues to ring hollow.

Once again, it is long past time for MARAD to begin releasing weekly statistics to the public:  How many midshipmen are assigned to commercial ships? How many to MSC? How many on Navy, USCG or NOAA ships? How many on ROS ships? How many on the Kings Pointer? How many on state school ships? How many sitting at home praying for a ship assignment?


UPDATE:  After posting this article, the woman who appears in the screenshot that I captured from the USMMA website contacted me and demanded that I remove the picture, stating that she does not support this blog or its mission. I declined to honor the demand, explaining why, here. However, I did agree to publish an update that made it clear that she does not support this blog or its mission.  As a reminder, our mission is to gather information and publish it so that readers “may review the facts in one place and draw their own conclusions.” We certainly do not want the support of anyone who does not support the gathering of facts so that people can draw their own conclusions. Therefore we want to make it very clear that the woman in the photo does not support the blog or its mission.  Nor do we want her support.

Further update:  In the photo, I’ve blurred the face of the woman in question. I’m continuing to use the photo because it is relevant to the post.

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17 Comments

  1. Hey– that was my line. ( The Campus Is Our World)Lol.

    All kidding aside, as I said in previous posts, sea year in the traditional sense would have to operate at OVER 100% of it’s previous capacity for at least a year to catch up on sea days and to make up for the disregard of the commitments made to the mids.

    In a nutshell, the Kings Pointerf has become the Academy’s equivalent of the SUNY Empire State
    And the Cal Maritime Golden Bear, something it was never meant to be. Will Helis, Janechin and Rodriguez ever acknowledge the damage they have done and apologize to the young men and women they misled. Don’t hold your breadth.

  2. Parent, until Wiley Hall is drained, nothing great will be achieved. What does accountability and responsibility for this mess, look like, to you?

  3. I have asked 3 times now for you to please take my picture down from this article. You did not ask my permission to use this picture. You do not have my permission. I do not support your blog or its mission. Please have some respect and remove my picture from your article.

    • No, you have not asked me three times to take down your picture. This is the first time you have made such a request to me. Apparently you have been making posts on Facebook on the National Parents page, but that is not a request to me, as I am not responsible for that page, have no control over it, and don’t even regularly check it. I’ve been informed that you are also posting elsewhere on Facebook, trying to find out how to contact the person behind this blog. I hope your real life navigation skills are better than your web navigation skills, as you didn’t find the comments on this website until after ranting and raving on different Facebook pages, making demands of the people behind those pages that I take down your picture.

      You ask me to “have some respect” yet, in your Facebook posts, you made false statements about me without having a clue about what you were talking about. You have never communicated with me yet you chose to publish these false statements. So forgive me if I show you the same respect that you showed me. FYI, I am a graduate of KP (try navigating to the About Us page) and I do know what I am talking about in these posts — I know a hell of a lot more about it than you do, I can assure you.

      You are correct that I did not ask your permission to use the picture. That’s because I don’t need to get your permission to use it. That photo is on the USMMA website. I used a screen capture from the USMMA home page where the Academy uses a photo that includes your picture in it. I published the screenshot of the USMMA home page to demonstrate that the Academy is still using the catch phrase “The World is Our Campus.” That’s called “Fair Use” and you have no say in the matter.

      The publication of the photo that happens to have your picture in it does not in anyway imply that you are endorsing what is said on this blog. There is nothing in the post that even suggests that you endorse what is said on the blog. However, I will update the blog post to clearly state that you do not support the blog or its mission.

  4. I feel for the mid requesting removal of the picture, but once USMMA posted it on its own public website, it became public and available to the general public.I In no way does your use of it imply her support of your position.
    I would point out, however, that she seems to have received the very sea year experience that has been denied to so many of her fellow mids.

    • To the parent saying I am so lucky to have received the sea year experience that other mids aren’t: yes I had a “regular” sea year before the stand down. However I, and so many of my classmates, still spent over a month on the kings pointer. This isn’t out of the ordinary, and I’m so tired of seeing negative article after article trying to make things issues that aren’t. 45 of my sea days were on the kings pointer before the stand down happened. You want to know what? Those were my favorite sea days. By far, I learned the most during my time on the kings pointer. As for being so lucky to have a sea year experience, I was consistently sexually harassed throughout my sea experience. When the chief mate wasn’t trying to sell me to local Middle Easterns, the captain was having me work in his office my entire day, making jokes about me being his wife and about cadets sleeping with their captains. When I couldn’t work it out on my ship because the captain threatened me, I asked to be taken off the ship. You can’t change the climate of the maritime industry, but you can change the way the school reacts to it. Since the stand down, I’ve seen a lot of improvements. Now anyone can help you get off a ship, you don’t have to just go through your ATR, which was a huge issue before giving them so much power. There are a lot more programs in place at school and I spent the better part of my senior year attending different boards and meetings where the school wanted input on how they could perform better. So we can all complain that mids aren’t getting a true sea year experience, but no one should have endure the treatment a number of my classmates and I received. There’s a reason over 1/3 of my class went active duty, no one wants to sail. I need two hands to count the people I know who experienced severe sexual harassment and some even sexual assault, and it shouldn’t be that way.

      I was afraid to speak out before I graduated, and not because I was afraid of the administration. I was afraid of actions against me from the alumni foundation and from my classmates. I’ve seen the way people who stand up, speak out, and support the school are crucified by fellow alumni and classmates and it’s disgusting.

      To the author: sure, I mistakently thought someone else was the author. She posted she link, making it look like she wrote it. I never once “demanded” you take my picture down, I asked very nicely and was responded back to in a very hostile manner. Why the hostility? What do you have against me? Or am I just the first person to have a differing opinion than you? It seems to be a crime around here if you speak out or have a different opinion. Sure by all legalities you may be able to use my picture, but it doesn’t make you any less of an insensitive jerk for doing so against my wishes. It’s times like these I am ashamed to be a kings point alumnus. Have some consideration for others please.

      If the alumni foundation spent even half as much time (and money) trying to work with the school towards a solution as they do bashing the school, maybe we could have figured it out by now.

      • KP2017: First, getting 45 days of sea year on the T/V Kings Pointer is not the norm and is not an adequate substitute for true sea year training. Recall that about five years ago, the T/V Kings Pointer was removed from the Academy (and transferred to Texas Maritime, as I recall) and the Academy did not have any training vessel at the time. Clearly it was not used for sea year then. Perhaps in the Helis era, training on the T/V Kings Pointer has expanded and thus was “not out of the ordinary” for your brief experience at Kings Point. But, it is not the norm.

        Second, I’m glad that you had a good experience on the Kings Pointer. I’m truly curious whether your experience was embarked and underway or sitting at the dock. The twelve midshipmen who are to report in the next week are going to be berthing at the Academy, not on board the Kings Pointer. I suspect that they will get some day trips and perhaps overnight trips (so that they can get two days’ credit (that then gets multiplied by 1.5), but doubt that they are going to get an experience that will allow them to complete a sea project. And, I’m truly sorry that you apparently had bad experiences during sea year. Your experience is contrary to the experience of most midshipmen — male and female alike. Most midshipmen describe the culture on commercial ships as like an extended family (see here, for example) and that is similar to the experience that most alumni have found (for example, here) — and foster. I find it ironic that you state that you can’t change the culture of the industry when the administration that you defend embarked on exactly that mission.

        Third, I can assure you that the reason that a third of your class went active duty is not because of a culture for SASH in the maritime industry. Perhaps they don’t want to sail, but it’s not because of SASH. To try to make that connection without any support is faulty reasoning.

        Fourth, your claim that you, or your classmates, were afraid to speak out because of the alumni is patently unfounded. The alumni, through the Alumni Foundation (this blog is not associated with the AAF) have been extremely supportive of the midshipmen and have encouraged victims of SASH to come forward. Alumni are willing to help in extraordinary ways and there are any number of avenues that a victim could take to enlist support from the alumni. This blog, which you don’t support, has actively encouraged input from all stakeholders and promised (and kept the promise) confidentiality when requested. You could have voiced your concerns through this blog anonymously. But, you chose to remain quiet.

        Fifth, you state that you fear reprisal from your classmates. To the extent that you do, that is an indictment of the Academy leadership and its response to SASH. I think you vastly overstate the problem. In the year that I’ve been publishing this blog, only one example of alleged reprisal by midshipmen has come to my attention. I’ve heard both sides of that incident but don’t have enough information to comment on the merits of it.

        Sixth, I’ve seen no evidence that anyone who has spoken up in support “of the Academy” (by which I assume you mean the current leadership) has been crucified by alumni and I certainly would know if it had occurred. Although I’ve also seen no evidence that other midshipmen have been involved in such a crucifixion, I can’t say with the same confidence that I would have heard of it if other midshipmen criticized someone for speaking up in support of the current leadership. But if you have the courage of your convictions, you should be able to stand up and defend your position.

        Seventh, I interpreted your barrage of posts on Facebook that included several uninformed comments about me and then the comment on the blog complaining (falsely, as you now acknowledge) that you had asked me 3 times to remove the picture as a demand. I think that is a fair interpretation. As to your not understanding who the author was, that’s really a poor excuse. You clearly had gone to the blog webpage and thus could easily determine who the author was and that I am a graduate. (Hint, my name appears directly below the title of the post, as does my class year.) And that’s why the hostility — I don’t take kindly to people posting obviously false information when they have no valid explanation for being ignorant about the truth. (Kind of the same reason I have hostility to the previous MARAD administration and Helis.)

        Eighth, if you are truly familiar enough with this blog to develop an opinion that you do not support it or its mission, then you know that you have no basis for suggesting that you are the first person to have a differing opinion than me. I’ve offered MARAD the opportunity — repeatedly — to correct information I have posted if it is incorrect (an offer that has never been accepted); I’ve given MARAD the opportunity to explain its position (and explained, respectfully, why I disagreed with its explanation); and have engaged in lively and respectful debates with commenters who have differing points of view. This is yet another example of posting false information when the truth is easily ascertainable (you did so in the form of a rhetorical question; perhaps you were hoping I wouldn’t answer it.)

        Ninth, I refused to take down the screen capture because it was highly relevant to the post. I would never have used a photo of someone that did not come from an already public source. Since my last reply to you, however, I have blurred your face in the photo.

        Tenth, I challenge you to show me where the AAF has spent money “bashing the school.” Maybe you were referring to this?

      • Also, I’m just wondering. If you had such a bad experience at sea, have you objected to Kings Point using your picture on its website to promote sea year?

      • While I am not an alumni, I know for a fact that the USMMA Parents Association and the Alumni Association have offered to work with the Academy for a year regarding the SASH issue. The problem has been that the Academy doesn’t want independent ideas and suggestions. It just wants to hear from sycophants willing to back them up at every point in the process.

  5. Andy: Respectfully, would removing the photo/screen capture lessen or change the impact of your message or point? I’d suggest it would not. Why on earth any current member of the Regiment of Midshipmen so vehemently rails against the mission of your blog is beyond me after all the lies and mischaracterizations they’ve been subjected to under Helis’ “leadership” but why not remove the image and continue to be above reproach?

    • Mark: I think the fact that the Academy has continued to promote the World is Our Campus catch phrase throughout the stand down (see also, here) is highly relevant and there is nothing like a picture to make the point. But I have blurred the woman’s face in the photo and updated the post with the modified photo.

      • Andy: Fair enough, thanks for continuing to ferret out the truth and help so many frustrated stakeholders and current midshipmen find some truth and shed some light to the otherwise opaque world Helis wants us all to live in.

  6. Moderator: At the request of the person who originally made this comment, I have removed it. Here was his request (partially edited for clarity): “Andy, can you please take down my post. Not because I feel differently, but because I may have worded it differently in light of her revelation.

  7. Thank you for blurring out my picture. I will leave you with one final thought, please be mindful of the way you phrase things. When you refer to my experience as an “apparent experience” and proceed to link to articles of midshipmen that had better experiences, it makes it seem like you are discounting or not believing my experience. I don’t believe that was your intention, but it’s little things like that to be mindful of that could discourage someone from feeling confident in making a report. Yes, lots of people have great experiences at sea and I had plenty myself, but that doesn’t mean that negative experiences never, ever happen. Please keep that in mind. Thank you for your time

    • Fair criticism. It’s the lawyer in me that uses “alleged” and “apparent.” The next sentence begins ” Your experience is contrary to the experience of most midshipmen . . .” and was intended to contrast your experience, not to cast doubt upon it. I have never suggested that SASH does not exist at sea; and when it occurs, it must be dealt with appropriately.

      SASH exists in every industry, and is going to exist in every industry, until we are all replaced by robots. I believe, based upon my own experience and the experience of hundreds who have communicated with me in the last year, that the U.S. maritime industry is far ahead of other U.S. industries and light years ahead of the foreign maritime industry (as a whole — there are certainly some flags that attempt to properly address the issue like the U.S. maritime industry does). And, from litigating on behalf of federal female law enforcement officers who have been victims of SASH in their employment, I can say unequivocally that the U.S. maritime industry is far ahead of federal law enforcement (another predominantly male environment but one which, in my experience representing victims, has yet to learn how to deal with SASH or victims of SASH — and where retaliation is abetted by senior leadership). It came as quite a shock to me when I first represented a female law enforcement officer and saw that our federal government was still very much in the Dark Ages when it comes to SASH.

  8. How dockside or sailing on Long Island Sound can be compared to “going to sea” is beyond me. Especially when berthed ashore. How long before the USCG decides to question this “sea time” as legitimate?

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