You don’t build a climate of trust and respect by lying

At homecoming, Superintendent Helis made a State of the Academy presentation to the Alumni.  It included this slide:


Helis said that the quotes on this slide came from the MSCHE Accreditation Report. The photograph isn’t the best, but the first statement under “Climate” is in quotation marks and says

“build a climate of mutual trust and respect on campus and during the sea year”

Now I’ve already chastised Helis for misquoting the Accreditation Report — and my $100,000 bet is still safe.  Yet he is still at it. You will not find the above quote in the report.

You will find that Middle States  said that the Academy needed to “build a climate of mutual respect and trust among midshipmen, faculty and staff with respect to sexual assault and sexual harassment.”  But it didn’t mention that the problem was related to sea year.

So my message to Superintendent Helis:  If you want to start building a climate of mutual respect and trust — stop telling the midshipmen that the report says something that it doesn’t say.

And my message to anyone who cares about making sure that the Academy does not lose its accreditation: We need someone spearheading the response to the accreditation report who isn’t blinded by a hidden agenda. It won’t do the Academy any good when Helis reports to the accreditation team:  “I fixed the sea year problem” and the team responds, “That wasn’t the problem and by repeatedly telling people that MSCHE said something that it didn’t say, you further eroded mutual respect and trust on campus rather than improving it.”


  1. Andy, I thank God you are standing this watch. I saw that slide in the presentation and I remember doing a double take. Mutual trust and respect during sea year is part of the cadet experience, but it’s not with KP. It’s with their future shipboard colleagues. Hence the value of it and confidence builder if it goes even remotely well. Doesn’t come from working mostly alone on a dead plant RRF ship with minimal crew.

  2. The “Admiral” (hereafter referred to as Colonel Helis since I don’t want to insult other Admirals elsewhere), lost the last of his credibility at Parent’s Weekend when he kept referring to the decisions being made as ‘the Secretary’s” or “MARAD’s” decisions. I was sitting there thinking, this guy has abdicated his leadership to them by using them as a reason, rather than “we” or “I”. Colonel Helis (USArmy) took no ownership and showed he is not a true warrior, not a positive leader, just a political hack academician who spent his last 8 years on active duty at the Army War College.

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