Report cites problems at U.S. Naval Academy ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY--Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

June 02, 1993

Women and minorities trail white men in most areas of the U.S. Naval Academy's scholastic and military training, according a recently released report by the General Accounting Office.

Academy officials responded that the study "rehashes many old findings and previously reported data" because it was based on surveys taken two and three years ago.

The GAO report, which was made public April 30, faulted the academy for higher attrition rates among women and minorities. It also found that women and minorities were more likely than their male counterparts to be cited for honor code violations and that their punishment was more severe.

GAO investigators speculated that the higher incidence of honors violations could be related to the stress women and minorities feel because of their smaller numbers at the academy.

Academy officials said the school conducted its own survey and found "no statistically significant difference" between the number of men and women convicted of serious honor violations over the past 10 years.

A recent survey of midshipmen also found that most believe "awareness of gender and racial issues is high throughout the academy" and "great progress has been made since 1989," said academy spokeswoman Karen Myers.

The lengthy GAO study was requested by House and Senate leaders after a female midshipman was dragged from her dormitory room in 1989, handcuffed to a urinal and taunted by male classmates.

Since then, the institution has introduced more than 100 initiatives to improve the lot of women and minorities, including seminars on sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as hiring more minority professors.

Attrition rates for blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and women still are higher than among white men, according to academy statistics. But the gap has narrowed somewhat in recent years.

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