Speak Out!

April 02, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE: -- A growing number of female midshipmen at the Naval Academy believe students won't be resented if they report sexual misconduct, according to survey data.

The survey revealed that 5 percent of female Mids who responded last fall said they believe those who report sexual harassment will be resented, a sharp decline from 66 percent in 2003.

Academy officials said the data reflect a significant improvement in the climate of the academy about the reporting of sexual harassment and assault, a priority of Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, the superintendent.

But testimony in the recent Article 32 hearing for a senior midshipmen charged with rape painted a different picture of the culture at the military college, with a friend of the alleged victim saying that women who report sexual assaults are crucified on the campus, mostly by peers.

The survey also found that fewer than half of the female midshipmen at the academy - 44 percent - believe that the school provides a positive environment for women. However, that is up from 24 percent in 2003.

Has the culture at the Naval Academy with regard to the reporting of sexual harassment and assault improved?

Focus should be on solving the problem

You've got to be kidding me ... ..

You're asking for an uninformed, unqualified and ignorant public opinion ("ignorant" sounds like a bad adjective, but if you look it up, it without a doubt applies) of what they think is the level of improvement of the culture within the Naval Academy?

You're not reporting news, nor as most papers unfortunately do, even making news. Some would say that you've crossed into the realm of the tabloids, but as a "mid-major" newspaper it is irresponsible journalism. The sensationalism affixed to recent events at the Academy should result in articles focused on the processes that are in place and are constantly being refined to pursue justice. The way things are handled at all service academies no doubt could set a standard for a lot of other organizations in our country.

I doubt that you'll get very many responses from those qualified to make that assessment - for that qualified list is limited to a small group of your readers who are midshipmen at the academy. Your article by its questioning nature is essentially calling out the academy statistics and thus its leadership as lying. It should be an embarrassment to your paper that you even asked the question.

Doug Mitchell Norfolk, Va.

We want your opinions

ISSUE: Last week, police announced that three young adults from Indiana drove to Maryland for a pseudoephedrine shopping spree. The three purchased 103 boxes of cold and allergy pills, and told police they intended to resell the medications at a profit to dealers in their home state who cook methamphetamine.

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient needed to create meth, a highly addictive drug. Police released the three after consulting with the state's attorney's office and learning that no laws had been broken.

A new federal law preventing bulk purchases of cold medications goes into effect this week -- too late to charge the three suspects. Local police and prosecutors said they want a state law so cases like this could be pursued without involving federal agents.

YOUR VIEW: Do you think the state needs its own law limiting the amount of cold and allergy medications that can be bought?

Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published next Sunday.

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