We want your opinions

May 28, 2006

ISSUE:

Frank Shannon, a former offensive lineman with shoulders that span almost 3 feet, had struggled with the Naval Academy's distance-run requirement of 1.5 miles in less than 10 minutes, 30 seconds. He usually made it, although rarely on the first try. In January, however, his best time was 10 minutes, 50 seconds, and in March he was expelled from the academy for failing the test. When his friends threw their hats into the air on Friday, Shannon was pulling another shift at a home improvement store. He has invested two years in the Navy, one in the academy's preparatory school and four at the school itself. But he has no degree and no Navy commission, and he owes the U.S. government more than $127,000 for his education. Students pay no tuition unless they are expelled. Another source of frustration is that the academy's standards are higher than the Navy's or the other service academies'. Shannon's time would have easily met the Navy requirement for a junior officer of his age. The Naval Academy declined to comment specifically about Shannon's case, but Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt wrote in a March letter to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski that Shannon "failed to display the desire to meet the standard." Academy officials also said all midshipmen are treated the same and that any failings are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

YOUR VIEW:

Should Shannon have been expelled for failing the running test? Should he have gotten a commission or a degree, and should he have to repay the government the full cost of his education? 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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