The United States Naval Academy (USNA) was founded in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft. USNA is a four-year coeducational federal service academy that prepares officers for commissioning chiefly into the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. It is located in Fort Severn in Annapolis, Maryland and thus the academy is also known as “Annapolis” (Baker B.T., Hocevar S.P. & Johnson, W.B., 2003; USNA website).
The history of USNA parallels the history of our country, with the Naval Academy undergoing the same cultural changes as mainstream society (Adamshick, 2010). It is the mission of the Academy to turn out midshipmen that are “morally, mentally, and physically” strong.
Ethical Responsibilities of Educators
Moral development is at the core of the Naval Academy’s four-year program. The curriculum focuses on honor, integrity and mutual respect. The goal of the program is to develop the midshipmen’s own sense of moral values. The Academy also has what is referred to as the Honor Concept, whose motto is “Midshipmen are persons of integrity: they stand for that which is right.” The Honor Concept is founded on respect for: human dignity, honesty and property. Senior class midshipmen have the responsibility of teaching the Honor Concept to the lower classes. Violation of the Honor Concept may result in expulsion from the Naval Academy (Adamshick, 2010; Baker B.T., Hocevar S.P. & Johnson, W.B., 2003; USNA website).
In 1998, the Naval Academy established the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics (CSPME) to support and increase the ethical development of midshipmen. In 2006, the center was expanded and renamed the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership (Adamshick, 2010).
Students with Disabilities
USNA has rather rigorous entrance standards. No matter their academicaccomplishments,
candidates cannot be accepted into the Academy unless they have first secured a nomination by a United States congressman, senator, the Vice-President or the President. Children of members of the armed forces who have earned the Medal of Honor also qualify for entrance into the Academy (Adamshick, 2010; Baker B.T., Hocevar S.P. & Johnson, W.B., 2003).
In addition to stellar academic performance and a special nomination by a member of the legislative or executive branch, candidates must pass a strict physical fitness test and a thorough medical examination. Furthermore, the program itself demands strong academic and military leadership performance, as well as compulsory participation in challenging athletic events (Cox, 1984).
Added together, no accommodation is made for any form or disability. Although this goes against the Disabilities Act of 1990, the very nature of the midshipmen’s ultimate assignment exempts the Academy from the obligations of the Act (USNA website).
The Department of the Navy’s regulations on sexual harassment are dictated by the Department of Defense and exceed those of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Cox, 1984; Durning, 1978).
They also exceed the standard for determining employer liability for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Supervisors and those in command position who either engage in or condone sexual behavior, whether implicit or explicit, in order to influence someone’s career, remuneration or job will be considered guilty of sexual harassment (Cox, 1984; Durning, 1978).
Safe Learning Environment
Nevertheless, the Academy has had some troubles providing a safe learning environment concerning sexual abuse. This provided the motivation for Rear Admiral Mike Miller to establish a new policy mandating stronger training and victim support coupled with a stern policy regarding substance abuse (Cox, 1984; Durning, 1978).
Adamshick M. (2010). Leadership education and development (lead) at the United States Naval Academy. Journal of Character & Leadership Integration (JCLI), 1(2). Available at:
http://ssrn.com/abstract=1653938 (Adamshick, 2010)
Baker B.T., Hocevar S.P. & Johnson, W.B. (2003). The prevalence and nature of service academy mentoring: A study of navy midshipment. Military Psychology, 15(4):273-283.
Cox J.S. & Lenz H.W.(1984). Women midshipmen in sports. J Sports Med, 12(3):241-243.
Durning K. P. (1978). Women at the naval academy: An attitude survey. Armed Forces & Society, 4(4): 569-588. Doi: 10.1177/0095327X7800400403
United States Naval Academy (USNA) website: http://www.usna.edu/