NAACP leadership in New London has requested a meeting with senior officers at the Coast Guard Academy after reports of racial slurs and bullying among the cadet corps. Meanwhile, members of the state's congressional delegation have written to the academy's superintendent, calling the allegations "disturbing."
The Day newspaper published allegations from four unnamed minority cadets who said they encounter discrimination on a daily basis at the academy, including racially charged language, and that perpetrators face no discipline.
Jean Jordan, president of the NAACP in New London, said they’ve asked for the academy to release data that they’ve been collecting on equity and diversity.
Known as an Equity Scorecard, the data tracks diversity in graduation and retention rates as well as leadership and awards among the corps of cadets.
“Am I shocked by some of what I’m seeing? Yes, because I didn’t expect it from some of the people I’m seeing it from,” said Jordan. “But I’m glad, because now we know where we stand. However, in a service academy, that type of name calling -- racial slurs -- should not go on.”
State Representative Chris Soto, who himself is an academy graduate, said he’s tried in the past to work with leadership there on the issues of diversity and respect. “We’re looking for better accountability measures,” Soto said. He wants to see the same accountability for racial bullying as there is for sexual assault or for honor code violations.
The academy acknowledged to The Day that there have been some climate issues at the school, but said it’s working to make changes.
The state's two U.S. senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, along with 2nd District Representative Joe Courtney, wrote Tuesday to Superintendent Rear Adm. James Rendon.
"As strong supporters of the Academy and its historic role of producing the Coast Guard’s leadership, we are sure you agree that a meaningful, transparent response is required to further advance the institution’s mission," the letter said.
The NAACP’s Jordan said if given the opportunity to meet with Rendon, the organization will call for greater diversity on the board of trustees and among senior leadership.