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Letter to Congress Regarding USMMA’s Actions To Address Sexual Assault and Harassment

House and Senate Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
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On August 11, 2016, we issued a letter on our congressionally requested review of the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s (USMMA) actions to prevent, respond to, and resolve instances of sexual assault and harassment. Specifically, Congress asked that we examine the Academy’s progress in implementing its 2014–2015 action plan, which was based on an anonymous survey of midshipmen. From the survey, USMMA identified seven areas in need of attention, including establishing a “no tolerance and full reporting” climate; improving training for faculty, staff, and senior leadership; and increasing gender diversity at the Academy. We found that USMMA completed 29 of the 44 action items listed in its plan and that many of the incomplete items are issues that the Academy continues to face, including incident reporting and enhanced awareness among its midshipmen, faculty, and leadership. We disagreed with USMMA’s reported completion status for eight action items and did not have sufficient information in two cases to make an assessment.