USMMA’s Efforts To Address Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
On April 5, 2017, the Inspector General testified before the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's (USMMA) efforts to address sexual assault and harassment. The Inspector General focused on (1) the Department of Transportation's actions in response to congressional requirements and our October 2014 report recommendations, (2) our 2016 review of USMMA's efforts to complete its 2014–2015 action plan, and (3) USMMA's continuing challenges and our upcoming work.
The Inspector General testified that the Department has taken a number of actions to address sexual assault and harassment at the Academy. For example, in response to our October 2014 report recommendations, USMMA established standard operating procedures for investigating sexual assault and harassment. As required by Congress, USMMA has also created action plans to address concerns identified during its surveys of midshipmen on the effectiveness of its policies and procedures in combating sexual assault and harassment. However, the Inspector General noted that our 2016 review of USMMA’s 2014–2015 action plan found that the Academy had not completed 15 (34 percent) of its 44 planned actions. Our work as well as a number of recent developments highlight that USMMA remains challenged in following through on its plans to address longstanding issues with the Academy's culture. The Inspector General stated that by June 30, 2017, we are launching a review of USMMA’s progress with current plans.