The Coast Guard Academy is investigating reports of a racially-charged incident that took place on Friday, Oct. 27 involving two cadets, a spokesperson confirmed Sunday to NBC Connecticut.
In an e-mail sent to the academy community and obtained by NBC Connecticut, Assistant Superintendent Capt. Ron LeBrec said “a white male cadet may have acted to intimidate an African-American cadet based on his race.” The e-mail does not further detail what took place in the incident.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service is now looking into the allegations in a criminal investigation. The academy will also conduct its own investigation under the Coast Guard's Anti-Harassment, Anti-Hate and Discrimination Policies, according to spokesperson David Santos. Santos said the cadet at the center of the investigation will remain in the cadet program while the investigation is conducted.
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"We take these issues very seriously as intimidation and harassment are counter to our core values and have no place at the Academy or in our Service," said Rear Admiral James Rendón, academy superintendent, in an exclusive statement to NBC Connecticut. "We are committed to maintaining an environment at the Academy that is inclusive, equitable and respectful for all. The entire Academy community needs to understand this -- there is no place for hate, intimidation or harassment at this institution. If you think this kind of thing is a joke, you are sadly mistaken and need to seriously reconsider your future here."
The superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy has scheduled a mandatory meeting with all cadets, staff, faculty and coaches for 8:15 a.m. Monday, according to the email sent to the academy community. Santos confirmed media is not invited.
The report of this latest incident comes after news surfaced in early September that racial slurs and other disrespectful comments were allegedly made at the Coast Guard Academy.
New London Rep. Chris Soto, New London Mayor Michael Passero, members of the New London NAACP, the ACLU of Connecticut among other city and religious leaders gathered at City Hall, demanding an end to that type of climate at the Academy.
At the time, Academy Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Adam deKoven said in part of a statement that “we have taken disciplinary action against staff and cadets to include removal from the institution where appropriate. Beyond responding, however, we are working aggressively in a variety of ways to detect and eliminate any inherent bias in our processes and have honest exchanges of ideas to help faculty, staff and cadets focus on respect and grow in their understanding of issues of inequity.”
Representative Joe Courtney and Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy sent a letter to Superintendent Rear Admiral James Rendón on Sept. 5 asking for a “meaningful, transparent response” to the allegations that minority cadets were experiencing racial hostility on campus to “further advance the institute’s mission.”
We will continue to follow this developing story and post any updates here.