USMMA Alumni Association appoints sex harassment task force

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation (AAF):

(GREAT NECK, N.Y.) — The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation (AAF) has announced the creation of a task force on the prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment to address sexual misconduct at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. 

According to John Arntzen, chairman of the AAF Board of Directors, "Task force members will seek to work cooperatively with the academy's administration to develop a coordinated response to address sexual misconduct at USMMA. By engaging alumni, parents, current midshipmen and representatives of the maritime industry, the task force will be able to contribute valuable insights and propose solutions."

The task force will review best practices on preventing and responding to sexual assault and harassment and provide recommendations on addressing sexual misconduct on USMMA's campus and during the Sea Year core curricula training. The task force is comprised of distinguished members from the alumni and maritime communities, and will be chaired by Capt. Eileen Roberson. Task force members include:

• Jane R. Carpenter — Former licensed master mariner and first female commander of the U.S. Maritime Service Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University's Texas Maritime Academy. Carpenter is a 1983 graduate of Texas A&M and is currently the accounting assistant at Morgan Partners.

• Capt. Kevin P. Coyne ’77 — President, Polaris Marine Partners. A licensed master mariner, Coyne sailed in all deck officer positions up to and including master for Exxon Shipping Co. Coyne has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial maritime operations, compliance, auditing, safety management systems and crewing.

• Mike Jewell — Former president of the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA). Jewell is a graduate of James Madison University and obtained his third assistant engineers license from Calhoon MEBA Engineering School. He sailed in all licensed engineering capacities including chief engineer. Jewell is also a retired captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

• Andrea M. Morrison ’10 — Licensed master mariner presently sailing as chief mate for Crowley Maritime. Morrison was first in her class to receive an unlimited chief mate's license.

• Thomas F. McCaffery ’76 — President of McCaffery & Associates, former licensed chief mate, federal and multi-state expert witness, and the primary researcher/writer for "Braving the Wartime Seas: A Tribute to the Cadets and Graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Cadet Corps Who Died During World War ll," published by the American Merchant Marine History Project.

• Breanna E. Linsley ’16 — Marine engineering and shipyard management graduate and four-year lacrosse player and team captain. Linsley currently works as a naval architect at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash.

• Eileen S. Roberson ’80 — Served as director of total force management for the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Assistant for administration to the undersecretary of the Navy, and assistant for administration at the Maritime Administration. Roberson is also a retired U.S. Navy Reserve captain and a current member of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

"Task force members represent diverse parts of the maritime industry and come from different maritime schools. We all care deeply about this issue and are united in our commitment to finding effective ways to ensure positive and lasting change," said Roberson.

The task force will immediately begin the process of selecting a recognized third-party expert on preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment. The expert will conduct an independent study and provide the task force options specific to USMMA on the following topics:

• Best practices that can immediately impact sexual misconduct prevention and response at USMMA.
• Better implementation of existing strategies to address sexual misconduct at USMMA.
• The effectiveness of the suspension of Sea Year as a means of eliminating sexual misconduct at USMMA.
• Increasing the transparency of the academy's efforts and rationale for implementing specific sexual misconduct policies and procedures.

The task force will issue a report with its recommendations and will also publicly release the expert's study in its entirety. An announcement of the expert who has been retained by the task force will be forthcoming.                            

By Professional Mariner Staff