Contractor Hired for USMMA ‘Cultural Assessment’ Amid Sexual Assault and Harassment Concerns

Photo: U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Photo: U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

The U.S. Department of Transportation has hired a private government consultant to perform an independent cultural assessment of the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) to help stamp out instances of sexual assault and harassment that have persisted both on campus and during Sea Year.

The DOT said Tuesday that it has selected Logistics Management Institute, a private non-profit, to carry out the assessment in order to address the root causes of sexual assault and harassment and other inappropriate behaviors at the federally-funded United States service academy. LMI is expected to begin work immediately in assessing the history, culture and climate of USMMA and the Sea Year Program.

The review comes after USMMA suspended Sea Year for Midshipmen last June as part of a wider effort to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault both on campus and off, and to ensure “an appropriate training and work environment for the Midshipmen,” USMMA said in June.

LMI’s work will include a 60-day review of all relevant prevention policies and reporting procedures, as well as several other factors identified within the statement of work. Following the review, the contractor will provide its analysis with recommendations to Secretary Foxx, who has “committed to eliminating these issues and building a climate of inclusion for all at the USMMA.”

“This independent assessment has the full support of Secretary Foxx, the DOT, the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the USMMA. Through honest and forthright interactions by all with the contractor, we hope to bring about a cultural change that provides a safe and respectful learning environment for all Midshipmen,” USMMA said in a statement Tuesday.