- An inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found a lieutenant commander at the US Coast Guard Academy was retaliated against for complaining of racial bias.
- “It is intolerable that the Coast Guard has retaliated against a service member for making protected complaints of harassment and discrimination,” Rep. Elijah Cummings told the Connecticut Mirror.
An inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found a lieutenant commander at the US Coast Guard Academy was retaliated against for complaining of racial bias.
The inspection, reported by Ana Radelat of the Connecticut Mirror, found a “preponderance of evidence” that the officer received a poor evaluation as a result of her complaints that she was “subjected to harassment and a hostile work environment” due to her race and gender, according to the Mirror.
The inspectors also found “potential disparities” between the handling of the whistleblower’s complaints and later complaints filed by a different member of the academy.
This is not the first time the academy has faced scrutiny for alleged racial discrimination, according to the Mirror.
In a study by the University of Southern California called the “Equity Scorecard,” the US Coast Guard Academy disproportionately disciplines African-American midshipmen, and black students are also “consistently less likely to graduate.”
The academy is also under congressional investigation for “harassment, bullying and discrimination against minority cadets,” the Mirror reported. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) was one three lawmakers to request documents pertaining to harassment and bullying allegations over the last three years, according to the Mirror.
One of the others, Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a statement to the Mirror: “It is intolerable that the Coast Guard has retaliated against a service member for making protected complaints of harassment and discrimination, and I expect the Coast Guard to immediately hold accountable all individuals who had any role in carrying out this retaliation.”
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the academy, has ordered the Coast Guard to update the whistleblower’s evaluation, and to document in writing the “reasons for findings and outcomes in response to bullying and harassment complaints,” the Mirror reported. The academy must also provide training to supervisors and managers on the department’s harassment and bullying policies, the report says.
The Coast Guard Academy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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