This is sad.
In the Potempkin Color Guard fiasco, we saw a loved institution twist itself into knots to satisfy a corrosive, self-loathing, and debunked racialist theory known as Diversity. I am afraid that we now have an institution that has sacrificed itself for something even more misguided - a game. A sport.
Though I know the name of the individual in question - I am not going to mention it here or some of the details as they aren't the important part of the story, right now.
Executive Summary: A USNA football player popped positive for marijuana post season - but the act of smoking pot took place "in season." Though there are inconsistencies in the stories that explained "why" he smoked pot - there was never a question that he did - in the end the story is that he was handed a cigar that was stuffed with marijuana, he smoked it with vigor, and had no idea there was marijuana in it. Ahem. An official statement was given to that effect by another party. The Sup bought the story decided to let him stay.
I remember what it was like in the '80s - I remember the posters, "Not on my watch; Not on my ship; Not in my Navy". I have seen many a Sailor shown the door with a Big Chicken Dinner. I have seen successful and unsuccessful excuses for popping positive - one rather pornographic. In the end though, "no tolerance" had sticking power and I never saw a case of special consideration for any individual who popped positive - officer or enlisted.
UPDATE: Hey, look at the kids now days with all their facebooktwitterybloggy thingies going on!
UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: Philip Ewing @ NavyTimes has picked up the story. (Update to original here)
UPDATE III - Perfect Storm: Daniel de Vise at the Washington Post has picked up the story as well.
UPDATE IV - Set Condition Zebra: Things have become very interesting over the last 24-hrs and I encourage everyone to follow comment as there is some very good primary sources out there. First of all, I want everyone to get a peek at how business is sometimes done inside the lifelines at Annapolis.
--Forwarded Message Attachment--Very interesting habits we are teaching the future officers in the military of a Representitive Republic.
Subject: Please Read
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 [REDACTED]
-----BODY OF EMAIL REDACTED ON A TEMP BASIS BY REQ----
--Forwarded Message Attachment--
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 [REDACTED]
Do not join the facebook group "Zero Tolerance=Zero Exceptions" or any other similar group.
This is coming down from the highest echelon. There will be severe consequences for disobedience.
You can find a link to the facebook page in question in a previous update. Just a little detail here; the page was started by a civilian and, in a fashion, supports a Navy policy - i.e. zero tolerance for drug abuse. The owner of the page has now made it private - so the conversation - some support zero tolerance, some do not; some support the USNA Admin, some do not - goes on, except now it has gone underground. Way to make it worse fellas.
I ran the above by a JAG friend - and from that exchange of emails comes some sound advice and some caution.
... the Academy may be right on this. While no particular officers are named, there's some pretty harsh criticism of the university administration which could be construed as an open condemnation of a senior officer, which is a violation of the UCMJ.This isn't black and white, and is a very gray area. Like I have advised in a few emails - stick to informal and if needed formal grevience proceedures. Keep your nose clean and your eye on the goal - graduate. If you have some venom that gets you near a gray area, feed it to civilian friends & family, or vent to some dorky blogger.
I'd advise the MIDs to tread carefully here.
Part of the problem is that there are some logic disconnects coming at the MIDN. There of course is the obvious one of what is being said vs. is being done, and different "classes" of MIDN being treated differently - but there are messaging problems. For example, this came out in DEC09 - I like it;
Subj: Naval Academy News Media Policy
The following information is provided to clarify the Naval Academy’s policy regarding interaction with news media.
Like the Navy and Marine Corps, the Naval Academy does not forbid anyone from speaking with news media. The Naval Academy’s public affairs office requests to be notified when midshipmen, faculty or staff are contacted by news media in order to provide assistance and advice. This assistance and advice is particularly important for individuals who do not routinely interact with media, do not wish to respond to media, or may lack perspective on issues of potential media interest.
In most situations, individuals are free to address news media - either initiating or returning contact with reporters - and can do so without approval from their chain of command. However, there are specific situations, such as an ongoing official investigation or judicial proceeding and issues involving classified information, where Navy and Marine Corps policy specifically addresses limits of public comment. It is imperative during such situations to obtain the assistance of the public affairs office when contacted by reporters.What is Facebook? Social media? New Media? Personal journal? Personal correspondence? Yes to all the above. That is why this is a gray area. If you canx facebook, can you do the same for subscriptions and online registration for NYT, WaPo, and multiple forums and, ahem, blogs out there? Do you restrict who they can and cannot email to? What about being a member of the NRA, NOW, or the Sierra Club? What about USNI? Do we punish them for being members of organizations that have authors who question policy? Sure we draw lines, at hate groups for instance, but be careful that your line is thick, bright, and straight. Crooked and selectively sketchy only breeds cynicism.
Naval Academy personnel who interact with media should also realize that their public comments can sometimes be construed - either intentionally or unintentionally - to represent the Navy or Naval Academy. It is important when interacting with media in an unofficial capacity to ensure that all opinions expressed are understood to be personal and do not necessarily represent the views of the Navy or the Academy.
Midshipmen, faculty or staff are free to interact with news media, but are strongly encouraged to contact the public affairs office prior to doing so. Additionally, Naval Academy personnel who do not wish to engage with media can refer all media requests to the public affairs office. As always, any questions concerning this policy or any news media related issues should be referred to the public affairs office at X2292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE V - Electric Glide: The local paper is on the hunt too.
UPDATE VI - Fiasco Edition: Thomas E. Ricks smells it as well.
UPDATE VII - Flash Gear: Front page of the Washington Post News Section.
UPDATE VIII - Defilade fire: URR has a higher brain function piece over at USNIBlog.
UPDATE IX - Load canister: The AP picked up Daniel de Vise's WaPo bit.