The superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis has sent letters to incoming female midshipmen assuring them that incidents such as the handcuffing to a urinal of a female midshipman will not be tolerated.
Rear Adm. Virgil L. Hill Jr. wrote the letters, dated June 1, "to extend his personal commitment to the protection of their civil rights here," Lt. Cmdr. Mark Van Dyke, academy spokesman, was quoted as saying in the Annapolis Capital.
The letters were mailed to the 136 women, who on July 3 will begin their military careers at the academy. Van Dyke said the academy this year has witnessed one of its highest acceptance rates among women, with 136 out of 170 women applicants taking appointments to Annapolis.
Male candidates for the class of 1994 were not sent letters, Van Dyke said. About 1,000 students are in each class.
Van Dyke said Hill was concerned about the adverse publicity resulting from the handcuffing of second-year Midshipman 2nd Class Gwen Marie Dreyer. Dreyer, 19, resigned in April because of her displeasure with the punishment meted out to male classmates who dragged her from her room, handcuffed her to the urinal and snapped photos. Two male midshipmen were penalized with loss of leave time and demerits, and six others were issued written reprimands.