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An opinion piece by W.E. Smith in the New London Day:

The front page of The Day on June 20 had this headline: “Cummings: CGA can do a better job on diversity.” The accompanying article said that Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., was critical of the Coast Guard Academy’s efforts to increase the diversity of its corps and that he said the Naval Academy has “initiated efforts targeted to reach potential students in every corner of this nation.” He added, “The Navy has shown us the way. Now we have to combine the will with the way and get it done, period.”

Well, not so fast, Rep. Cummings.

The June 14, 2009 edition of “The Capital,” an Annapolis newspaper, included a guest column by Bruce Fleming, an English professor who has taught at the Naval Academy for 22 years and has been a member of its Admissions Board.

I admire and applaud how determined and committed Rear Adm. Burhoe and his director of admissions, Capt. Susan Bibeau, have been and are in this regard. Their task, however, is extremely difficult, delicate and challenging to accomplish while still maintaining the Coast Guard Academy’s level playing field, competitive entrance procedures and without downgrading its academic standards.

If Rep. Cummings really means “it’s not about color” and wants to help the academy increase its under-represented minorities, then he will quit being just a Monday morning quarterback standing on the sidelines and criticizing. He and his staff should get in the game. They will start finding and encouraging candidates of all colors who have outstanding academic and leadership qualities to apply for and compete for appointments to the Coast Guard Academy.

It will be a sad day for our country and the Coast Guard, however, if the academy is ever forced into using the Naval Academy’s new procedure that Rep. Cummings considers so great.

The Naval Academy diversity article he mentions is here.

Hat tip: USCGA Alumni Community.

Posted in Opinion, Professional Matters.

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