Naval Academy 'aware' of racist comments from incoming plebe
By HEATHER MONGILIO | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: June 19, 2020
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — The Naval Academy has been made aware of more racist and inappropriate tweets and messages, this time from an incoming member of the Class of 2024.
The recent high school graduate from Maryland sent messages that included threats of sexual violence, a transphobic statement, a racist epithet and threats of gun violence in a school sent in 2018 on a chat platform, which were later shared on Twitter. The messages became public Wednesday, one day after the academy initiated an investigation into racist tweets from a Twitter account linked to a senior midshipman.
“The Naval Academy does not condone racism or bigotry of any kind within the U.S. Naval Academy family, as it completely violates our Navy’s core values, and does not support the U.S. Naval Academy mission,” Cmdr. Alana Garas, an academy spokeswoman, wrote in an email.
All offers of appointment are conditional until an incoming student takes the oath of office, Garas said. The Naval Academy Admissions process uses a character review committee, which determines facts and will make recommendations to the dean of admissions, and in some cases the superintendent, when it is appropriate.
The Capital is not identifying the recent high school graduate because he has not yet taken the oath of office required of new midshipmen when they are inducted into the academy. Induction day has been delayed this year to a four-day period, June 29 to July 4.
In a statement sent to The Capital, the man said he is talking with an admissions counselor “about the mistake I have made.” He expressed concern that his offer may be taken away.
He said he also apologized in the group chat.
“I can honestly say that when I saw what I’ve commented in another point of view is disgusting,” he wrote in the Twitter message. “And for my recent inappropriate message, nobody really held me accountable for what I said which lead to my continuation of making such mistake because I thought no one would care. (I’m not blaming people to not hold me accountable, it’s me who I thought that people don’t care). So thank you to my class mate for holding me accountable this time which helped me to dig into my mistake. This is only the beginning for my change and I believe myself that I can do better, so I hope you all can believe in me too. I can promise that I’m doing my best to discipline myself.”
A Twitter user shared messages, which are from 2018, Wednesday night attributed to the student and sent in a group chat on chat platform Discord. She said the student harassed her a few weeks ago because she used the words “All Cops are Bastards,” a phrase used by protestors demonstrating against police violence against black people. She identified the student as a classmate at her school.
The student who wrote the message said he did not know how the Twitter user got the messages as she is not in the group chat.
In a statement, he called the statements, “dark comments/joke.”
“I understand that what I typed are wrong,” he wrote. “And I didn’t really mean it.”
Looking at his comments from a different standpoint, he wrote that he realized that people were not being too sensitive, as he thought in the beginning, but because his statements were offensive.
“And now I understand that it’s not just edgy joke or comments,” he said. “And I will hold myself accountable so others (don’t) have to. So I’m here trying to save myself not just because I’m being exposed, it’s because I actually see the mistake I have made. I just want you all to have faith in me and trust me that I will change for the better in the future.”
This is the latest incident of racist comments among the Naval Academy community.
Earlier this month, an academy alumnus in Florida made racist comments live on Facebook. He has since resigned from his position with the Naval Academy Alumni Association and has been removed from its membership.
Wednesday, the Naval Academy initiated an investigation into Midshipman 1st Class Chase Standage over tweets, which included ones stating the protests following the death of George Floyd would end quicker if police shot protesters.
He also tweeted that Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police as she was sleeping in her apartment, “received justice” when she was killed.
Standage told The Capital that he and his family have received threats but declined further comment because of the investigation.
In an email, Garas said the Naval Academy does not condone any threats or harassment against others.
She declined further comment on the investigation.
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