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Bill Seeks To Address Sexual Assault At Merchant Marine Academy

Seth Wenig
Friends and family of the new graduates of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, top, watch the commencement ceremonies in Kings Point, N.Y., in 2012.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Congressman Tom Suozzi, D-NY3, have proposed a plan for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to address sexual assault both on campus and at sea.

The New York lawmakers announced the Merchant Marine Academy Improvement Act, which would give midshipmen more resources to report sexual harassment and assault.

Under the Act, the USMMA would follow Title IX for the first time. The five service academies are usually exempt from the Title IX requirement that every other college in America follows.

The Act would also appoint a sexual assault response coordinator and create a 24-hour helpline to allow midshipmen to report incidents of sexual harassment and assault.

A USMMA survey from the 2015-2016 academic year found that nearly 20 percent of women were sexually assaulted, yet only four cases were reported to Academy officials.