Academy leaders say it is a top priority to build a student body that reflects the racial makeup of the Navy and the nation. The service academy has almost twice as many black, Hispanic and Asian midshipmen as it did a decade ago. Much of the increase has occurred in the past two years, with a blitz of 1,000 outreach and recruitment events across the country.
But during the past two weeks, a faculty member has stirred debate by suggesting that the school's quest for diversity comes at a price. Bruce Fleming, a tenured English professor, said in a June 14 opinion piece in the Capital newspaper of Annapolis that the academy operates a two-tiered admission system that makes it substantially easier for minority applicants to get in. Academy leaders strenuously deny Fleming's assertion. Fleming served on the academy's admissions board several years ago.
We'll see what happens to Professor Fleming, especially after saying something this blunt:
"First of all, we're dumbing down the Naval Academy," Fleming said in an interview. "Second of all, we're dumbing down the officer corps."