Concern re: morale

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by midparent, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. midparent

    midparent New Member

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    I spoke to my mid last night. As almost everyone knows, the rules relating to liberty have been significantly change. Liberty used to be a privilege, more of which was granted with each year completed and often linked to academic performance. It seems the nature and frequency of liberty has been rolled way back. In that regard, my mid says things are now not much different from when she was a plebe several years ago. She gave me examples such as the backpack ban, required checkout/check in with military ID for any campus departure required, etc., but more focused on the overall environment - best characterized as oppressive.

    There currently are 40+ mids on restriction, for various offenses - some, no doubt, quite deservedly so. However, as I understand it, the offense something like “conduct unbecoming a midshipman” is apparently some type of catch-all offense under which mistakes from very minor to egregious can fall, and the arbitrary reporting/enforcement of which often depends on the mood of the moment. She reports that, in her view, because of this “catch-all” rule and other restrictions, morale is the lowest it has been since she has been there. According to her, the cloud of uncertainty as to whether/when one might run afoul of some ambiguous standard of conduct is so heavy and low that it dominates much of the conversation and attitude of many mids. Most, she believes, feel as though they are walking on egg shells.

    My mid has not had any significant problems at KP academically or with the regimental system. Until now, she has believed it to be tough, but generally fair. I believe she’s the kind of person KP would like to have attend, graduate from and go out into the industry to represent it. She has spoken to other young people, (especially women), about KP and encouraged them to visit and apply for admission. She was proud of the kind of experience KP provided and has the potential to provide. The way things stand know, she says she no longer feels she can in good faith encourage others to attend. In fact, would actually discourage young people from considering KP if the topic arose.

    Although she is only one of over 1000, I have a sense she is not alone. I am concerned that mids with that kind of attitude, mids who are not simply upset about one particular thing or another that they believe has unfairly impacted them (i.e. they don’t just have a bone to pick), could significantly affect the views of potentially good midshipmen and stand in the way of KP being the respected institution it has been known to be.

    Any thoughts, espcially from alumni, would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It is a theme across all service academies. I was restricted more than once. One time (or two) I said a bad word (or two). Restriction happens, have your midshipman deal with it.

    Liberty changes as well. My classmates and I were SURE we were getting privledges at the end of our3/c or 2/c year.... but we didn't. Sure we weren't happy. You haven't really had the full academy experience until you've been very very angry at your institution.

    My advice, you, as a parent, should not worry. Low morale and a common enemy can help bring a class together. :wink:
     
  3. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Your mid's experience is nothing new.

    The system's primary overriding flaw is that it is administered by human beings. There were many times when I should have been on restriction but wasn't and there were times when I was on restriction but shouldn't have been. "Justice" when handed out by people is rarely even-handed, it is just the nature of the beast.

    I once got stuck with four weeks restriction for something I specifically counseled against, didn't participate in nor contributed money for. I still get stuck because I didn't sell out my classmates and inform on them ahead of time. Did I let it get me down? Nope, it was a bonding moment for us and we tried to have fun with it. I even put the experience as one of my "clubs" on my senior page.

    I would never advise someone to not go to KP because of its regimental "idiosyncrasies" but I would make sure they go in understanding the challenges they face. It's not like those "idiosyncrasies" are limited to KP. We face them every day in the real world.

    Like all my fellow alumni, I have plenty more stories.
     
  4. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    I would agree with LITS. I have two cadets at USAFA and with a change of leadership, there are inevitably changes to SOP. To say that my C2C doesn't appreciate some of them is an understatement. She is committed to seeing this through and will "deal" with it her own way. Her C4C brother doesn't know any different, so the effects are not so apparent to him, yet. At USAFA they have a saying "Back when it was hard...." fill in the blank. Each class has their own stories and "hard" stories.
     
  5. tankercaptain

    tankercaptain Member

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    Like most here, I will add my two cents.
    There is a new administration and as such they are flexing their power and setting the tone for the school year. Like most things, the new difficulties shall pass. Morale is expected to drop when things like this happen. As time goes on things will get better and morale will improve.
    I will say this, after talking with some '12 alumni, this was expected and needed. After some incidents occurring last year a change in the direction of the regiment was needed.
    Like the old saying goes, "Kings Point is the greatest place to be from but the worst place to be at."
     
  6. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 Member

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    Midparent--I share your concern. My DS (definitely not a complainer) reports morale at an all-time low. The last straw for him came when the 1Cs were denied the traditional special liberty this Friday to get ready for ring dance. I understand the new administration and some issues from the past year, but the 1Cs have worked so hard to get this far that it is pretty disheartening to them to have the traditions they have looked forward to change so dramatically. Also, as evidence of discontent, my DS has talked my DD (class of 2017) out of completing her KP application process.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Some times a little "man up" is needed...

    :rolleyes:
     
  8. Kram1

    Kram1 Member

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    Yes, for all our great midshimen a little "man up" is always a good thing. This might go for some parents of Mids as well. Parents need to not "buy in" to this sort of conversation. For everyone who has even been enrolled at a service academy or who has served on active duty in our armed forces...this stuff happens! "It isn't fair" is the word of the day from time to time...well, I have a news flash...it's not fair all the time at "civilian" universities either...just a different form of "not fair". Morale ebbs and flows, it's the nature of the beast, especially at service academies.

    Give it some time..."this too shall pass"...especially if parents don't buy into it and....Mids can and will handle it very well. Also as parebnts, remember, you are getting one side of the picture. Support your Mid, but don't buy into the "poor me" and "it's not fair" stuff. You are not doing your Mid any favors by doing so. The old saying still stands with many grads...."Kings Point is a great place to be FROM"!
     
  9. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Quoted for truth.

    I'm actually very surprised that this is new. At USNA, that was always the work-around for stuff that seemed fishy but wasn't specifically mentioned in the conduct manual.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I appealed a Class II "conduct unbecoming" as it was redundant with another class II for the same event. The Assistant Commandant of Cadets agreed.

    "Conduct unbecoming" or even the more applicable "failure to use good judgement" are catch-alls.
     
  11. jessibee2013

    jessibee2013 Member

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    I know the morale was said to be the lowest ever when Greene first started too and the mids ended up liking him very much.
    But....
    much of the problem, at least for 2013, is that they have had 5 sups in THREE years counting Kumar twice. A "little manning up" for them happens on average twice a year when all the rules and expectations are tossed out and ones imposed. They are on Round 5 and they still have 2 1/2 tri's to go!
    Sadly, I think many in 2013 will leave KP and never look back. I hope I'm wrong. It will be interesting to see if they become and stay one of the lowest "giving" alumni classes ever.
    My DS doesn't complain anymore because he can see the light at the end of the tunnel but he still isn't convinced that that light isn't another train- which is how I imagine most of 2013 feels. Their experience at KP is beyond just tough and disciplined, it is an arbitrary, unfair and unpredictable environment which wears on the psyche after 3 years...
    Just saying :rolleyes:
     
  12. tankercaptain

    tankercaptain Member

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    I'm not going to get into which class had it hardest or that I had it hard. Truth is KP is a difficult place, regardless of the number of superintendents one had or the changes in regimental rules or going from quarters to trimesters or from spending your sophomore year at sea to sea year during sophomore and junior year or even a time when they made a class all go dual.
    Life at KP is difficult and unfair. Everyone class walks out thinking they had it the toughest and every class thinks that they will never give back to KP. The nice thing is time changes memories and after awhile you just start to remember the good times.

    I will say this, it will never be as bad as the generation that first started their. No one will know how bad KP was like that generation. You can't imagine what it was like to come back from sea year, or even class and go to lunch in Delano and look up behind the reg table and hope that you do not see your buddies name on the wall. See behind that giant painting of the SS United States in Delano is a giant plaque that when a cadet died they would put his name in bronze on that wall. Everyday guys would look to see if one of their buddies was on that wall. So until we have experienced that, KP isn't all that bad.

    By the way it is sad that we hide that wall.

    By the way instead of focusing on this you should be more concerned if you child is getting ECDIS, Fast Rescue boats, Vessel Security Officer and Tankerman PIC, if they are an engineer you should be hoping that they are getting Fast Rescue Boats, Vessel Security, Tankerman Engineer and Engine Room Resource Management and that the school has started ensuring that they meet STCW 2010 standards.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  13. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    LITS's last sentence is SO 100% DEAD ON!! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  14. jessibee2013

    jessibee2013 Member

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    You are exactly right that LITS summed it up well!! And it is so true.

    Btw I asked DS what was going on. He said its not the sup or commandant that make the place miserable, it's the "kids" with fake bars who think that makes them something that ruin the place. Then he added, it's not so bad mom. It's still so much better than plebe year !
    I'm guessing this is why these are the ones that survive KP- they can put a positive spin on chicken gunk!!
     
  15. tankercaptain

    tankercaptain Member

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    I always tell this to kids going to KP. Becareful what you do to your classmates and underclassmen. People never forget and it's a small industry. I've seen too many people NOT get a job because of what they did at KP. People call around and ask what type of person the individual is and their behavior at school caused them not to get a job. It is better to treat people how you'd want to be treated than be a reg cock. Things come back and haunt people.
     
  16. jessibee2013

    jessibee2013 Member

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    Amen to that! And it's good to know that sometimes that the reg cocks get their payback- which can be hell!
     
  17. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I hope nobody minds me jumping in on this conversation, I have no kids at KP and I just stumbled on here out of curiosity after seeing the title of the thread.

    I have 2 son's, both AROTC, one has graduated and the other is about to start his second year.

    I have to say, one area the SA's including KP have a great advantage is that the cadets and Mid's get experience in all the military red tape and as the poster above stated "Chicken Gunk" before they graduate and move on to the real military or the Maritime Industry. ROTC could not be a more Black and White difference then the SA's

    My older son is just getting his feet wet in the real military, it can be quite an adjustment sometimes. He is currently at Ft. Rucker for Flight School. It has been fun having conversations with him, if for no other reason, to hear that things have not really changed over time.

    Just a couple days when we were talking he jokingly asked if it was bad to hate the Army after just after 2 months, I had to laugh.

    Over the last 3 months his report date changed twice, during in process they never seemed to get the paperwork right and he had to go back several times to each office. The BOLC schedule kept changing. Once done with BOLC they had 2 1/2 weeks with nothing to do so they were put on funeral duty.....with no funerals just a lot of training for something they were not doing. They showed up for dunker training but the divers were not there, they showed up the next day and they had drained the pool. They forgot to post the next date and got in trouble for not being there, until they figured out they forgot to post it. They were told they would have 2 weeks down time after SERE training before starting Flight training, his girlfriend booked a ticket to fly down and spend that 2 weeks with him. Well...a few days later they were informed that training had been moved up and now they were starting one day after SERE, girlfriend still has the non refundable ticket so she says now she can help him study..oh joy. I had to laugh, it brought back a lot of memories.

    I guess the point of this is that however bad things in school seem now there will be a whole set of new issues once they graduate and move on. The bad memories from school will fade away once they start dealing with all the new problems.

    The ones that survive will be better prepared to take on the new challenges that await them.

    I told my son......Don't fret too much, the grass isn't all that greener in civilian life either. I think if my parents would have taped my conversations when I started in the military they would sound exactly like the conversations I am having with my son now, funny how things seem to never change.

    He still loves it, just needs to vent sometimes, all we can do is listen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  18. kp13

    kp13 Member

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    The parents should all call the Commandant! I've heard thats worked in the past...
     
  19. tankercaptain

    tankercaptain Member

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    Parnets don't need to call the commandant. Parnets need to allow things to progress as is, the regiment will correct itself.
     
  20. Ashore

    Ashore Member

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    Going back to the fifties, I recall Lt. Horton Spurr's comment when observing the Mast List and cadets walking by while shaking his head ... "We need a descriptive Mast List offense ... Stupidity, Excessive."
     

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