Admiral Worley addressed the NY parents' club last night. He answered questions that had been submitted to the president of the club by the parents. Topics covered were: Toilet paper – contrary to popular belief, there is not a shortage of toilet paper at the Academy. Due to a procedural misunderstanding about stocking toilet paper in the dorms, the students, believing that there wasn’t enough toilet paper to go around, began hording it. This misunderstanding has been cleared up. Food – The Admiral assured parents that the mids were getting enough to eat. Mission Statement of the USMMA – While the language in the mission statement remains intact, the Admiral felt that the order should be changed. He has therefore placed the wording regarding the commitment to graduating licensed officers for the United States Merchant Marine in the beginning of the Mission Statement as a point of emphasis and primary importance. He assured the group that Congress understands the vital role of the merchant marine to the economic and strategic interests of our nation. Financial problems at the Academy – According to the Admiral, Congress is extremely upset with the Academy over past practices involving moving dollars between categories in the Academy’s budget. A report is expected shortly from the GAO detailing the extent of the problems at the Academy and the Admiral expects that the findings will not be flattering. He told the parents that these financial problems were responsible for his being the new superintendent. But he also made it clear that these past irregularities did not involve any personal gain by any individual. Some Congressmen are so upset with the Academy that the Admiral has had difficulty making appointments to see these legislators. On an upbeat note, the new Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood has met with Admiral Worley and was very enthusiastic about having the USMMA under his department and was anxious to form plans for future improvements at the Academy, especially plant improvements. As a former educator himself, Secretary LaHood is totally supportive of the Academy’s mission and the Admiral believes that the Secretary will be avid advocate for the Academy. Additional improvements such as dining and sports facilities will be sought in the next few years. Again, the Admiral is confident that Secretary LaHood will be a strong voice for the Academy and will fight for sorely needed budgetary dollars. Capital improvements – Admiral Worley stated that the pier is in terrible condition and supply trucks are no longer allowed to drive on it. Supplies and equipment must be hand trucked or carried to the vessels. It is a main priority to get the pier replaced by a concrete structure. Murphy Hall, one of the dorms, is currently under renovation, but is not expected to be completed by July, 2009 when the new plebe class of 2013 joins the Academy. As a result, students will have to triple up in rooms where there were normally two students. The rooms in the older dorms are being equipped with additional computer Ethernet connections, a difficult process in buildings made of concrete and block and constructed during World War II. It is hoped that the new dorms will be ready for the 2nd trimester in November 2009, thereby allowing students to spread out. The shortage of space will require that the incoming class be limited to about 272 plebes, smaller than the 307 that entered as the class of 2012. Setbacks – While setbacks have been allowed for many years for academic problems, Admiral Worley believes that setbacks should be reserved for students who were either sick or hurt during the semester and therefore unable to attend their classes. Although the Admiral did not state this directly, the parents were led to believe that very few setbacks would be granted in the future and that the result of academic failure of two subjects without overriding circumstances would be disenrollment. Class schedule changes – In order to fit an extra class period and lab period in the daily schedule, classes now begin at 7:45 a.m. Colors and lunch muster will continue as they always have. The school instruction day will end at 4:00 p.m. for everyone, thereby allowing all students to participate in athletics, since 70%+ of the mids play on some sports team. Studying time will be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Upperclassmen will be asked to keep sleep disruption activities to a minimum. Liberty – The administration is considering reducing the amount of liberty given to each class. For example, liberty for plebes would be limited to Sunday afternoons only. Also, generally, there would only be 5 liberties per semester. First, second and third classes would also see a reduction in their liberty as compared to what had been former practice. Of course, the first class would receive the most liberty, but the Admiral believes that the first class also has regimental responsibilities to the underclassmen and that their presence is needed on campus. Any change in liberty now being considered would be instituted in July, 2009. The Pub at Land Hall – The Admiral responded to a mid’s question regarding closing the Pub. The Admiral stated that every college struggles with the “alcohol problem” and that too many students at many institutions die or get hurt needlessly due to inappropriate use of alcohol. He believes that he has a responsibility to keep students as safe as possible. Since the Pub is a long standing tradition at the Academy, it will stay open, but with important changes. First classmen will now have to request in writing a date to open the Pub, for example for the Super bowl. The Admiral’s prescription for the consumption of alcohol is 0 0 1 3 – that is, no alcohol for underage students, no alcohol if a student is driving, 1 drink per hour for legal aged students and 3 drinks total per event for those students. Kegs will no longer be used at the Pub and drinks will be served in containers only. What parents can do for the Academy – Federal employees cannot directly solicit funds from Congress, but parents are free to write their congressmen to encourage representatives to help the Academy. Local representatives are especially aware of the economic contributions an institution with a $61 million budget has on the local economy. Issues the Admiral will look into as raised by the parents: • Questions about the health insurance covering the students while at the academy • Questions regarding the attitude and helpfulness of the staff handling sea year questions and arrangements and their interaction with parents and mids.