Navy professor reassigned, then reinstated after criticizing Academy

Feature | April 22, 1996

Navy professor reassigned, then reinstated after criticizing Academy


MARYLAND--A U.S. Naval Academy professor who was removed from his classroom in early April after writing an opinion column critical of the Academy for the Washington Post, was permitted to return to the classroom after four days and much controversy. The March 31 article criticized the Naval Academy as an "ethically corrupting system."

The author, Professor James Barry, is a civilian who has taught at the Academy for seven years. The day after his article appeared, an academy spokesman stated that Barry was reassigned outside of the classroom to "a project that will recommend solutions to the problems he cited..." according to the Washington Post.

Four days later, the Naval Academy restored Barry to his teaching post. Officials contended that the reassignment had not been a punishment for speaking out, but rather was meant to give Barry the opportunity to address the problems that he outlined in his piece.

In the Post article, Barry discussed many recent scandals affecting the Academy, including the 1992-93 cheating scandal. He wrote that students at the Academy "become immersed in an ethically corrupting system - one so powerful that, by the start of their second year, most of them are confirmed cynic who routinely violate regulations about clothing, driving, alcohol and sex, plus any other rules they consider superfluous."