DOD Service Academies:

More Actions Needed to Eliminate Sexual Harassment

NSIAD-94-6: Published: Jan 31, 1994. Publicly Released: Feb 4, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed sexual harassment at the three military service academies, focusing on the: (1) frequency of sexual harassment incidents, the various forms of sexual harassment, and its effects on the victims; and (2) academies' efforts to eradicate sexual harassment.

GAO found that: (1) the academies have not met the Department of Defense's (DOD) goal of providing a sexual harassment-free environment; (2) one-half to three-quarters of the academy women surveyed have experienced at least one form of harassment at least twice a month; (3) the majority of academy men surveyed have never experienced any form of harassment; (4) academy staff and faculty do not perceive sexual harassment as a problem; (5) 95 percent of the academy women surveyed experienced at least one form of sexual harassment during academic year 1991, but only 26 cases were formally reported; (6) academy students have informal and formal procedures for reporting harassment incidents and perceive favorable and unfavorable consequences of reporting harassment; (7) students experiencing a high degree of sexual harassment also have higher stress levels and a lesser desire to pursue a military career; (8) the academies have generally complied with the DOD requirements for sexual harassment eradication programs, but their inspector general reviews have failed to emphasize sexual harassment prevention and education; (9) none of the academies have developed data to assess the effectiveness of their sexual harassment eradication programs and two of the academies have not conducted routine systematic program evaluations; and (10) there are several sexual harassment eradication programs at other institutions that could be effective at the academies.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force Academy has put in place a process for reviewing the sexual harassment climate on a periodic basis.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should gather and analyze data, through routine reviews of case files, student surveys, and focus groups, on the extent of reported and unreported incidents of sexual harassment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Naval Academy has put in place a process for reviewing the sexual harassment climate on a periodic basis.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should gather and analyze data, through routine reviews of case files, student surveys, and focus groups, on the extent of reported and unreported incidents of sexual harassment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Military Academy has put in place a process for reviewing the sexual harassment climate on a periodic basis.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should gather and analyze data, through routine reviews of case files, student surveys, and focus groups, on the extent of reported and unreported incidents of sexual harassment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force Academy has put in place a process to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its program to eliminate sexual harassment.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should evaluate, on a systematic basis, the effectiveness of sexual harassment eradication programs on the basis of such data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Naval Academy has put in place a process to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its program to eliminate sexual harassment.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should evaluate, on a systematic basis, the effectiveness of sexual harassment eradication programs on the basis of such data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Military Academy has put in place a process to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its program to eliminate sexual harassment.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should evaluate, on a systematic basis, the effectiveness of sexual harassment eradication programs on the basis of such data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Alternative additional methods for dealing with and eradicating sexual harassment have been added as an agenda item for the annual superintendents' conference.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should, if the eradication programs do not prove to be effective, institute and evaluate new approaches to work toward eradicating sexual harassment. These approaches may include expanding the explanation of behaviors that could constitute sexual harassment, issuing sexual harassment pamphlets or brochures, offering lower risk confrontation options, and varying the methods and content of training.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Alternative additional methods for dealing with and eradicating sexual harassment have been added as an agenda item for the annual superintendents' conference.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should, if the eradication programs do not prove to be effective, institute and evaluate new approaches to work toward eradicating sexual harassment. These approaches may include expanding the explanation of behaviors that could constitute sexual harassment, issuing sexual harassment pamphlets or brochures, offering lower risk confrontation options, and varying the methods and content of training.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Alternative additional methods for dealing with and eradicating sexual harassment have been added as an agenda item for the annual superintendents' conference.

    Recommendation: To better achieve the DOD goal of a sexual harassment-free environment, the academy superintendents should, if the eradication programs do not prove to be effective, institute and evaluate new approaches to work toward eradicating sexual harassment. These approaches may include expanding the explanation of behaviors that could constitute sexual harassment, issuing sexual harassment pamphlets or brochures, offering lower risk confrontation options, and varying the methods and content of training.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

 

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