Military Academy:

Gender and Racial Disparities

NSIAD-94-95: Published: Mar 17, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the treatment of women and minorities at the U.S. Military Academy, focusing on: (1) differences in performance and experience between men and women and whites and minorities; (2) perceptions of the fairness of the treatment that female and minority cadets receive; and (3) actions the Academy has taken to enhance the success of women and minorities at the Academy.

GAO found that: (1) women fare better than men in admission offers and physical education grades; (2) men fare better than women in attrition rates and selection for top cadet leadership positions; (3) although women cadets are reviewed more frequently for honor code violations and for failure to meet academic standards, women are recommended for separation at lower rates than men; (4) although minorities are offered admission at higher rates than whites, they have lower academic predictor scores and lower academic, physical education, and military grades; (5) more minorities are reviewed for serious failure to meet academic standards, and fewer minorities graduate in the top quarter of their classes; (6) minorities are reviewed for honor code violations and are recommended for separation at higher rates than whites; (7) the majority of cadets, staff, and faculty believe that, in general, women and minorities receive the same treatment as men and whites; (8) some male cadets believe that women receive favored treatment; and (9) the Academy has taken action to establish an atmosphere where all cadets are encouraged and able to perform at their best by increasing the awareness of racial and sex discrimination at the Academy, and changing the curriculum.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Military Academy's Office of Policy, Planning, and Analysis is overseeing the design and implementation of the data collection systems. That same office will annually conduct analyses of honor, conduct, and academic board proceedings and will report the results to the Superintendent.

    Recommendation: As part of the Military Academy's efforts to ensure fair and equal treatment of all cadets and to improve efforts to monitor gender and racial disparities, the Superintendent of the Academy should develop data systems that will permit the routine analysis of the honor, conduct, and academic board systems at the Academy for gender and race differences.

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

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Beginning this academic year (1994-1995), the Military Academy will monitor and compare performance data for all groups designated in the DOD Equal Opportunity Program. Reports will be reviewed and evaluated at least annually by the Academy's Office of Policy, Planning, and Analysis. As trends are identified, that office will recommend criteria for determining when performance differences warrant further study or command action.

    Recommendation: As part of the Military Academy's efforts to ensure fair and equal treatment of all cadets and to improve efforts to monitor gender and racial disparities, the Superintendent of the Academy should routinely monitor and compare performance indicators for all groups designated in the Department of Defense's Equal Opportunity Program and establish criteria for assessing when disparities warrant more in-depth attention and corrective action.

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

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Military Academy will document its decisions concerning recommendations offered by external oversight and review groups. For recommendations that are adopted, procedures are now in place to evaluate the effectiveness of implementation and determine if intended outcomes are being achieved.

    Recommendation: As part of the Military Academy's efforts to ensure fair and equal treatment of all cadets and to improve efforts to monitor gender and racial disparities, the Superintendent of the Academy should establish a system to effectively monitor and document the actions taken in response to the recommendations of oversight and review groups.

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

 

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