Cummings and Thompson Request Interviews in Investigation of Coast Guard Academy’s Handling of Harassment Allegations

Aug 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Aug. 19, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to Coast Guard Admiral Karl L. Schultz requesting transcribed interviews with Dr. Kurt Colella, Dean of Academics at the Coast Guard Academy, and Rear Admiral Anthony J. Vogt, Commander of the Thirteenth Coast Guard District, regarding the handling of complaints of harassment and retaliation at the Coast Guard Academy as well as the Academy’s responses to disparities identified in the Equity Scorecard review.

“We are deeply troubled by what appear to be repeated efforts by the Coast Guard to impede our investigation of the handling of allegations of harassment and retaliation at the Coast Guard Academy,” Cummings and Thompson wrote.

The Committees first requested documents regarding the Coast Guard Academy’s handling of complaints of harassment and retaliation on June 13, 2018.

Since then, the investigation has been repeatedly delayed by the Coast Guard’s lack of transparency, including providing the Committees with heavily redacted documents.

On August 14, 2019, Oversight and Homeland Committee staffs, together with staff from the Office of Congressman Joe Courtney, met with officials from the Coast Guard Academy.

Coast Guard officials indicated that pursuant to Admiral Schultz’s orders, all of the Coast Guard personnel who were present at the meeting were directed to refuse to answer any questions regarding any past events at the Academy involving faculty or cadets, including any questions pertaining to the Inspector General’s report or to any document produced by the Coast Guard to the Committee. 

When asked if the officials present were prepared to answer questions about the past, a Coast Guard official stated, “We are not.”  Another official stated, “We’re happy to talk about the process as it exists today.  We’re not willing to go backwards.”

The Chairmen requested the interviews by September 18, 2019.  

Click here to read today’s letter to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

116th Congress