The Naval Academy Takes Sexual-Harassment Charges Seriously

Regarding the front-page article "Sexual Harassment Scandal Rocks US Navy Into Reform," June 18: In most stories dealing with the Tailhook Convention and the ensuing Navy reforms, the Naval Academy's urinal-chaining incident is added to the list of sins. That's accurate: what happened in the aftermath of Gwen Dreyer's May 1990 resignation was a watershed for the academy much as Tailhook is, as Lt. Mary Hanson said, a watershed for the Navy.

What is not accurate is the author's lumping the academy's sexual harassment problems in with the "string of sexual harassment incidents in recent months." Gwen Dreyer was humiliated in December 1989, more than two and a half years ago. In those two and half years, progress has been made.

I hope that the academy will not be linked carelessly forever to other sexual harassment incidents or that if it is, the linking be done accurately and fairly. From my limited perspective as a former academy spokeswoman - the bulk of my two-year tenure was during the Dreyer crisis - the academy looks to be a better place now for both women and men.

The Navy and the Naval Academy seem to be taking the sexual-harassment issues seriously; "zero tolerance" really means something in the military. But training, lectures, and fitness reports are only a small part of the larger picture.

What would improve conditions for women most rapidly is lifting gender-based restrictions on service - lift the restriction limiting the female population of the academy to 10 percent, for example. Even more important, allow women to compete for top jobs in what have been exclusively men's arenas, and may the best person win. Carol Mason Feldmann, Annapolis, Md. Free trade vs. protectionism

Regarding the editorial "Japan's Trade Charges," June 12: It is good to see that the Monitor supports efforts to move toward freer trade. Free trade is vital to the economic health of the United States, and the entire world. When the US erects trade barriers - whether they are tariffs, quotas, or "voluntary" export restrictions that other countries are coerced into accepting - we can only hurt ourselves. Protectionists point to the jobs "saved" in a particular industry when it is protected by trade barr iers. They never mention that economic research has consistently shown that we lose a minimum of 3 to 4 jobs in other industries for each job saved.

In 1930 Congress enacted the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, touching off a worldwide trade war. While protectionist policies were not the sole cause of the Great Depression, they contributed greatly to its length and severity.

Now, corporate socialists like Lee Iacocca and would-be president Ross Perot want to lead us back down the destructive path of protectionism. Mark Wylie, Los Angeles Congressional reform

In the Opinion page article by Rep. Joel Hefley (R) of Colorado, "What Congress Needs Is Real Reform," June 2, he implies that a balanced Congress, or one where the Republicans are in control, would result in true reform. Mr. Hefley could have presented a better argument by steering clear of partisan politics. Members on both sides of the aisle contribute to the lack of constructive and decent behavior.

Representatives have compromised values of decency to special interest groups for much too long. Removal of lobbyists would remove an unjust and unfair pressure on the legislators. John Q. Citizen expresses his opinions by writing to his Representative; so should lobbyists. George P. LaMarsh, Guilford, Conn.

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