Response to Hazing

The editorial "No Place for Hazing," Dec. 10, inaccurately portrays what is acceptable behavior at the United States Naval Academy. It also contains a number of factual errors, particularly in reference to a specific incident, which I feel obligated to correct.

The editorial states that a handcuffing incident occurred in December 1990 when in fact it occurred in November 1989. The editorial further states that the female who was handcuffed to a urinal was a plebe, or freshman, at the academy, when in reality she was a second-year student.

After that extremely unfortunate incident occurred, academy leadership, without outside direction, convened a special commission to study a wide-range of issues affecting the assimilation of women into the Brigade of Midshipmen. A number of positive steps were also taken, including developing a system of ombudsmen, increasing the number of female officers assigned to the academy, beginning a program of academy-wide equal-opportunity training, and heightening institutional awareness and sensitivity.

The academy also commenced a review of all midshipmen training and orientation practices and policies. Any action that could be viewed as hazing or improper treatment of another human being is not tolerated. Upperclassmen are held accountable for their actions, and are trained in the precepts of positive leadership.

The academy remains committed to constant study, evaluation, and improvement of its educational and leadership development programs. As superintendent, I can state that we take very seriously our role in the development of young people who will someday lead the country. Hazing is not "character building" and has no role in the system of educational and personal development used at the United States Naval Academy. Rear Adm. T. C. Lynch, Annapolis, Md., Superintendent, United States Naval Academy Are welfare recipients worthy?

The editorial "Slashing Welfare," Dec. 30, which claims behavioral changes cannot be induced, is without foundation. Out-of- control welfare spending is testimony to how effective behavior modification really is. By rewarding irresponsible behavior, welfare mothers have been encouraged to have children and remain eligible for a host of benefits not otherwise available. Howard L. Naslund, Annapolis, Md.

Regarding the Opinion page article "Myth of the Welfare Queen," Dec. 3: Sure, there are a few people who take advantage of the welfare system, but look at all the good things the system provides for the unemployed and desperately poor. The welfare system needs to be improved, but not by cutting benefits to citizens who already have very little. Michael B. Sheirik, Soledad, Calif.

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