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Letter: Politics wrecking Marine Academy

Seven people have been appointed to an advisory

Seven people have been appointed to an advisory board that will be examining instruction and management at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. (Feb. 22, 2012) Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point's eviction of the Alumni Association and Foundation ["Alumni group forced to leave," News, May 10] is an abject insult and affront to all alumni, students, parents and supporters of the academy.

The aggressive dismissal of an organization whose sole purpose is the independent support of the academy and its midshipmen -- including the millions of private dollars raised in support of the academy -- should not be misconstrued as merely an issue of space planning or rental charges, as stated by the administration.

The academy and its newly appointed superintendent, James Helis, have acted under the ultimate direction of outgoing U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in removing an organization that has been outspoken in its support for the academy and its mission, even when it entails criticism over Washington's actions when it believes those decisions adversely affect the academy. Such was the case with the dismissal of former Superintendent Admiral Philip Greene, a Kings Point graduate.

With four academy superintendents in the past five years, one can get a sense of how ineffectively Washington has managed this venerable institution. It is my hope that our federal elected officials will step in and right this wrong by mediating this dispute.

John D. Cameron Jr., Rockville Centre

Editor's note: The writer is a graduate from the class of 1971.