2 Coast Guard Academy cadets punished for racial harassment

NEW LONDON, Conn. — Two white cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy have been punished for harassing a black classmate, a school spokesman said.

The commandant of cadets at the academy in New London ruled at a hearing Thursday that the cadets violated regulations and ordered discipline including demerits and marching tours, spokesman David Santos said Friday.

The Oct. 26 episode began when one of the cadets played a song associated with Southern pride in the black cadet's room, according to the academy. The black cadet said he thought the song was racist, left to talk with a peer counselor, and later returned to find the background screen on his computer had been changed to show the Mississippi state flag, which includes the Confederate battle flag.

His roommate told him it was only a joke, the academy said.

An investigator in December recommended the students be charged with violations of the Regulations of the Corps of Cadets. Investigators said they committed harassment by creating an offensive environment on the basis of race.

"This case illustrates the Academy's commitment to ensure that cadets here understand how their actions can affect others, and shows how important it is for them as future leaders to embody the service's core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty," Santos said.

The cadets were not named, and further details on the punishments were not provided.

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