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New Report Details Anti-LGBTQ+ Harassment Onboard California's Elite Training Ship

New Report Details Anti-LGBTQ+ Harassment Onboard California's Elite Training Ship

New Report Cites Sexual Assaults, Harassment, Anti-LGBTQ+ Slurs Onboard California’s Elite Training Vessel

The CSU Maritime Academy is accused of mishandling multiple sexual misconduct incidents on its Golden Bear training vessel.

The California State University Maritime Academy reportedly mishandled reports of sexual assaults and harassment against women, gays, and trans people onboard its training vessel, Golden Bear.

The allegations cited in a new report by the LA Times found two rapes in 2019 and an additional sexual assault in 2022. The report also noted allegations the ship’s captain sexually harassed and made disparaging remarks about women and used the slur “fags” to describe gay men. An open letter from a student captain to the rest of the cadets compared transgender people to castrated dogs, and another cadet used a messaging app to reveal he wanted to kill a transgender second mate.

Cal Maritime admitted that many of these incidents were not reported to federal authorities as apparently required by its charter. Cal Maritime disputed the assertion that all of the incidents were subject to federal review, though, saying instead “It took appropriate action in each and every one of these incidents.”

Many of the cadets who spoke to the Times said they were unaware of federal reporting requirements for their incidents.

The Golden Bear is a former but fully operative naval vessel used to train cadets in how to navigate and operate the ship at sea. The vessel runs with a crew of around 300 cadets on nine decks and makes months-long cruises. The ship also has classrooms, a gym, a lounge, and a gym for use by the cadets.

One cadet said she was raped twice by the same man while she was a cadet living onboard the Golden Bear. Rather than report the incidents to federal authorities, a hearing was conducted internally which found no violation of CSU policy.

Another cadet reported she was partially disrobed by a male cadet who then groped her exposed body against her will last year. The case is reportedly still under investigation. The same cadet also alleged she was raped by a male cadet in the dorms on land. In both incidents, the accused claimed the sex acts were consensual, although the woman said her attacker in the second incident is no longer in school.

There were also multiple reports against Capt. Louis Solana. He was accused of staring at women’s breasts openly in public, singing a sexually suggestive and inappropriate song during karaoke, and making disparaging comments about members of the LGBTQ+ community. Solana responded to the accusations with an 18-page rebuttal last October, denying any wrongdoing.

“It makes it seem like they want to carry on as if nothing happened,” the cadet told the Times.

Another cadet used a messaging app to say he wanted to kill Second Mate Elizabeth Neumyer because she is transgender. The incident was investigated by campus police who said they found no violation of the law.

“They didn’t do anything to assuage anyone’s fears,” said Neumyer.

The cadet was later kicked off the vessel for violation of the ship’s rules.

Officials at Cal Maritime responded with an open letter to cadets on its website, admitting the report “may be both disturbing and potentially triggering” to cadets.

“Now more than ever, it is important to clarify and emphasize that we condemn the actions of those who have corrupted our campus environments that were intended to be spaces of safety, empowerment, and growth,” Cal Maritime said in the letter.

The letter also claimed Cal Maritime seeks to foster a safe and inclusive environment for all its cadets.

“We are dedicated to advocating for broader institutional changes to create a culture of consent,” the letter added. “The most vulnerable portions of our campus community must have the resources for social, health, and general well-being to assist them regardless of whether or not they choose to report. We are committed to teaching consent holistically and encourage bystander interventions while actively standing against the victim-blaming and shaming that is still all too common.”

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