Speaking on a Zoom call, Leo announced that she was "discussing strengthening the Corps, promoting antiracist admissions practices at the United States Naval Academy by moving to a test of optional admissions criteria."
At this moment in our history we must as ourselves 'can we do better? And what "can we do as a leading institution of naval service to promote antiracism policies in our admissions practices.'
"At this moment in history, our institution, like all institutions across the country, should be begging themselves this question: How can we do it better?
"How can we turn this sea of white faces and white uniforms into something that looks more like this?" She asked, conferring a picture of a group of Navy servicemen and women in uniform, and then a picture of black servicemen and women. Notwithstanding the photo which Leo seems to think is dispositive, "African-Americans account for nearly 25% of all enlisted Army soldiers while making up just 13% of the population."
"We need to do better," Leo said, displaying a slide of the suggested change, which acknowledges "the presence of systemic racism in our country" and states that "we are committed [to] an antiracist admission policy that supports and rewards academic excellence, leadership, and diversity."
Leo suggests pulling the standardized test scores from the admissions policy. This idea has been introduced across higher education, as educators and administrators understand that Asian students are admitted at higher rates due to disproportionately meeting rigorous admissions standards. Their answer to getting more non-Asians into their programs has been to raise or lower standards completely.
Leo declared that the use of standardized test scores as part of admissions standards impacts students of color negatively.
In the maintenance of her new plan, she cited President Teddy Roosevelt saying "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
"The time now is to do that here," she stated, "to move the United States Naval Academy from this sea of white," showing the photo of sailors in uniform again, "to what it can and has the promise of becoming.
"We've done it before," she said, "and we can do it again."
The history of African Americans fighting in the US Armed Forces has long been a fraught one. African Americans volunteered to fight in World War 2 for the same reasons as other American young men, yet also, PBS reports, to prove that they deserved greater rights at home. Their enlistment rate was high, as was their passion to serve on the front lines. Though military leaders thought that African-Americans did not have the physical, mental or moral character to withstand warfare...