"The investigation concluded and determined that Professor Fleming should return to his normal teaching duties Wednesday, September 18," said Cmdr. John Schofield, a spokesman for the academy. "Professor Fleming deserved an expectation of privacy and a fundamental presumption of innocence in this matter, as do all midshipmen, staff and faculty at USNA who may be subject to any investigation."(11 a.m.)—A U.S. Naval Academy professor is under investigation by officials after two midshipmen filed formal complaints against him for comments made in class about the academy's recent stance on sexual assault prevention.
English professor Bruce Fleming, who has been employed at the academy for nearly 30 years, was removed from the classroom this week while officials conduct an investigation into the allegations.
Naval Academy officials declined to discuss details about the investigation.
However, Fleming told Patch the dispute came after an open discussion he had with students before a lesson began. It ended with two women filing complaints with the Naval Academy's newly implemented Sexual Assault Prevention Response program (SAPR).
"Their real issues were clearly that I had roundly criticized the Naval Academy's disastrous implementation of the disastrous SAPR program," he said.
The complaints also mention that Fleming's class reviewed a poem "Kong Looks Back on His Tryout With the Bears," in which King Kong is portrayed as a failed football player. The poem also has mild sexual themes. It can be read in full here.
Fleming disputes that he drew any lines of comparison between the King Kong in the poem and three male football players recently embroiled in an Article 32 hearing that made national news over sexual assault allegations.
The three midshipmen are currently awaiting the results of the hearing, which could end in a court-martial.
In an opinion piece written by Fleming after the incident, he criticizes the SAPR's consistent usage of the word "victim" relating to the sexual assault allegations of the recent Article 32 hearing. That term "villainizes alleged perpetrators," Fleming said.
"Apparently 'justice' here means certain conviction and the assumption seems to be that an alleged victim is a victim, pure and simple," Fleming wrote.
Fleming said he hopes to hear the results of the investigation Tuesday, and expects to return to class by Wednesday.
In 2011, the Naval Academy agreed to a settlement with Fleming after a court found they illegally denied him a merit pay raise in retaliation for his criticism of affirmative action, The Chronicle reported.
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