Merchant Marine midshipmen warn of ‘wokeness’ in the academy: ‘We’re no longer focused on excellence’

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Several former and current midshipmen at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) are sounding the alarm over “woke” ideology seeping into the academy and impacting their education. 

One anonymous midshipman told Fox News Digital it’s unfortunate that the academy has become politicized and the situation only seems to be “getting worse.” “It’s almost like we’re the last frontier for woke ideology,” he said. 

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts blamed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for the direction of the academy, saying Sunday on “Fox & Friends,” Buttigieg is the “secretary of wokeness.” 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is once again in the national spotlight over his delay in visiting the site of a train derailment in Ohio.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is once again in the national spotlight over his delay in visiting the site of a train derailment in Ohio. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The USMMA is under the Department of Transportation and educates leaders “who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States,” according to its website.

Roberts said Buttigieg is under a lot of pressure because of his “political incompetence,” but was confident the direction of the USMMA could change for the better. 

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“It’s really important to get to the heart of the solution that we put more political pressure on him for the wokeness at the Merchant Marine Academy. And I actually think that we ought to have a lot of optimism that we can reverse course there. Ultimately, though, this is such a widespread problem. As you know, we also have to be thinking about other institutions where our kids and grandkids need to attend,” he told co-host Pete Hegseth.

Sailors from the Merchant Marine Academy during the National Anthem before the Arizona Diamondbacks Vs New York Mets regular season MLB game at Citi Field on Aug. 23, 2017, in New York City.

Sailors from the Merchant Marine Academy during the National Anthem before the Arizona Diamondbacks Vs New York Mets regular season MLB game at Citi Field on Aug. 23, 2017, in New York City. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

In a statement, the USMMA said it “takes pride in establishing a campus that reflects our nation’s values of excellence, service and honor and that ensure mutual respect for all.” 

Roberts said the statement showed “gigantic” red flags. “When you see phrases like ‘mutual respect for all’ or multiculturalism, those are gigantic red flags into which the secretary of transportation, the superintendent of that particular academy, have inserted the icons of the regime, the rainbow flag and all the LGBTQ nonsense,” he explained. 

“That obviously means we’re no longer focused on excellence. We have put wokeness ahead of excellence, and that’s precisely the kind of thing that we have to fight.”

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Merchant marines salute each other as they walk to class at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, on Aug. 1, 2016.

Merchant marines salute each other as they walk to class at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, on Aug. 1, 2016. (Yana Paskova/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Heritage Foundation president recommended several colleges for young adults who don’t want a “woke” education. The top five are Grove City College, Hillsdale College, St. John’s University, University of Dallas and Wyoming Catholic College. 

“I would point everyone to the website of our friends at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which every year does a review of all of the campuses, all of the colleges in the country, and they rate them according to their teaching of civics, American history and American values. And there are a couple [of] dozen schools on that list, some that are pretty well-known, like Baylor in Texas,” he added. 

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Roberts said he would encourage Americans to “give up on those institutions that have given up on America.” “Let’s go lean into places like Hillsdale, Dallas, Wyoming, Catholic College, where, as you know, I had the privilege of serving as president. And let’s build those and expand that list. And if we do that, then we will grow out of this de-spiritedness, and in 10- 20 years, wake up and realize we’ve taken back this great republic.”

Fox News’ Jon Brown contributed to this report

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