Naval Academy's female hair regulations will follow new Navy guidelines

Danielle Ohl
Contact Reporterdohl@capgaznews.com

The Naval Academy has implemented the same rules governing female hair as the Navy, the academy announced Tuesday.

At a Board of Visitors meeting, Capt. Rob Chadwick, commandant of midshipmen, said the Naval Academy will follow the new guidelines.

The Navy in July changed rules governing female sailors’ hair, allowing for ponytails, locks and other hairstyles that extend below the shirt collar. Previously, rules required female midshipmen to keep their hair above the collar when in uniform.

“Free-hanging” ponytails and braids up to three inches below the collar are now acceptable in the Navy. It has also expanded size regulations for buns and allowed locks as long as they are uniform with a straight part. Women can now wear their hair down with dinner dress uniforms.

The expanded rules promote inclusivity; previous rules were restrictive especially for black female sailors, who could not easily wear their natural hair.

After reviewing the new Navy rules, the academy did add one additional restriction: ponytail hairstyles cannot extend beyond the width of the back of the head.

The Naval Academy is still reviewing rules for female plebes, Chadwick said. Each new female midshipman is required to get a short, chin-length haircut on induction day.

The updated rules are in effect for the new school year, Chadwick told the board, who convened in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress.

Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter provided the board with updates on this year’s commissioning, alumni serving as astronauts and the Sioux City commissioning, to take place in November.

Carter presented the academy’s first formal aptitude assessment, a structured review of each midshipman’s leadership skills, character, professionalism, ability to work in a team and judgement.

“This is a major game changer,” Carter said, and will significantly revamp the academy’s honor system.

The academy reviewed how the system previously gauged a midshipman’s aptitude before commissioning and found it lacked standardization across the brigade, failed to identify struggling midshipmen early on and didn’t provide feedback.

Previously, the academy might find a first class midshipman has “insufficient aptitude” in his second semester.

“I didn’t find that to be the right time to be finding out someone was not ready to be commissioned,” Carter said.

Now, the company officer will conduct a yearly midshipman development report to assess how the student is developing and whether he or she is on track to be commissioned.

The academy piloted the system in spring 2018 and will implement it brigade-wide this fall.

Carter also updated the board on ongoing construction and renovations. Construction of Hopper Hall, the academy’s new cybersecurity building, is ongoing. The academy will also expand Ricketts Hall with a $25 million Physical Mission Center, complete with exhibit space, a theater, auditorium and sports performance and rehabilitation center.

The Chapel dome and exterior will also undergo some renovation this fall, Carter said.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
69°