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Nooses left for officer, black Coast Guard cadet

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Nooses were left in a black Coast Guard cadet's bag and in the office of a white officer who conducted race relations training after the incident, leading a congressman to call yesterday for a thorough military investigation.

A Coast Guard probe was unable to determine who left the nooses, said Chief Warrant Officer David M. French, a spokesman for the Coast Guard Academy.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and chairman of the House subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation, yesterday urged Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen to address the full academy, and he asked for a more intensive probe.

"Racial discrimination and intolerance have no place in either the Academy or the Coast Guard, and these incidents run directly against the efforts being made to increase diversity throughout the Coast Guard," Cummings said in a statement.

Rear Admiral J. Scott Burhoe, the academy's superintendent, said he had ordered the Coast Guard Investigative Service to look further into these "heinous acts."

"As an American institution, we have an obligation to send a clear message that these actions are in no way acceptable," Burhoe said in a statement. "Symbols such as those reported go against everything our Coast Guard is all about. We pride ourselves in being one of the most inclusive institutions of higher learning."

He said that if the person or people who planted the nooses are caught, the academy will "pursue appropriate action, including possible proceedings under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

A task force found that minorities constituted 13.5 percent of the Coast Guard's student body, compared with 16 percent in 1991, Cummings said.

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