Former Coast Guard Academy Professor Resigns from College Amid Investigation Linked to Sexual Harassment Scandal

United States Coast Guard Academy
United States Coast Guard Academy. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

DUDLEY, Mass. — A former Coast Guard Academy professor whose tenure coincided with a sexual harassment scandal has resigned as president of Nichols College in Massachusetts.

Glenn Sulmasy stepped down Tuesday amid an investigation initiated by the private, four-year college after accusations from Sulmasy's time at the academy came to light.

“In light of these reports and facts uncovered to date during our ongoing investigation, and their impact on President Sulmasy’s ability to lead Nichols College, the board strongly believes the institution’s best interest is to pursue new leadership,” the college said.

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Neither Sulmasy nor his attorney immediately returned messages seeking comment Wednesday.

The Coast Guard in June apologized for failing to take “appropriate action” years earlier when accusations of sexual assault and harassment surfaced at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

An investigation dubbed “Operation Fouled Anchor” identified 62 substantiated incidents of sexual assault and harassment.

The internal Coast Guard investigation was first reported by CNN, which later reported that a performance evaluation during Sulmasy's time at the academy cited inappropriate communications with cadets and subordinates. CNN reported that the Coast Guard considered charging him with conduct unbecoming of an officer.

The Coast Guard said Wednesday in a statement that legal constraints prevent it from commenting on personnel matters related to Sulmasy. But the Coast Guard urged anyone who experienced or observed assault or harassment to report to their command or to the Coast Guard Investigative Service.

"The Coast Guard remains dedicated to supporting and addressing the needs of victims, improving access to justice, holding offenders accountable, and ensuring a coordinated response to sexual assault and harassment," the Coast Guard said.

Sulmasy served as a law professor and leader of the department of humanities before retiring from the Coast Guard Academy in 2015 with a rank of captain. He later served as provost and chief academic officer at Bryant University in Rhode Island before joining Nichols in 2021.

Nichols hired an outside law firm, Clifford & Kenny LLP, to conduct an independent investigation that hasn't yet been completed. A college spokesperson declined to comment further.

The Coast Guard in July ordered a 90-day review of of its policies, culture and practices to ensure the safety and well-being of its members. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan told Congress that she learned about the investigations into sexual assault and harassment at the Coast Guard Academy from Freedom of Information Act requests by CNN and the outlet's subsequent reporting.

According to Fagan, the "Accountability Transparency Review" will examine all federal laws, Coast Guard policies, processes, practices, resources and culture that address sexual assault and harassment. The review is expected to produce recommendations for improvement. The Coast Guard's findings are expected by the end of October.

-- reporter Patricia Kime contributed to this story.

Related: Federal Legislation Proposed to Protect Coast Guard Academy Cadets Who File Sexual Assault Reports

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