Academy demands that Alumni Association immediately vacate premises; court orders parties to work out details by end of business of Friday, May 10th.
The eviction of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association has been affirmed by a Long Island federal court. Jim Forde ‘88, Esq., AAF Board of Directors, said in a prepared statement today, “We regret to inform everyone that the court denied our motion for an injunction.” He also said that, after the ruling, the Academy demanded that the Alumni Association immediately vacate the grounds.
Academy officials say the case is simple. They need the property to adapt it to use as classrooms. The court however, has ordered that the parties have until Friday, May 10th to work out some sort of reasonable time frame to move out. Forde also told Marinelink, “We are weighing all options.” Last week, the AAF had been granted a temporary stay of eviction, but that ended with today’s ruling.
The episode is just one of many controversies that have engulfed the nation’s only federal maritime academy over the past five years, during which one superintendent after another has been dismissed by U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. During the same time frame, the long-time academy continuing education group, the Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS), was also shut down.
The latest chapter leaves maritime stakeholders wondering about the future of the school, despite lip service from Marad and DOT officials who claim to fully support its mission and want to improve its infrastructure. Kings Point alumni are represented in virtually every sector and at the highest levels of the domestic and international maritime industries. Collectively, they form a powerful lobby when they can agree on a common goal. Industry stakeholders will be watching closely to see if the AAF’s eviction gets their attention, and if so, what if anything can be done to reverse the course in which the academy seems to be heading.