Superintendent holds third State of USAFA Address, discusses sexual assault and challenges on campus

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The U.S Air Force Academy held its third annual State of the Academy Address Wednesday.

“In the late 70s it was about 10 percent. The incoming classes of 20 and 21 are almost 30 percent women,” said Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, Superintendent of the AFA.

Johnson recognized a number of cadets for accomplishments, with COL. John Price, acting-commandant of cadets, spoke on their now popular remote piloted aircraft programs, which 250 cadets will be enrolled in this year.

“The interest level is starting to increase and we’re just trying to that as we’re good customers for our Air Force, that we channel each of our cadets to fill the needs of the Air Force. And in the end, that’s our charter. They may want to do different things, but in the end they know that the Air Force is going to take them, train them and out them in a meaningful career, wherever that may be,” Price said.

The academy’s 53-year-old Cadet Chapel will close for four years starting in 2018.

It’s in need of renovations set to cost $68 million.

The Academy is now also being looked at as a leader when it comes to sexual assault reporting.

Last year there were 32 reports of sexual assault, down from 49 the year before.

“Thirty-eight percent of our reports last year were of things that happened before they got here. So, it makes our number look high, but really it’s not about those numbers, it’s about what’s really going on in the culture that we’re trying to get at,” Johnson said.

One of the other topics the Johnson addressed included increasing their football attendance.

She says it’s something many college campuses have been struggling with.

After seeing a 10-year decline at their games, they were able to increase their attendance from 22,000 a year to now 29,000 in the last two years.

“We’re working really hard right now on a new locker room, which is also going to include the footings for phase four, which will be an important club seating and recruiting area in the north end zone. And I think all those things together are helping us bring people back,” said Jim Knowlton, director of athletics at the AFA.

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