After a lawsuit settlement between a midshipman facing expulsion and the head of the Naval Academy, he graduated Friday as a member of the Class of 2021.
It is unclear if Chase Standage, who was listed as a member of the 14th company, commissioned. The graduation program did differentiate between graduating and commissioning midshipmen. But Standage did walk on the stage after his name was called to accept his diploma and shake Vice President Kamala Harris’ hand.
Of the 1,084 graduates, nine are not commissioning, according to the Naval Academy. An additional two midshipmen will have a delayed commissioning. A midshipman may graduate but not commission for various reasons, including being medically unfit to serve in the military.
The Naval Academy did not comment on Standage’s status. His attorney Jeffrey McFadden did not return a call for comment.
Standage, who majored in aerospace engineering, was also listed in the program as one of the members of the Voluntary Graduate Education Program Scholars.
Following the settlement in February, Standage’s status at the Naval Academy was unclear. He had completed all of his educational work and was attending graduate school at the University of Maryland through the Voluntary Graduate Education Program at the time. He was told he would not receive a service assignment when his classmates did in November.
Standage’s ability to attend graduate school, starting in spring 2021, was in jeopardy if he was separated from the Naval Academy, according to his lawsuit against Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck and Kenneth Braithwaite, who was serving as secretary of the Navy at the time of the lawsuit.
Standage sued Buck and Braithwaite in order to block his separation in September after the academy moved to expel him for a series of 40 tweets from June that academy leadership criticized as inappropriate and, in some cases, racist. His lawsuit claimed Buck and Braithwaite violated his First and Fifth Amendment rights.
Standage’s tweets, which were all responses to other tweets, included saying Breonna Taylor “received justice” when she was killed by police and that “it only takes one drone strike” when responding to a tweet about antifa.
Federal Judge Ellen Hollander initially denied the case in December because Standage had not exhausted all of his administrative options. Once Braithwaite decided to separate Standage in January, the midshipman reopened his case.
Prior to the settlement, Standage had appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
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