WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has concluded that sexual harassment and assault and other misconduct at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy are so serious the school needs to hire a team of outside experts to address the campus culture, officials said this week.

Leaders of the federal service school outside New York City also are enlisting the help of Vice President Joe Biden’s office, which is leading a nationwide public awareness campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses.

Foxx’s announcement means the four-year academy’s training year at sea for midshipmen on commercial ships, a marquee program the Obama administration canceled this summer amid concerns about sexual misconduct, will be on hold indefinitely – and some students may not graduate on time.

Here’s the full, no-holds-barred statement from DOT spokesman Michael Novak on Foxx’s thinking: “Secretary Foxx issued a halt to the Sea Year program for Midshipmen at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) after incidents of bullying, coercion, sexual harassment and assault continued despite consistent efforts by the Department of Transportation, the Maritime Administration, and the (school) to address these issues. While the Sea Year program has partially resumed, the more we dug into the problem, the more evident it became that the inappropriate behaviors we are trying to stem at sea cannot be addressed without addressing the campus culture. The Secretary is interested in a transformational change at the Academy; one that creates a culture that protects these young women and men and ensures respect for everyone. By bringing in outside experts experienced in examining and assessing an organization and its culture to look at the Academy, he intends to find a way forward to correct these serious issues.”

The small academy at Kings Point on Long Island Sound, the least-known of the five federal service schools, has the highest rate of sexual assault and harassment, federal data show.

While Kings Point received just one report of sexual assault in the 2014-2015 academic year, government surveys show 63 percent of women and 11 percent of men experienced unwanted advances or other sexual harassment, either at sea or back on campus. And 17 percent of women and 2 percent of men reporting some kind of sexual assault, defined as unwanted contact, from groping to rape.