After cadets allege racism in news reports, state orders review of Virginia Military Institute's culture

The state’s top leaders are ordering a review of what they say is theclear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism at the Virginia Military Institute,” following news reports detailing allegations by Black students and alumni.

Writing that the school’s values of honor, sacrifice, dignity and servicedo not extend to all students,” the letter from state officials to VMI’s governing Board of Visitors cites reports ofvicious attacks on social media,” a sophomore threatening to lynch a fellow underclassman and a professor fondly reminiscing over her family’s involvement in the Ku Klux Klan.
It further claims the state-run military college in Lexington continues to embrace the Confederacy, 及び “an inaccurate and dangerous ‘Lost Causeversion of Virginia’s history.” ザ・ “失われた大義” ideology asserts the Southern war effort was heroic and that states’ 権利, not slavery, was the Confederacy’s principal cause, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
It is long past time to consign these relics to the dustbin of history,” 手紙は言う. “This culture is unacceptable for any Virginia institution in the 21st century, especially one funded by taxpayers.
    Monday’s letter is signed by, とりわけ, 政府. Ralph Northam, Lt. 政府. Justin Fairfax, Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, state Senate President Louise Lucas, Attorney General Mark Herring and Delegate Lamont Bagby, chairman of the state Legislature’s Black caucus.
    Board of Visitors President John William Boland responded Tuesday, promising cooperation, candor and transparency. The board welcomes the state review, which Boland is confident will show the school responded appropriately to the allegations, 彼が書きました.
    Virtually all colleges in the 50 states can point to inappropriate behavior by their students or faculty members. VMI is not immune. しかしながら, systemic racism does not exist here and a fair and independent review will find that to be true,” Boland’s letter said.

    ‘It’s unacceptable anywhere

    Internal action is no longer sufficient to assure diversity and equity at the school, state leaders told the Board of Visitors in announcing a third-party, nonpartisan review of VMI’s “文化, ポリシー, practices and equity in disciplinary procedures.
    Preliminary results are due by year’s end, 手紙は言う, with an eye toward providing state lawmakers with information for any needed corrective legislation.
    Herring called the reports of racism “嫌な” in a tweet Monday and said, “It’s unacceptable anywhere, especially at a public school, and not who we are as a Commonwealth.
    Delegate Mark Levine called for immediate action to stopthe culture of racism and oppressionat VMI, either via legislative action or the school’s leadership.
    Shape up, VMI. Or else,” 彼はツイートした.
    CNN has not been able to confirm the allegations referenced in the letter, but the correspondence was sent after The Roanoke Times in June そして The Washington Post earlier this month reported numerous allegations that Black students and graduates have leveled against the school.
    In his letter, Boland said all allegations of discrimination are thoroughly investigated and, when necessary, “appropriate action was meted out in a timely fashion.
    彼が追加した, “These incidents were perpetrated by few individuals and were in no way condoned by the Institute.

    ‘All these brave, honorable men were flawed

    Former cadets described to the Roanoke paper White cadetsovert racism, being forced to re-enact a Civil War battle in which VMI cadets took part and the now-abandoned practice of requiring first-year students to salute a statue of Thomas J. “Stonewall” ジャクソン, a former VMI professor, Confederate general and slaveholder.
    A recent graduate this summer launched a petition urging the institute to tear down the Jackson statue. It gained about 1,500 signatures. A competing petitioncalling for the defense ofVMI’s sacred heritageand a return to the “伝統” of forcing students to salute the Jackson statuegarnered more than three times that number of signatures.
    A statue of Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson stands in front of the VMI barracks.

    All these brave, honorable men were flawed, just like every cadet that marches through the hallowed arches of the Institute,” the latter petition said, mentioning George Washington. “まだ, despite their flaws, they contributed greatly to the heritage of not just the school, but also America. They are rightly honored for their noble deeds.
    The Washington Post story outlines numerous student and alumni allegations mentioned in the state leaders’ 文字, as well as a 2017 incident in which White cadets dressed up in boxes, representing the southern border wall, bearing a slur against Mexicans.
    I wake up every day wondering, ‘Why am I still here?'” a 20-year-old Black senior, William Bunton, told the newspaper.
    Boland cited the Post’s reporting specifically in his Tuesday response to state leaders, saying several of the incidents are many years old andhad more to do with an individual’s lapse of judgment than they do with the culture of the Institute.

    ‘The future will look much different

    昨年, VMI counted 102 Black students among its enrollment of 1,698 — 約 6% of the student body, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. より多い 1,300 students were White.
    The state provided $ 19.3 百万 in general funds for the 2020-2021 school year, VMI’s superintendent, 遺伝子. J.H. Binford Peay III, wrote in a May letter to the Board of Visitors.
    Virginia’s chief diversity officer and secretary of education will meet with the Board of Visitors at least three times this year to discuss campus culture, implementing a diversity plan andfunding implications,” Monday’s letter said.
    While the state leaders support VMI’s mission, 彼らが書きました, the latest allegations suggest school leaders are not moving quickly enough to demonstrate the commitment to diversity that the nation expects from its institutions.
    We are committed to the sustainability of the Virginia Military Institute and its mission of educating citizen soldiers, but the future will look much different from the past,” 手紙は言う.
      Boland closed his response by saying that VMI administrators were already reviewing the school’s traditions, ceremonies and culture, among other aspects of campus life, and the Board of Visitors endorsed last montha path toward ensuring an Institute free from racism and discrimination.
      Current events have likely caused everyone to reflect upon our understanding and exposure to racism and discrimination. The Institute is no different,” the board president wrote. “We have spent countless hours seeking the input of a diverse group including of cadets, faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders. The result was a vision and plan regarding a way forward to ensure equal treatment for all of our cadets.


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