VMI Superintendent Resigns After Virginia Management Name for Investigation Into College’s Tradition of Racism
The superintendent of Virginia Army Institute, the nation’s oldest state-funded navy faculty, resigned Monday morning after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and different top-elected officers known as for an impartial investigation into the varsity’s “appalling tradition of ongoing racism.”
Because the Washington Put up stories, J.H. Binford Peay, a retired four-star common who served as VMI’s superintendent since 2003, despatched his letter to the varsity’s Board of Guests, who “accepted it with deep remorse,” wrote VMI President John Borland. In his letter, Peay referenced Northam and “sure legislative leaders [who] had misplaced confidence in my management.”
The resignation comes after the Put up printed an explosive report by which a number of Black present and former college students detailed harassment and racism they skilled on the Lexington, Va., faculty. Regardless of a nationwide race reckoning at many establishments, the varsity staunchly honored its Accomplice roots: as just lately as final yr, one enterprise professor fondly recalled her father’s KKK membership in school, sharing that she used to accompany her highschool mates once they went round city assaulting Black individuals and different minorities who didn’t “belong.”
In 2018, a white sophomore informed a Black first-year cadet that he would “lynch” him and use his “useless corpse as a punching bag.” Management on the faculty, which was established earlier than the Civil Struggle and had shut ties to the Confederacy, have been additionally not inclined to place area between the establishment and its racist historical past, Black college students and alumni mentioned.
Current VMI grad Kaleb Tucker shared a web-based petition in June demanding the varsity take down its statue of Accomplice Normal Stonewall Jackson, which first-year cadets have been required to salute till just lately. Tucker informed The Root the apply nonetheless continues on campus, although it’s much less formalized.
After the article within the Put up was printed, Gov. Northam, a 1981 graduate of VMI, alongside Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax, Legal professional Normal Mark Herring and Del. Lamont Bagby, the chair of Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus known as for an impartial probe into the varsity, which obtained $19 million in state funds over the past fiscal yr.
VMI President Borland mentioned he welcomed the investigation and was assured that the prob would discover “systemic racism doesn’t exist right here.” Gen. Peay echoed these emotions.
Peay, an 80-year-old Vietnam Struggle veteran, is a recipient of the Silver Star and the Purple Coronary heart and is liable for main the 101st Airborne Division throughout the Gulf Struggle. He has publicly defended VMI’s Accomplice ties, commending Accomplice Gen. Jackson as a “navy genius” and “staunch Christian.”
In accepting Peay’s resignation letter, Borland known as him a “nice American, patriot, and hero,” including that he had “profoundly modified” VMI l for the higher “in all respects.”
In a press release responding to the Peay’s resignation, Lt. Gov. Fairfax warned that one resignation “doesn’t repair a systemic drawback.”
Fairfax, who will run for the commonwealth’s governorship subsequent yr, additionally threatened the varsity’s funding, including, “We shouldn’t be allocating $19 million yearly to a VMI that steadfastly refuses to vary at a time when lower-income college students and numerous communities are refused free lunches and ample instructional alternatives.”
“We can’t proceed to faux that racism directed at African American cadets are singular incidents disconnected from a tradition of longstanding systemic racism,” Fairfax mentioned. “We should face the challenges of systemic racism in an sincere strategy to defeat an unjust previous and forge a brand new and inclusive future that’s welcoming for all. VMI should prioritize this mission.”