Is Richmond Absent-Without-Leave on VMI?

Before his election as governor, Glenn Youngkin was asked by The Spirit of VMI PAC’s Matt Daniel if he intended to address the racial and other charges being made against the Virginia Military Institute. Youngkin said he planned as governor to assemble a special group “to reestablish the great reputation of VMI.”

Since the start of Youngkin’s administration in January, Attorney General (AG) Jason Miyares has been outspoken against Critical Race Theory and in favor of parents’ rights in their children’s education. AG Miyares has addressed what he rightly called “state-sanctioned bigotry” in some Virginia public schools. One egregious case was at prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School in northern Virginia, where traditionally high-performing students of Asian ethnicity had led to a policy aimed at limiting Asian students’ acceptance rates in preferment of other groups. Nationally, it’s the same principle that Sen. Ted Cruz addressed recently with a self-admittedly clueless State Department diversity czar in committee hearings regarding departmental hiring mandates. In various contexts these days, increasingly one must be identified with the “right” category.

What about another Virginia public institution – VMI?

For two years running, the traditional – that is, merit, not melanin-based – VMI has been under assault by divisive, CRT/DEI-based cultural revolutionaries and their accomplices, both the witting and the unwitting. While the destructive, fraudulent movement’s leaders are intentional with their “Inherently Divisive” ideology, at least some of their foot-soldiers appear unaware of their assistance in the sphere of public opinion.

The latter’s support stems in part from the traditional confusion or “inversion” of language by those committed to dividing institutions or communities for their own agendas. In terms of the racism mantra, CRT/DEI-based leaders use terms like “structural,” “systemic,” and “institutional” to describe falsely that which is not something built into the fabric of an institution. They pervert the definitions of those words, instead using them to describe that which is individual or occasional in nature.

Thus, “structural” is wrongly employed to describe individual, occasional bad behavior. Only the childish utopian or committed ideologue aiming at personal advancement assumes, or proclaims for public consumption, that 100 percent acceptable behavior – which is defined by them, naturally – may be achieved in a fallen world. But until that day arrives, CRT/DEI advocates believe their Purity-Tested agenda must continue, regardless of the cost – to the law-abiding, hard-working others, that is. It is, indeed, the “fire that never says, ‘Enough.’”

That such a mindset has overtaken VMI is undeniable: from blackface-weakened Ralph Northam’s false-official-statement (October 19, 2020) charging VMI with “the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism” which has since been repudiated by the superintendent, Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins (Virginia Business, Feb. 27, 2022); to the costly, highly-touted investigation of VMI in 2021 the report of which mostly complained of occasional cases of cadet misbehavior and the lack of equal numbers of cadets found in its self-assigned preferred categories; to draft-version, Maoist-inspired classroom “privilege” exercises pitting cadets against one another regardless of whether cadets technically are required to participate; to VMI officials’ repression of The Cadet, among the oldest student-run college newspapers in the country; to unfounded statements from the diversity chief in Richmond (under Northam’s misrule) or in Lexington nowadays – all of which are available in the public domain.

Earlier this year, a petition signed by more than 1,100 VMI alumni, family, and friends requested that AG Miyares initiate an investigation at the Institute into what Gov. Youngkin’s Executive Order Number One called “Inherently Divisive Concepts, Including [CRT].” While the order pertained strictly to K-12 public schools, its logic extended to the commonwealth’s institutions of higher learning. In a March 2022 address at the University of Virginia law school, Youngkin explicitly extended it so, expressing his concerns for cancel culture in higher education institutions. Other calls have gone out to the AG’s office via email, phone, and Richmond’s Morning News with John Reid, to which the only response has been “crickets.”

But on an April 25 Daily Signal Podcast, Miyares stated that our current crisis of confidence begins in our educational system. That concern rightly applies at all educational levels. Many of us are certain that the evidence of CRT at VMI continues to mount. It is time for the Youngkin administration in Richmond to keep its word and investigate what is happening at the small, “extraordinary” (the governor’s term) military school in the Shenandoah Valley whose historically outsized service to commonwealth and country is threatened by false, divisive ideology. Richmond: don’t go AWOL on VMI.

Forrest L. Marion
VMI Class of 1980

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