According to a Freedom of Information Act response from VMI officials to an alumnus, the Institute’s Board of Visitors approved a $100,000 bonus for Superintendent Cedric Wins, as a result of his FY-2022 performance review. The award was made during the Board’s meeting last September (FY-2023), with four abstentions from the vote, according to BOV minutes.
The bonus represents a 300 percent increase over the Superintendent’s FY 2021 award of $25,000, and was made from private contributions. It increased General Wins’ total, known compensation for 2022 to $725,000, of which $330,000 (46%) was paid by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Spirit of VMI Political Action Committee( SOVP – a registered Virginia Political Action Committee whose purpose is “to preserve VMI’s reputation as an elite leadership institution”) questioned what performance metrics the BOV used to make such a generous award and sharp increase.
FY-2022 was an academic year that generated major concern among alumni and friends about VMI’s direction, and included large increases in attrition from the Corps. Also notable was a sharp drop in applications, which triggered the elimination of the application deadline and the SAT requirement, and led to a 25% drop in New Cadet Matriculation. This failure occurred the first year after General Wins asked for the resignation of the most-successful Director of Admissions in VMI’s history.
Further, SOVP notes that identifying a source of funds as “private” is an unacceptable disclosure raising the following questions:
How many donors contributed to the $395,000 from private sources that the Superintendent was paid last year?
What were the sizes of the largest donations?
Did an Institute agency solicit and appropriate these funds, and if so, which?
Finally, is the Virginia General Assembly comfortable with this compensation format, which potentially risks the dictation of the school’s direction by an oligarchy of large donors?
SOVP reports that they will soon ask legislators to respond.