Virginia Military Institute Superintendent Resigns Amid Pressure from Dems
The Virginia Military Institute will now have a new Superintendent, after Democrats accused the school of “ongoing structural racism.” Retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III was the superintendent of VMI for over 17 years. The Board of Visitors accepted his resignation with “deep regret” on Monday.
Cancel Culture at work?
The General’s resignation letter read:
“On Friday, 23 October 2020, the Governor’s Chief of Staff conveyed that the Governor and certain legislative leaders had lost confidence in my leadership as Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute and desired my resignation. Therefore, effective today, 26 October, 2020 I hereby resign.
It has been the honor of my life to be the Superintendent of VMI for over 17 years. I always have and always will love the Institute, all of our cadets, alumni, and all of the VMI family. Pamela and I pass on our best wishes for the future, and will be cheering you on with great admiration and fondness as your work continues to serve the nation so well.” General J.H. Binford Peay III, Retired
An article in The Washington Post wrote that cadets and alumni were subjected to “relentless racism.” Governor Ralph Northam, a graduate of the school, then wrote a letter along with other legislators expressing their concerns.
But could this have anything to do with the fact that VMI refused to take down Confederate statues or rename their buildings back in July?
Fox wrote in July 2020:
“Ret. Gen. J.H. Bindford Peay III said the military college, founded in 1839 in Lexington, Va., about 140 miles west of the onetime Confederate capital in Richmond, had a past “intertwined with the history of Virginia and the Civil War.”
“We do not currently intend to remove any VMI statues or rename any VMI buildings,” he wrote in in a seven-page letter addressed to the campus community. “Rather, in the future we will emphasize recognition of leaders from the Institute’s second century.”
While condemning racism as something “we all agree we want to erase,” Peay said some of the statues and monuments were dedicated to people with ties to the school that ran deeper than the Confederacy.”
A statue of Stonewall Jackson stands in the front courtyard of the school. General Jackson was once a professor at VMI, and General Peay once wrote that he was a military genius. The school also has a monument crafted by sculptor Moses Ezekiel, that was dedicated to some of the young cadets who died in the Battle of New Market in 1864 during the civil war. They fought for the Confederacy and were reportedly Ezekiel’s friends.
The history of VMI is inexorably linked to the Civil War. Does that mean all of the statues should come down? Does it mean the school should drop all of its traditions and teaching to comply with the demands of society?
The General and school President William Boland issued a joint statement in 2017:
“Like the United States itself, who we were in the past only defines in part who we are today. Hate, bigotry and discrimination are wrong, do not represent the values of the Virginia Military Institute, and will always be addressed decisively. We will learn from the past and take the best from our predecessors in shaping our cadet citizen-soldiers for today and tomorrow.”
Featured photo: That statue of General Stonewall Jackson and cannons from Virginia Military Institute via TripAdvisor
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