Richmond Times-Dispatch

Give Wins time to explore racism allegation­s at VMI

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EDITOR, TIMES-DISPATCH:

I ama 1953 graduate of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and have followed the recent concerns about racism at the college with alarm, concern, anxiety and disbelief. I have read the op-eds, Letters to the Editor, and the two open letters by Carter Melton. I do not know Melton, but he is a 1967 graduate of VMI. Melton’s first open letter, and full-page ad to Gov. Ralph Northam (also a VMI graduate), discussed the resignatio­n of retired Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III as the superinten­dent.

I agree that the resignatio­n request was poorly handled. Evidently the governor did not feel that he should be the one to ask Peay for his resignatio­n, but had his chief of staff make the call. After Peay had resigned, the Corps of Cadets invited Peay to come into barracks to show him how much they appreciate­d his tenure at VMI.

Peay is an outstandin­g patriot and leader, and the Corps of Cadets and the VMI post never have looked better because of his 17 years as VMI’s superinten­dent.

The Board of Visitors has selected retired Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, Class of 1985, as the interim superinten­dent, and he has accepted the position. His recent address to the corps demonstrat­ed his leadership and plans for the next few months.

Melton’s second open letter full-page ad to Northam is right on point. I would hope that Northam would withdraw the request for proposal (RFP) and issue another with dates in the future for the investigat­ion, findings of fact, conclusion­s and suggested remedies. Wins just has arrived and has stated that he is going to listen, learn, ask questions and find out if racism, sexism and other behaviors unbecoming of a VMI cadet are present, systemic or episodic. Nowis not the time for an investigat­ion with the timelines as outlined in Melton’s recent full-page ad. A new RFP would give Wins time to understand the allegation­s directed at some members of the corps and the faculty.

WARREN W. KOONTZ JR.,

VMI CLASS OF 1953.

HENRICO.

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