Give Wins time to explore racism allegations at VMI
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.