The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) hired its first Black superintendent shortly after Governor Ralph Northam allotted $1 million to investigate allegations of systemic racism there. VMI announced the appointment of retired U.S. Army Major General Cedric T. Wins on Friday.
Wins will serve as the interim superintendent at VMI – he is also a 1985 graduate. In his remarks on accepting the interim position with VMI, Wins only had positive words for the institution’s history.
“I am excited to return to VMI, a place that had an extraordinary impact on me as a leader and person. Now, more than ever, the lessons and values of VMI are needed in the world, and I am humbled to be part of making that happen,” stated Wins in the press release. “I most look forward to leading the cadets and ensuring we have a safe and successful conclusion to the academic year, hit the ground running during the spring sports season, and continue fulfilling our vital mission of producing educated and honorable men and women.”
Later that same day, Wins sent an email to VMI alumni that appeared to indicate that the investigation wouldn’t substantiate the claims of systemic racism within the school.
“We welcome the investigation, because it allows us to set the record straight on many fronts and to better understand the experiences of all cadets. We will also have the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of VMI’s unique method of education that calls forth leaders in our nation. We remain committed to a challenging but equitable experience for all.”
VMI’s previous superintendent, retired four-star Army General J.H. Binford Peay III (’62), resigned at the end of last month. Northam prompted the resignation, according to Peay’s brief resignation letter.
According to personal statements, Peay was against racism and discrimination and advocated for diversity. Just days after Peay’s resignation, VMI’s Board of Visitors voted unanimously to remove the Stonewall Jackson statue from campus.
VMI mentioned that it plans to select a permanent superintendent next summer.
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