A Call To Action!
July 27, 2021
Greetings Friends and Supporters: The Spirit of VMI (SoV) would like to provide you with an important update on our crucial work to advocate for VMI, and specifically to ask for your support. In March of 2021, we launched a political action committee (PAC) and brought on supporters who share our ideals. Since 1839, VMI has been a preeminent leadership institution that has served the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States. The Spirit of VMI wants to ensure this continues for many generations to come. Our motto is VMI IS GOOD. Since March, the SoV has ramped up on multiple dimensions. We are now implementing a strategy that we hope will serve to sustain, support and enhance our beloved institute by improving the political landscape and climate in Virginia, which is a crucial part of our mission. More on the mission later! Prior to this year, most of us were, perhaps like many of you - not all that interested in state and local politics. However, we have quickly learned that while you may not be interested in politics, politics is interested in YOU. Sadly, we have found that many key politicians are aggressively interested in VMI in a way that not only threatens its status as a top-ranked college in the nation for all who earn admission, but even its survivability. Our core purpose is to advocate for the VMI Mission statement. It is a unique statement that bears a refresher for all: “Virginia Military Institute believes that the measure of a college lies in the quality and performance of its graduates and their contributions to society. “Therefore, it is the mission of Virginia Military Institute to produce educated, honorable men and women, prepared for the varied work of civil life, imbued with love of learning, confident in the functions and attitudes of leadership, possessing a high sense of public service, advocates of the American Democracy and free enterprise system, and ready as citizen-soldiers to defend their country in time of national peril. “To accomplish this result, Virginia Military Institute shall provide to qualified young men and women undergraduate education of highest quality -- embracing engineering, science, and the arts -- conducted in, and facilitated by, the unique VMI system of military discipline.” Source: https://www.vmi.edu/about/governance/mission-and-vision/ Last year the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and leaders from the Virginia General Assembly signed a letter stating that VMI has a “clear and appalling culture of systemic racism.” State Senate Finance Committee Chair Janet Howell went on record saying, “I am not sure how relevant it (VMI) is, maybe VMI’s time has passed and perhaps we don’t need it anymore.” This is exceptionally strong language that is surely misplaced given the current governor is an alumnus. Other notable alumni include the recent secretary of the Army, legendary former chiefs of staff of the Army and Air Force, and numerous corporate chief executive officers. These include minority alumni who were selected as the regimental commander for the entire Corps of the Cadets and who went on to become a four-star general and commander of the United States Transportation Command, as well as the current VMI superintendent, a retired Army major general, and a 2003 minority female graduate who was elected to the State Legislature (who also ran a bold campaign for governor earlier this year). These alumni are certainly “relevant.” This disparaging language of many in Richmond is especially disrespectful to the 16 VMI alumni who have given their lives in service to their country in the 20 years since the attacks of September 11, 2001. This week we also learned of a 2007 graduate who was awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry while directing his command under fire in Somalia in 2018. * The Spirit of VMI takes enormous pride in the accomplishments of these leaders. VMI is Good. *Captain William Doyle, USA’s name was previously classified. Most of you know that to seek support of their slanderous allegations, the Commonwealth of Virginia commissioned an investigation into select aspects of the VMI experience. Lo, and behold, NO systemic racism was identified by the investigation. This notwithstanding, the investigation, using highly questionable data collection approaches, found cases of individual bad behavior amongst 17- to 21-year-olds, but no Title IX violations or anything remotely approaching an “appalling culture of systemic racism.” Did the politicians retract their slander? They did not. VMI is Good. That attack, now being discredited, has been followed by these adversaries moving to dissect co-education at VMI. They have pointed to what they claim is a high number of inappropriate incidents between drunken college students. All the reported incidents on record have been adjudicated and guilty parties have been punished appropriately within the authority of the VMI system and the Commonwealth justice system, which is certainly no less strict than any other college. Yet, VMI’s adversaries point to this as evidence that VMI is a source of trouble to higher education. No one denies that there are opportunities to strengthen the environment at a school that ALWAYS strives to improve and grow. SoV is not a “cling to the past” PAC that is blind to the vast improvements that positive change has brought to VMI, including of course, it’s truly dramatic accomplishments on racial and gender recruitment, support and advancement. While these personal distinctions are important, within the Corps, one is a VMI cadet above all, regardless of other demographic identifiers. Most importantly, throughout this challenging time, these same political adversaries are again calling for defunding VMI. You must ask, what is the agenda? All institutions strive to improve in these areas, but why single out VMI, with its 1700-member student body and a modest 20,000 living alumni, whom the record abundantly shows have “punched well above their weight” as graduates? Why move to overtly damage a school where every morning and every evening the flag of our country is raised and lowered with the entire student body saluting? Why? VMI is Good. We need your help in taking this on. Virginia deserves a change in the executive branch and the SoV PAC is supporting that. There is also an important task before us to improve the atmosphere and leadership in the Virginia State Legislature, the very body that directs the budget and sets the agenda for potential bills that would negatively impact this national treasure. VMI is Good. The Spirit of VMI is a non-partisan PAC that seeks to support those candidates and issues that are committed to strengthening and investing in the Virginia Military Institute and its important mission. * This year The Spirit of VMI is endorsing and supporting the election campaigns of these candidates for the November elections.
*Early voting in Virginia opens on September 17
THE CASE FOR ACTION IS CLEAR.
Contribute today to help us defend VMI and support a better landscape for VMI. Do it now. Make it meaningful. We will put this investment to work to mitigate these threats to VMI and get this political train back on the rails. VMI is Good.
Donate by clicking this link: https://secure.anedot.com/the-spirit-of-vmi-pac/donate
If donating by check is preferred, please make the check out to "The Spirit of VMI PAC" and send to:
The Spirit of VMI PAC c/o Election CFO PO Box 26141 Alexandria, Virginia 22313
Volunteers are also needed to support “boots on the ground” efforts during the coming election season. If you are interested in joining The Spirit of VMI as a campaign volunteer, please contact email@example.com.
The stakes are high, and we are confident our collective efforts can win the day! Thank you for your past support and in advance for your future commitment. VMI IS GOOD.
Yours in the bonds,
The Spirit of VMI PAC