The Spirit Speaks: Deactivate DEI - A Call to Action
Updated: Mar 16
Joseph D. Elie '88
Often described broadly as a form of political correctness, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a Marxist doctrine at the center of the malignancy of identity politics. Akin to a pervasive cancer that seemingly overnight has metastasized across the country, DEI sows division, destruction, and discord where ever it has been allowed to fester. Its purpose is to cow Americans into agreeing with the fundamental premise that white people are inherently and irredeemably racist. In essence, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are being replaced by the DEI belief system in order to subvert the underpinnings of our society. In other words, if you no longer have something to believe in, you’ll fall for anything. DEI has grown beyond a mere cottage industry, it’s a full fledged racket enriching itself at every opportunity. Many of the people appointed in DEI departments act like gangsters, employing the Cancel Culture tactics of fear and intimidation to control their minions
A recent study conducted by the Virginia Association of Scholars reveals that taxpayer funded DEI employee salaries at Virginia public colleges and universities in 2020 were more than $15 million and growing far beyond what might be considered reasonable in subsequent years. The report, sponsored by the Jefferson Council and the Spirit of VMI PAC, delineates relatively inexperienced and expanding staffs with disproportionately high levels of compensation, in many cases exceeding the pay of full-time professors. The data sets collected in the report did not include benefit packages, yet it’s now plainly evident that ballooning DEI departmental budgets, soaring upwards of 70% year over year, are directly contributing to the marked increase in the overall costs of education, sacrificing thousands of would-be scholarships to potential needy students, and further politicizing some of the historically best colleges and universities in the country.
VMI had no data available in the report for 2020 because its DEI department was not opened until 2021. Former governor Ralph Northam mandated DEI to VMI, throwing his alma mater under the bus with baseless claims of systemic racism in order to deflect criticism for a photo in his medical school yearbook. Once the DEI department was established at the Institute, the Board of Visitors, Superintendent, and staff continued to carry out the Northam agenda even after an independent investigation found no systemic racism and political pressure had, all in all, run its course; with the exception of repeated attack articles from the Washington Post.
Not surprisingly, the implementation of DEI at VMI has not been a salutary experience for the Corps of Cadets, who take pride in participating in the Spartan meritocratic system they themselves oversee. Surveys from Lexington show an unwillingness to accept the underlying premises of DEI doctrine. In a laudatory effort to scale things back from the previous administration’s policy, Governor Youngkin and the House of Delegates’ Appropriations Committee directed a supplemental budget figure of $3.7 million to address staffing shortfalls and pay gaps, but specified it not to be used for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion personnel or initiatives at VMI in 2022. Despite this admonition, VMI used $750,000 for DEI and it’s unclear how the other funds were spent. From this, we see that once DEI departments are established, they quickly learn to ignore attempts at government oversight and it becomes difficult to rein them in. The changes VMI underwent to make itself more accommodating such as the removal of the Jackson statue and the prohibition of future New Market memorial parades were unpopular with cadets, parents, and alumni. There is a current push to direct alumni giving away from the Alumni Association to the Cadet Foundation, which supports maintaining and observing the original traditions of VMI and seeks “… to unite alumni and cadets in programs that preserve, protect, and advance the core VMI ethos.”
Some states are fighting back successfully against the woke mob’s attempt to indoctrinate rather than educate American students from pre-school through graduate school. Most notably, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis early this year convinced all 28 public college presidents to issue a joint statement declaring CRT and DEI will not be taught in their classrooms. Last summer, DeSantis signed the Stop Woke Act, which prohibited DEI indoctrination in the public K-12 schools. Most recently, DeSantis called for an audit of all DEI spending at the public post secondary level.
In light of these victories, the findings of the Virginia Association of Scholars report, and the absolute necessity of eradicating the societal scourge of hypocritical racism of self-appointed victims, the Spirit of VMI PAC respectfully once again encourages Governor Glenn Youngkin to deactivate DEI in our public colleges and universities. The governor already has proved himself to be a profile in courage - a congenial culture warrior, thoughtful in his approach, yet aggressive when necessary - as he was issuing Executive Order Number 1, which removed DEI from public school instruction in the K-12 grades. The natural move now is to do the same for Virginia’s public colleges and universities, and we believe the governor has several courses of action open to him. He might see fit to issue another executive order, file an amendment to the budget redirecting more than $20 million in DEI funds to one of his legislative priorities such as mental health counseling, drug rehabilitation, or the revitalization of the black majority Petersburg area; or the governor might issue guidance on DEI with a waiting period for public comment.
As he considers the political calculus, Youngkin must avoid being too circumspect. The DEI threat requires a strong yet deft response toward immediate corrective action. The political will to act in this regard was implicitly mandated with the governor’s election and the support of grass roots voters. Viewed by many political pundits as a bridge builder between adversarial constituencies, Youngkin has exhibited the ability to adeptly counter the likely response that eliminating DEI would mean we can’t ever talk about the history of racism in the United States. He is comfortable reaching out to leaders in black majority communities and meeting them face to face. If the governor considers this goal a bridge too far, we believe it’s far more likely crossing the bridge would go a long way toward securing his legacy as governor. If he does not act, he’ll have to live with not sufficiently addressing a burgeoning danger when it was still manageable in its incipient stage; and, in the final analysis, we are judged in life by the difficulties we overcome. Real leaders make the hard choices and deal with the consequences.
The United States is the greatest nation in history because it has done more to promote freedom, peace, and prosperity around the world. It’s time ‘We the People’ once again fought for our founding principles, rising to the high standard set by generations of our ancestors, righteously confident in our rich cultural traditions and national creed - E Pluribus Unum. This self-governing Republic must throw off this yoke of wokeism for good. For a society that has been blessed with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Divine Providence need not abide by some stealthy and sinister dogma designed to bring about our demise. There was nothing wrong with our culture that we hadn’t already fixed or were in the process of resolving. Our great Republic is yet perfectable, but not by fighting racism with racism.
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