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The Spirit Speaks: VMI to Follow Governor Youngkin’s Lead?

Political Action Committee



For Immediate Release

VMI to Follow Governor Youngkin’s Lead? Replace EQUITY with OPPORTUNITY and Other Changes

Lexington, Virginia 3 March 2023

The Spirit of VMI Political Action Committee (SOVP) was founded in February of 2021 in response to an October 2020 full-throated frontal assault by a hostile coalition of state politicians. It was apparent that VMI was bound to fall prey to corrosive ideologies designed, mandated, and threatened to be enforced at the Institute by this coalition. The assertion was that VMI was and had operated as a fundamentally, systemically, intentionally racist and sexist institution. The national media joined the chorus and has claimed the same in more than 30 articles in the past 2 years: the claim has been that VMI and its alumni need fixing. Cadets, alumni, and proud families and friends of both have recognized this as an organized, unwarranted and unfair assault.

Mistakenly presuming the 2021 Virginia elections would keep the Democrat party in control of both the House of Delegates and the Executive Branch, VMI carried on with a mandate from the then-governor and a group from the legislative caucus to implement heavy-handed Equity corrections in the form of the founding, funding, installation and incorporation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) office.

Equity, while it may sound innocuous, is a damaging ideology that calls for engineered outcomes based on race, gender or creed. The concept is divisive and encourages the presumption of the status of privileged or oppressed, depending on one's race, gender, moral compass or social orientation. VMI is a proud meritocratic institution that is steeped in organic diversity and mandated inclusion (ratline, class system, the crucible that is VMI). Equal opportunity for all cadets is the order today, just as it always has been. Engineered outcomes do not belong.

It is no secret that VMI’s DEI incorporation and training has been problematic for many reasons. Admissions and acceptance rates have taken a hit and the alumni body is deeply divided. But following earnest feedback from organized groups and many alumni, it seems like things may be changing for the better.

Senior leadership sources from both the VMI Board of Visitors and the VMI Alumni Association have informed SOVP that several major changes are underway in this domain. The timing is good for positive change and positive news.

Enumerating what has been relayed:

1. DEI office renamed: Diversity, Opportunity, Inclusiveness- The DOI Office.

By following the example of the Governor's office and cabinet, embracing ‘Opportunity’, VMI would highlight the egalitarian ethos of their system and reflect the immortal inscription: “You May Be Whatever You Resolve To Be.”

2. Training redesigned:

Vignette-based leadership training provides challenging and relevant scenarios for future leaders to contemplate, war-game and red-team, ensuring a leadership-focus, not social/class division.

3. Staff position hierarchy change:

Moving the director of DOI from a special staff status with influence on all operations on Post, to sitting aside the Commandant's staff, or with the Center for Leadership and Ethics (CLE), brings the office closer to cadets. This facilitates Corps ownership of the program, amalgamating it with the Rat system, the Regimental System, and the Class System with oversight provided by the (cadet-run) General Committee.

4. No migration of Equity ideology:

Effort from Leadership and the staff would expunge remaining Equity ideology, ensuring it will not systemically bleed into the academic curriculum or other VMI pillars (Honor System, Class System, Regimental System, Ratline, Academics, Admissions, Financial Aid, Athletics and Clubs/Associations).

As always, concerned alumni, faculty and staff will be paying attention. However, SOVP has no reason to doubt that these are positive developments that should draw acknowledgement for VMI and its Leadership. The Spirit of VMI supports these changes and offers its assistance in reaching such objectives.

Founded in 2021, the Spirit of VMI PAC is a registered Virginia Political Action Committee whose purpose is to restore VMI’s reputation as an elite leadership institution.

Point of Contact:

SOVP Communications Staff:

Visit the SOVP website:

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1 Comment

Mar 03, 2023

This is one of those rare moments in which having gotten a result that you desire, it is possible to be a gracious victor whilst remembering that we all love the same place, VMI. It would be extremely gracious and would advance healing if those who felt it necessary to sue VMI would reconsider and take a similar step by withdrawing that suit.

I always thought that when VMI got a full dose of some of these policies they would be melded into the fabric of VMI and adapted with a mixer of common sense. That seems to be the recipe if I am reading it correctly. If true -- I don't doubt the veracity of your reportage, but have the same…

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