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The Spirit Speaks: Washington Post Article Backfires

Political Action Committee



For Immediate Release

Washington Post Article Backfires Draws Global Attention to the Value of DEI at VMI

Lexington, Virginia 23 February 2023

As anticipated by the SOVP Press Statement dated 17 February 2023. Washington Post Columnist Ian Shapira’s latest work continued his bias against VMI Alumni who resist the implementation of DEI at the school. Thinly veiled as a human-interest story about conflict between two Brother Rats with differing opinions about the Institute’s future, Shapira took every opportunity to smear SOVP Chairman Matt Daniel by doxing Matt’s social media and other public statements to imply that Matt is racist and anti-semitic.

However, during the following news cycle, facts and statements from his article were published in the New York Post, and The Daily Mail, among other news outlets. These sources reframed the piece with different titles and without Shapira’s smears of Matt or his cringeworthy Civil War metaphor, resulting in a number of inquiries from other media sources. SOVP welcomes the opportunity to debate the origin and purpose of DEI and its implementation at VMI on the national stage.

Oddly, Shapira unwittingly refuted his own paradigms about VMI in his article, when he mentions Matt’s and VMI Superintendent Cedric Wins' matriculation at the school. After drawing contrasts between their backgrounds, he observes, "In August 1981, though, the pedigrees Daniel and Wins brought to VMI didn’t matter. They were now among an estimated 455 freshman “rats” entering the “rat line,” a grueling, months-long initiation period similar to boot camp.”

With that description, he stumbled onto pure truth—that VMI’s educational system was not institutionally or inherently, or in any other way racist, from the first day. But in the next sentence Shapira proceeds with a head count of his subjects’ class by skin color, which is evidently the contemporary depth of logic employed by those on the left who purport to advocate for a color-blind society.

Chairman Matt Daniel explains:

DEI is unnecessary, promotes racial division, encourages victimhood, and engages in shaming or protecting individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious or moral beliefs. VMI is already diverse and inclusive. What’s more inclusive than the Ratline— a crucible designed to test the mettle of cadets and the unity of each class?

Equity, which is based on an authority’s subjective engineering of equal outcomes, is antithetical to VMI. We should work to ensure “equality of opportunity,” which has been the keystone of the Institute since its inception.

SOVP will continue its efforts to protect VMI’s legacy as an elite and unique leadership institution, and looks forward to the day when it can work with VMI’s Board of Visitors, Administration, Corps of Cadets, and the Commonwealth’s elected representatives to realize that goal.

VMI is Good.

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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