VMI Superintendent Steps Down Amid Allegations Of 'Structural Racism'

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tags: racism, Confederacy, Virginia, Virginia Military Institute, colleges and universities

One week after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam opened an investigation into systemic racism at the Virginia Military Institute, the college's superintendent has submitted his resignation.

On Friday, "the Governor's Chief of Staff conveyed that the Governor and certain legislative leaders had lost confidence in my leadership as Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute and desired my resignation," retired U.S. Army General J.H. Binford Peay III, 80, wrote to the school's Board of Visitors. "Therefore, effective today ... I hereby resign."

Peay, who was superintendent of the public college for 17 years, told The Washington Post earlier this month that "there is no place for racism or discrimination at VMI." Black students make up about 8% of the school's 1,700 enrollment.

In Northam's Oct. 19 letter, the governor expressed his "deep concerns about the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism" at the school. "Black cadets at VMI have long faced repeated instances of racism on campus, including horrifying new revelations of threats about lynching, vicious attacks on social media, and even a professor who spoke fondly of her family's history in the Ku Klux Klan — to say nothing of inconsistent application of the Institute's Honor Code."

Northam also expressed outrage at the environment in which VMI cadets are educated, which "honors the Confederacy and celebrates an inaccurate and dangerous 'Lost Cause' version of Virginia's history," the letter said, adding that Virginians expect universities to "eschew outdated traditions that glamorize a history rooted in rebellion against the United States."

Read entire article at NPR

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