US Military College War Breaks Out — Among Alumni

US Military College War Breaks Out --- Among Alumni
  • Virginia Military Institute was founded in 1842.
  • It’s the oldest military college in the US.
  • VMI Superintendent, retired Major General Cedric T. Wins received a $100K bonus last year despite a drop in enrollment.
  • A new PAC is challenging Wins and the school’s woke policies.

( – The Virginia Military Institute is the oldest senior military college in the US. For 183 years, the school, located on a 100-plus-acre campus just outside Lexington, Virginia, has trained young cadets and awarded them with a degree and an officer’s commission — first in the US Army, then the Confederate States Army, and then the US Army again. Its alumni contain more US Army generals than any other Army ROTC program. VMI graduates have participated in every one of America’s wars since the first class of 16 cadets graduated in 1842. Now, though, it’s facing a new kind of war. This time, it’s on the internet, as the school’s alumni fight over its future.

War Meets Wokeness

VMI has come a long way since its cadets, under the watchful eye of Major Stonewall Jackson, guarded the execution of John Brown in 1859. It went desegregated in 1968 and coed in 1995; General Jackson’s statue was removed from the grounds in 2020, and the school created a diversity and inclusion committee with a diversity officer to lead it. In early 2021, retired Major General Cedric T. Wins took over as the first black superintendent, to widespread praise from colleagues.

That praise hasn’t lasted, though. Wins has expanded VMI’s diversity and inclusion programs, but some think it’s going too far. A new PAC has formed, named Spirit of VMI, to resist what its supporters say is excessive wokeness creeping into the school –- and it’s led by retired USMC officer Matt Daniel, who, like Wins, graduated from VMI in the class of 1965.

Is He Worth the Money?

Last year, the school’s freshman enrollment fell by 25% — but the board decided to pay Wins a $100,000 bonus to go with his $656,000 salary. Daniel and his backers are questioning what VMI is getting in exchange for all that money. They’re also slamming Wins’s policies. The PAC website boldly demands, “Reject the woke assault on VMI,” and hosts cartoons mocking the new diversity policies.

Daniel has taken his battle with the new guard online, but he’s also using more traditional attack routes; he says the PAC has met Governor Glenn Youngkin (R), and its members are also using talk radio shows to outflank Wins and appeal directly to alumni and the people of Virginia.

Wins has hit back, calling Daniel “desperate and racist,” but the PAC quickly denied that allegation and called the use of the race card “shameless.” It also argued that the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office “act like gangsters,” using cancel culture tactics to dominate other staff.

It seems that as hard as VMI graduates fight against America’s (or Virginia’s) enemies on the battlefield, they can be just as fierce with each other.

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