Keep CRT Out of VMI

by Carmen Villani, VMI Class of 1976

Governor Glenn Youngkin was elected in large part to remove “inherently divisive concepts” such as Critical Race Theory (CRT). While his Executive Order #1 speaks to “K-12 public education,” his recent speech to the Jefferson Society at the University of Virginia suggested extending the ban to higher education. In South Dakota, Governor Noem just signed into legislation a bill banning mandatory CRT training.

As with other colleges in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is dealing with the issue of CRT. While VMI officials have denied the existence of CRT on Post (VMI Campus), documents, briefings by former Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Janice Underwood, and the hiring of outside consulting firms with clear ties to CRT suggest otherwise. For those reasons, VMI alumni have initiated a petition calling for Attorney General Jason Miyares to direct the appropriate agency to conduct an investigation into whether the tenets of CRT under the guise of DEI are in fact being woven into the fabric of the VMI Experience. The petition also requests a hold on any DEI contracts until the investigation is completed.

After less than two weeks, the petition has well over 900 supporters. I urge all Virginians opposed to the institutionalizing of divisive concepts in Virginia colleges and universities to join the alumni, cadet parents and grandparents , friends of VMI and military veterans in signing it. To sign the petition click here.

Petition to the Honorable Jason S. Miyares, Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia

Whereas the Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) spokesman Colonel Bill Wyatt was quoted in a Washington Post article on VMI dated November 14, 2021 (“Northam heads to hostile terrain – VMI – to speak to 1,700 cadets”) stating: “I think that it would be silly for the past 18 months, going through a leadership change and a new plan . . . to roll all that back just because of the results of an election”;

Whereas the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute on January 21, 2022 had posted the following comment on the VMI Family – Parents, Corps, Alumni, and Friends Facebook page: “You [alumnus of VMI] chose to go on a local Richmond radio show and say that CRT has entered into the VMI realm. That is categorically false”;

Whereas The VMI Alumni Agencies distributed a message titled “Just the Facts: Setting the Record Straight” on February 11, 2022 with a similar narrative – “The suggestion that CRT is now an official part of the VMI curriculum is categorically false”;

Whereas Goal #3 in the Executive Summary of the VMI Inclusive Excellence One Virginia Strategic Plan stated: “Engage students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community in learning varied perspectives of domestic and international diversity, EQUITY, inclusion, and SOCIAL JUSTICE” (emphasis added);

Whereas the same plan further states: “VMI will consider input from other state agencies and guidance from the following publications in developing the Plan: 1. The ONE Virginia Plan (Many Virginians: One Commonwealth)”;

Whereas the former ONE Virginia Plan stated the following:
 “Inequity is rooted in America’s foundation. Accordingly, Virginia‘s history is replete with unrelenting, pervasive structural racism starting with the extermination of its Indigenous community, the chattel enslavement of Africans, racialization of immigration,…”;
 “American institutions of racial domination have evolved from slavery and segregation to punitive, exploitative, and unjust systems of housing, education, labor markets, criminal justice, and more. White supremacy emerged early on to justify racism and racial violence”;

Whereas repeated mention is made of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the many documents put forth by VMI Staff conflicting with Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order #1 which seeks to end “inherently divisive concepts” which “instruct students to only view life through the lens of race and presumes that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are victims”;

Whereas multiple presentations have been given by Dr. Janice Underwood, former Office of the Governor Chief Diversity Officer, who clearly supports CRT. In a December 15, 2020 presentation to the VMI Board of Visitors (BOV), she described racism as a “system that insulates and protects our unwillingness to frame our country honestly or our true history.” Furthermore, she suggested “meaningful conversations. . .about race and other differences” by “embedding them across content, across curriculum”;

Whereas during the January 28, 2022 BOV Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee meeting, a presentation was made to include slides created by the firm Visions Inc. Their website covers topics such as white privilege, racial microaggression, oppression, and DEI;

Whereas the “intent to award” has been given to NewPoint Strategies per VMI’s V211-22-054 – RFP to provide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training and Consulting Services;

Whereas the NewPoint Strategies’ Mission Statement includes the following: “Our clients learn to successfully manage high-risk issues such as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion . . .”;

Whereas a draft of a “DIVERSITY WORKBOOK” developed for mandatory cadet training found on the Cadet Foundation website states: “This workbook is a compilation of curated Diversity, Equity and Inclusion trainings designed for Virginia Military Institute. Trainings are intentional in an effort to deliver direct engagement that lets cadets achieve a better understanding of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”;

Whereas in the February 25, 2022 edition of The Cadet newspaper, the following statement appeared in an editorial by a member of the Corps of Cadets [“To the Editor – A Farewell to the Shared VMI Identity”]: “The new training we are receiving is pushing an ideology [CRT/DEI] that is still being debated as true or right in the public square today. Yet it is being taught to us as fact”;

Whereas we believe these “policies, practices and pedagogies” rise to the level of “discriminatory and divisive concepts” and warrant a “proactive review” as highlighted by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow in her Interim Report;

Whereas Director of Equity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Angela Sailor has stated: “A fourth characteristic of CRT is that it pushes EQUITY (emphasis added) instead of equality. Nothing under heaven has the power to guarantee equal outcomes. Policies that insist on this impossible goal will inevitably result in discriminatory practices” [Heritage Foundation July 7,2021 – “Schools Hiding Behind Diversity and Inclusion Rhetoric to Spew Critical Race Theory Vile”];

Whereas other scholars, religious leaders, and journalists such as Dr. Carol Swain, Dr. Thomas Sowell, Pastor Cory Brooks, Dr. James Lindsay and Christopher Rufo, have opposed CRT;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we the undersigned alumni, cadets, parents and friends of VMI recognize that, although no formal course in CRT is being offered in the curriculum at VMI, the elements of that theory are being woven into the fabric, rendering harm to the VMI Experience. Thus, we call on Attorney General Miyares, and other applicable offices, to put a hold on the contract to NewPoint Strategies or any other DEI related contracts going forward and halt VMI’s implementation of DEI initiatives until a full investigation is performed by the appropriate Commonwealth Agency(ies) to determine whether CRT or other “divisive” training is taking place at the Virginia Military Institute and how these initiatives and any related contract(s) are being funded. All initiatives/contract(s) meeting such criteria should be removed accordingly based on the findings. – “Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order #1” – Superintendent of Public Instruction (SOPI) Jillian Balow Interim Report – VMI Inclusive Excellence – One Virginia Strategic Plan – One Corps – One VMI A Unifying Action Plan – VMI Quarterly Report 1 – Commonwealth’s Equity Audit – DEI Presentation to the VMI BOV by Dr. Janice Underwood – Draft Workbook on DEI – ONE Virginia Plan – “To the Editor – A Farewell to the Shared VMI Identity”; Cadet Newspaper, February 25,2022 edition -SOPI Jillian Balow interim report – Director Angela Sailor on CRT – Dr. Forrest L. Marion, VMI Class of 1980 (article published in the Abbeville Institute Press) – Response to Alumni Association Just the Facts Message regarding CRT – Heritage Foundation report on CRT – Heritage Foundation report on knowing and fighting CRT