Tag Archives: Joseph D. Elie

VMI Eschews Standards of Excellence, Devalues Diploma

by Joseph D. Elie

As an alumnus living in Florida, I have a dearth of information about what is happening at the Virginia Military Institute on a day-to-day basis.

I see the superficial social media postings from the public relations department, the Superintendent, and the Commandant; but I crave the scuttlebutt that tells the truer story.

The recent editorial, “Class of 25: The Elephant in the Room,” in The Cadet was very enlightening, provided much-needed insight and served, in effect, as a detailed report on the Institute.

The editorial also revealed why the administration didn’t want a student newspaper committing acts of journalism – as it validated my own suspicion that Breakout and the entire Rat Line itself have been rendered much less difficult.

From this year’s Breakout videos, the Rats seemed to merely be going through the motions when compared with videos from past Breakouts. The energy, enthusiasm, and the spirit were gone.

The Cadet editorial outlines how VMI’s core standards have been made less rigorous for the sake of maintaining the enrollment retention rate, particularly with regard to the nature and rigor of the Rat Line.

The Rat Line energizes the entire Corps of Cadets. It is an annual rite of passage that the upper classes have historically zealously preserved.

The Rat Line was once extremely difficult to complete and doing so resulted in justifiable pride and a tremendous boost of self-confidence.

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