by the staff of The Cadet
The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Rat Mass of 2024+3 is now the Class of ’27. That recognition brings a time to pause and reflect on the past and future of what was and is no longer. The mantle will soon pass to the Class of ’25 for their Ratline next year and it is time to address “the elephant in the room.” Unless ’25 brings it back, the Ratline will continue to degrade into a risk-averse basic training curriculum providing little more to incoming Cadets than how to march and endlessly repeating the Inscription on the Parapet and the VMI Mission. While the knowledge and understanding of this information is important for a Rat undergoing our indoctrination phase, what value does it provide if Rats do not have the time management skills, self-discipline, or physical ability to compete in our academic and military environment?
It was the administration, not the First Class, that dictated the date for “breakout.” The activities were known well in advance not only by Rats but by parents who asked on social media how they could attend. The much advertised “fakeout” (fake breakout) to try and add a little mystery was an open secret, and directly pinpointed the true date of “breakout.” Though the First Class, and especially the Rat Disciplinary Committee (RDC), worked hard, a majority of the Corps were not involved in the event that took place on Tuesday afternoon, starting around 2:00 p.m., and only lasted several hours. Turnout for the Second Class sweat party was weak, at best. Professors scheduled exams the next day requiring many to choose between participation and their grades. Coaches and (the senior cadets who mentor Rats) in NCAA programs were notified and briefed on the events, of which they immediately informed their freshman players. Rats were not even required to fill the sandbags used to depict their class year in the photo. They are now returning to storage until needed for the next spectacle.
The administration stated the main Rat Mass priority is “retention” with the Dean continuing to brief the Board of Visitors (BOV) on the failing numbers for Corps and, especially Rat Grade Point Averages (GPAs). An increasing number of Cadets who would normally be placed on academic suspension are being held in the Corps, while the Dean advocates for General Order 1 restrictions on Corps events that limits the “leadership laboratory” experience of VMI to no more than a few hours a week.
The Blue Book and other official documents have now expunged the term “Rat” in favor of “New Cadet.” Photos soliciting donations in the name of “One VMI” show cadets packing stands for basketball and football while first Class Ratline activities were canceled in favor of mandatory attendance at those games. Continue reading