The Spirit of VMI Political Action Committee (SoVP), formed by Virginia Military Institute alumni in response to the Governor Ralph Northam-ordered VMI racism investigation, has endorsed the Republican slate of candidates for statewide office — Glenn Youngkin for Governor, Winsome Sears for Lieutenant Governor, and Jason Miyares for Attorney General.
In making endorsements, VMI alumni have taken a different tack from dissident alumni at the University of Virginia and Washington & Lee University. The “woke” revolution transforming higher education across the country is being forced upon VMI from the outside, in contrast to the implementation of Critical Race Theory (cultural Marxism, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, or whatever you want to call it) which originates internally at other institutions. Neither the Jefferson Council at UVa nor the Generals’ Redoubt at W&L have engaged in electoral politics.
Although alumni activists at VMI express differences with the military academy’s administration and Board of Visitors, they do not regard VMI leadership as the enemy. They acknowledge that Superintendent Cedric Wins and the Board of Visitors are under intense pressure from Northam and Democratic legislators, who control the public purse strings, and the Washington Post, which has published an unrelenting barrage of negative articles, to fall in line with other public universities in adopting a social-justice agenda.
VMI relies upon state support for roughly one-fifth of its operating budget, not to mention financial aid for students and bonding capacity for major capital improvements. State politicians have the power to cripple the Institute financially.
Members of the Class of 1985 banded together to form the PAC, and they have been reaching out to other alumni who are appalled by the racism investigation. The Barnes & Thornburg report relies upon anecdotal stories and cherry-picked data to portray the Institute as racist and sexist. Far from being racist, say Spirit of VMI PAC leaders, VMI’s adversarial “rat line” and military training are a leveling force. The grueling experience makes racial, ethnic and class differences trivial by comparison.
The Spirit of VMI PAC is non-partisan, willing to support candidates of either party who express support for their goals. However, only Republican candidates for statewide office responded to interview requests. All were supportive of VMI. Said Youngkin: “As governor, I want everyone to know that I will support VMI and that it continues in the great tradition that we have already experienced.”
Readers can access links to videos of candidate interviews here.