W&L Alumni Rebels Deploy Nuclear Option

by James A. Bacon

The Generals Redoubt, an association of alumni protesting the leftist drift of Washington & Lee University, scored a seeming victory earlier this year when the W&L Board voted to keep Lee — as in Confederate general and former university president Robert E. Lee — in the school’s name. But subsequent events have made clear that Lee’s name is about the only traditional element that the university intends to uphold.

After two or more years of issuing op-eds, letters, videos and other forms of persuasion to get President Will Dudley and the W&L Board to protect long-held values, the Generals Redoubt is demanding Dudley’s resignation and calling for a cessation of all donations to the private, liberal arts university. Here follows the letter distributed to alumni and friends. (For those not familiar with W&L, the Generals is the name of the school’s athletic teams.) — JAB

Generals! Out from the Redoubt.

Yes, the name has been retained, but the W&L we remember remains in name only.

The whitewashing of Robert E. Lee from the school is nearly complete – his name has been removed from his chapel; the doors to his recumbent statue have been closed and his face has been removed from diplomas. The takeover of the school by those who are opposed to freedom of speech, intolerant of opposing views and who are hostile to the school’s historical values is nearly complete as well.

We know this to be true from our own experiences and from hundreds of students and parents who have written The Generals Redoubt with examples of how honor, civility, diversity of thought and respect for one’s fellow community members are now being denigrated on campus, ironically often in the name of diversity and inclusion. Violations of honor that comport to the Administration’s beliefs are left uninvestigated. Faculty are allowed to publicly engage in unprofessional and unethical behavior for which most students would be sanctioned or expelled. Dozens of parents and students have written us to express their fears of academic and other forms of retribution by professors who are hostile to these students’ political and other views. This is not the W&L any of us remember.

It’s become clear that the name was retained by the Board of Trustees as they knew it would have been economic suicide to have done otherwise as the majority of alumni, parents and other supporters of the school didn’t want the name changed. By retaining the name, they have convinced many of their supposed loyalty to the school’s traditions, insincerely soothing the concerned and convincing them to keep their checkbooks open. Yet, at the time of the announcement and on numerous occasions since, the Board, President Dudley, and Rector McAlevey have stated their determination to continue on their current deleterious path with which most of us disagree.

This two-faced approach allows them to continue to take your money while changing the school to suit their ideological objectives. But don’t be fooled: it’s obvious that once they have your money, achieved their objectives, and ruined the school you remember – which they are largely succeeding in doing – they will later change the name. Heads they win; tails you lose.

This. Must. Be. Stopped! And Our Goals Are Clear!

  • The toxic ideological drift of the school must be stopped before the school is irrevocably damaged and its uniqueness permanently obscured.
  • The leadership of the school must be changed, several layers deep.
  • New leadership must be identified that more accurately reflects the culture, values, and history of the school and the views of the majority of its alumni while progressively leading it forward to greater success

Therefore, we, the Generals Redoubt, are calling for:

  • Will Dudley to resign or be terminated.
  • Rector McAlevey to resign or be removed.
  • A new president to be recruited who better reflects the historical values of the school and the majority of its alumni.
  • Provost Lena Hill to resign or be terminated.
  • Dean of the College Chawne Kimber to resign or be terminated.
  • The Alumni Office to be separated from the Development Office and become again the voice of and an association for the alumni and not the extension of and the mouthpiece for the fundraising apparatus of the school

Until these conditions are satisfied, we are further asking for:

  • The cessation of all donations to W&L. It is clear the BOT is most concerned with money as it needs your financial support to implement its misguided objectives. Discontinue underwriting their agenda until the necessary changes are made that better align with the vast majority of you. This and only this will get their full attention.
  • The resignation of all class agents. While well-intentioned, your efforts are enabling the current administration. Stop helping the school raise money until it has new leadership and a new direction. We encourage all reunion committee members to stop raising funds on behalf of the school as well.