Report on Virginia Military Institute comes amid ongoing efforts to eradicate racism and sexual assault in the U.S. military.
A Prominent Military Institute in the United States Has Failed to Address Institutional Racism and Sexism, Including sexual assault, according to a report released Tuesday that holds the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) accountable for making long-term changes.
The 145-page report (PDF), compiled by the independent law firm Barnes & Thornburg at the request of the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia, states that ‘racial barriers and jokes are not uncommon’ and ‘contributes to an atmosphere of hostility towards minorities’.
One white cadet is quoted as saying that he hears the n-word spoken by other white cadets up to ‘ten times a day by different people, it is not exaggerated’.
Sexual assault is also common, but is not adequately addressed in the VMI, the report said. A survey also found that 14 percent of female cadets were sexually assaulted, while 63 percent said a fellow cadet told them he or she was a victim of sexual assault.
The report also includes a ‘theme of distrust of VMI’s ability to investigate sexual assaults effectively’, reported by cadets.
“The racist and misogynistic acts and outcomes discovered during this investigation are disturbing,” the statement said. “While VMI has no explicit racist or sexist policies that enforce it, the facts reflect an overall racist and sexist culture.”
Similar concerns have been raised by the entire U.S. military, which is trying to remove them. racist symbols and names from his bases and deals with sexual assault in his ranks. U.S. President Joe Biden in January ordered a review of the military’s sexual assault policy and promised to “Plague” of sexual assault in the army.
VMI was founded in 1839 in Lexington, a historic city in the Shenandoah Valley in West Virginia. The school trained Generals George Patton and George Marshall. But the institution is also indelibly linked to the nation’s history of racism and sexism.
A celebrity Statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who taught the school, was only taken down in December. VMI only accepted African Americans or women in 1968 after a 1996 Supreme Court ruling.
The report notes that VMI has begun to make changes, but it also says the institute “is likely to follow through on its promised reforms if forced to do so”.
The findings follow a months-long investigation conducted by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and other government officials after The Washington Post reported that black cadets and alumni faced “relentless racism” at the institute.
In a statement, VMI’s first black superintendent, retired Major General of the U.S. Army, Cedric T Wins, said the school had no place for racism and sexism, and that he had drawn up an action plan following ‘ deep dive ‘into the school’s policy.
Profit said the report’s recommendations would be “assessed on the basis of the VMI mission and our unique education method, and, where appropriate, integrated”.
“The Institute will move forward and will be better because of this chapter in our history,” he said.
Pending the release of the report, VMI issued a statement acknowledging incidents of racism, saying the school “could not fulfill its mission to produce educated and honorable men and women if it allows racism or prejudice to go unnoticed” not”.
VMI highlights its recent efforts to address the issues, including the establishment in October of a committee focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. It also said it would soon appoint its first chief diversity officer and lead a cultural awareness training program among cadets.