An independent investigation of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) released last Tuesday found a culture of racism and sexism, resistance to change and fear of retaliation among those who want to report bigotry or sexual misconduct, The Washington Post reported.
“This investigation found that institutional racism and sexism are present, tolerated, and left unaddressed at VMI. The racist and misogynistic acts and outcomes uncovered during this investigation are disturbing,” according to the report from lawyers at law firm Barnes & Thornburg. “Although VMI has no explicitly racist or sexist policies that it enforces, the facts reflect an overall racist and sexist culture.”
Racial slurs and racist jokes are not uncommon and are sometimes excused by admins based on lack of diversity in upbringing, the report noted. About 42% of Black cadets said Black students were discriminated against “a lot.”
The report also noted that sexual assault is prevalent at the institution. About 14% of female cadets reported having been sexually assaulted and 63% of female cadets said another cadet had confided they had been sexually assaulted.
Cadets of colors – 23% of the school’s student body over the past decade – represented 41% of cadets dismissed for violating the school’s honor code.
The report recommended requiring VMI to develop a reform plan and to submit quarterly reports to the state on progress.