After continued racist incidents on campus, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is launching an investigation into Virginia Military Institute’s campus climate.
Over the years, Black cadets and alumni have experienced a hostile and discriminatory environment.
Recently, an alumni filed a complaint against a former professor who discussed “her father’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan and how they had ‘the best parties ever.’” On Facebook, a former battalion operations and training sergeant Carmelo Echevarria Colon III criticized the Black Lives Matter movement in June, the Washington Post reported.
Additionally, statues of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and Francis H. Smith remain on campus. Of VMI’s 1,700 students, Black cadets make up 8% of the population, according to the Post.
“Black cadets at VMI have long faced repeated instances of racism on campus, including horrifying new revelations of threats about lynching, vicious attacks on social media, and even a professor who spoke fondly of her family’s history in the Ku Klux Klan—to say nothing of inconsistent application of the Institute’s Honor Code,” according to a letter co-written by Northam. “In addition, VMI cadets continue to be educated in a physical environment that honors the Confederacy and celebrates an inaccurate and dangerous ‘Lost Cause’ version of Virginia’s history. It is long past time to consign these relics to the dustbin of history.”