Virginia Higher Ed State Council Vice Chair Resigns in Protest of VMI Investigation Handling

The vice chair of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Tom Slater resigned Tuesday in protest over the handling of the independent investigation into Virginia Military Institute (VMI), The Roanoke Times reported.

Slater told council members that he was disappointed that VMI superintendent Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins has not been offered a meeting with the law firm investigating the school – Barnes & Thornburg – and the state council to discuss findings and recommendations before the report is made public.

“I can think of no instance where an audit has been performed and recommendations made where the investigative body does not meet and confer with the college’s leadership to make certain that the proposed recommendations make sense, are not punitive, and would advance the mission of the particular college and the commonwealth before that report is released to the public,” Slater said.

Slater is a 1966 VMI graduate and an attorney at the Richmond law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth.

The investigation into VMI started four months ago amid racism allegations, and the final report – including recommendations – is expected to be released in coming weeks.

VMI spokesman Bill Wyatt said that B&T investigators said in January they would share findings and recommendations before the report’s publication. But several weeks later, the lead investigator said that would no longer be the case, Wyatt added.

“While we are willing to meet with VMI, we cannot agree to share our draft findings with VMI, the subject of the inquiry, particularly where VMI has stated that the purpose of that meeting would be to influence our findings before they become final,” the law firm wrote.


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