Amid controversy, VMI Board of Visitors calls sudden executive session

VMI gate (source: Bacon’s Rebellion)

According to an October 20 press release from a group of concerned VMI alumni and other stakeholders, whose website is protecthonor.comthe executive committee of the VMI Board of Visitors (BOV) will hastily convene a special session of the executive committee on Monday, October 24. This group, which states that its mission is to “support the preservation and enhancement of the VMI experience”, released the following statement:

“In a sudden decision after a week of turmoil at the Virginia Military Institute, the school’s Board of Visitors has suddenly and quietly scheduled a meeting of the VMI Board of Visitors’ Executive Committee for October 24, 2022, time : 2:00-4:00 p.m., in the Virginia Military Institute, boardroom Smith Hall The notice barely met the statutory public notice requirement for such meetings.

“The to remark is vague in revealing the nature of the sudden meeting, stating only, “The affairs of the Virginia Military Institute will be discussed by the participating members.” The notice goes on to say only “This meeting will begin and end as a public meeting and should include a closed session to discuss matters pursuant to Virginia Code Section 2.2-3711(A)(1). Any council actions deemed necessary will occur at the public meeting at the end of the closed session” and “There will be no public comment at this meeting”.

“The published meeting agenda is similarly vague, listing only “Welcoming and Opening Remarks, Discuss Current Issues and Matters Applicable to VMI, a Closed Session Per Virginia Code 2.2-3711 (A) (1), other business and adjournment. “

“The sudden reunion comes amid great controversy following a scathing rebuke by school superintendent Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins this week, who attacked critics who accused his diversity, equity and inclusion policies of being too sweeping and contrary to VMI’s history to debate openly about all aspects of the problems.

“Win calls its detractors, “a group of unhappy former students who want to stir up the worst fears and sow the seeds of discord.” Those who have already contacted VMI and its BOV have in fact requested, repeatedly, that the presentation be broadcast live so that anyone interested can watch and form their own opinion.This was a request that VMI, the VMI Alumni Association and the BOV never responded to.

“Wins’ letter also stated, “Critics have called on executive and legislative leaders to end ‘social indoctrination’ like Dark’s presentation. These are the same critics who just three weeks ago accused the Institute of infringing on their free speech rights. Now they want to do the same to someone who has different opinions from them. In doing so, Wins dismissed the recent warning letter that VMI received from the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) under this program. Neither SPLC nor FIRE were involved in the controversy over Ms. Dark’s presentation and have never claimed that VMI engaged in “social indoctrination”. Instead, he focused on numerous documented cases and a tendency by Major General Wins and his administration to suppress First Amendment rights from cadets.

“The closed session of the BOV is also of interest because the notice states that it is closed in accordance with Virginia Code 2.2-3711 (A) (1). This part of the code (see below) strictly limits in-camera topics to personnel matters, including matters such as hiring, firing, discipline and other issues.

Moreover, in addition to the hasty timing of the meeting and the vagueness that surrounds it, several VMI players are indignant at a lack of transparency that they see from the school’s senior management. One such member said Roanoke’s Star“A number of alumni, parents and other concerned have asked the VMI Board of Visitors to livestream, or at least record, the open portions of the meeting to ensure greater transparency. They also asked the president of the VMI Alumni Association to join their request so that alumni, the public, and other interested people can see the proceedings.Neither the president of the BOV nor any member responded to the Neither the president of the VMI Alumni association nor any representative responded to the request for support. , “At this point, the technical arrangements are not in place to record the meeting.” Programs is unable to set up a live broadcast of a public meeting on campus.

-Scott Dreyer

The relevant text from the Virginia Code is quoted below:

§2.2-3711. Closed meetings permitted for certain limited purposes.

A. Public bodies may hold closed meetings only for the following purposes:

1. Discussion, consideration or interviews with potential job candidates; the assignment, appointment, promotion, performance, demotion, salaries, disciplinary action or resignation of specific public officials, appointees or employees of any public body; and the evaluation of the performance of departments or schools of public institutions of higher education when this evaluation will necessarily involve a discussion of the performance of specific individuals. Any teacher is permitted to be present at a closed meeting at which there is a discussion or review of a disciplinary matter involving the teacher and a student and the student involved in the matter is present , provided that the teacher makes a written request to be presented to the president of the competent council. However, nothing in this subsection shall be construed as authorizing an in camera meeting of a local governing body or elected school board to discuss compensation matters which collectively affect the members of such body or advice.

This story was last updated on 10/22/22.

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