VMI’s First Black Superintendent Blasts Those Criticizing School’s Move To Improve Racial Diversity Equity Reform

VMI’s First Black Superintendent Blasts Those Criticizing School’s Move To Improve Racial Diversity Equity Reform

Gen. Cedric T. Wins, the first Black superintendent at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) blasted a White alumnus who questioned the school’s push for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

According to the Washington Post, Carmen D. Villani Jr., a member of VMI’s Class of 1976, urged fellow graduates to question the state legislature and “look very seriously” at an extra $6.1 million in funding for the school, which received $21.6 million in state funding for this academic school year. Villani also warned Critical Race Theory (CRT) has “entered into the VMI realm.”

The additional funds were requested by Wins to pay for a host of reforms after a state investigation uncovered a culture of racism and sexism at VMI. If the funds are approved, they will go toward an expanded Title IX and diversity offices, three admissions counselors, and an ongoing effort to rebrand and re-contextualize the college’s numerous Confederate tributes. The funds will also be used to support other initiatives including student health, barracks safety and security.

“Mr. Villani,” Wins wrote on a public VMI Facebook group for parents, cadets, and alumni that boasts more than 3,700 members. “You advised the listeners to urge the members of the General Assembly to ‘look very seriously’ at VMI’s funding request, a request you have no understanding about. VMI’s funding request will pale in comparison to that of the other public colleges in the state. You have no understanding of [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] or what it means, or how much of the funding for DEI is represented in our request.”

Wins, who graduated from VMI in 1985, added Villani’s claim of CRT being taught at VMI was “categorically false.”

VMI has a long history of racism and sexism. Black students weren’t admitted until 1968 and women weren’t admitted until 1997. Today just 6 percent of its 1,650 cadets are Black;  Women make up 14 percent of the student body.

Villani, wrote a new post on Facebook several days later saying he spoke to Wins in the aftermath of his original post and they were “able to find some common ground.”

In his 14 months as superintendent, Wins attempts to make changes in diversity at VMI has seen resistance from several groups, including wealthy alumni who have formed a political action committee (PAC), The Spirit of VMI, who endorsed Republican Glenn Youngkin for governor.

Since the PAC was formed, it has criticized and mocked many of the VMI’s reforms, including the removal of a statue of Stonewall Jackson.