The oldest senior military college in the US has found itself embroiled in a very modern form of cultural warfare, after a group of alumni organized a campaign furiously protesting the school’s recent diversity push.
The controversy at the Virginia Military Institute has been simmering since October 2020, when then-Governor Ralph Northam ordered a probe into reports of widespread racism at the institution, and the school’s board voted to remove a Confederate statue on campus.
In a twist of fate, the two sides in the VMI culture war are led by ‘brother rats’, as VMI classmates are known, who both graduated from the college in 1985, according to a Washington Post report on Tuesday.
The belligerents are retired Army Major General Cedric T. Wins, 59, who is VMI’s first black superintendent, and Matt Daniel, 60, a white former Marine who founded a PAC dubbed ‘Spirit of VMI’ that has launched ads and lobbying efforts opposing Wins’ diversity push.
‘Reject the woke assault on VMI, close ranks,’ one of the PAC’s websites states, adding: ‘We stand for a strong VMI with a proud history and a bright future.’
VMI Superintendent Cedric T. Wins (left) has faced opposition to the school’s diversity initiatives from Matt Daniel (right), his former VMI classmate.