The report on the Virginia Military Institute appears amid ongoing efforts to eliminate racism and sexual assault in the U.S. military.
A prominent U.S. military institute has not addressed racism and institutional sexism, inclusive sexual assault, according to a report urging the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to take responsibility for making long-term changes.
The 145-page report (PDF), published Tuesday and prepared by independent law firm Barnes & Thornburg at the request of the Virginia State Board of Higher Education, states that “racial jokes and jokes are not uncommon” and “contribute to an atmosphere of hostility toward minorities “.
A white cadet is said to hear the “n-word” that other white cadets speak up to “10 times a day from several people, that’s not an exaggeration.”
Sexual assault is also common, but is improperly addressed in the VMI, according to the report. A survey also found that 14 percent of female cadets reported being sexually assaulted, while 63 percent said a fellow cadet had told them they had been sexually assaulted.
The report also noted an “issue of mistrust towards VMI’s ability to effectively investigate sexual assaults” reported by the cadets.
“The racist and misogynistic acts and results uncovered during this investigation are disturbing,” he stated. “While VMI has no explicitly racist or sexist policies in place, the facts reflect a general racist and sexist culture.”
Similar concerns have been raised throughout the U.S. military, which it is trying to eliminate racist symbols and names of their bases and dealing with sexual assaults in their ranks. U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a review of the military’s sexual assault policies in January and has vowed to address them. “Flagell” of sexual assault to the armed forces.
VMI was founded in 1839 in Lexington, a historic town in the Shenandoah Valley, west of Virginia. The school trained Generals George Patton and George Marshall. But the institution is also indelibly linked to the history of the nation’s racism and sexism.
A highlight statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who taught at the school, was not retired until December. VMI did not accept African Americans until 1968 nor did it accept women until after a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The report notes that VMI has begun to make changes, but also says the institute “will likely follow the promised reforms only if it is forced to do so.”
The findings follow a month-long probe sorted by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and other state officials after The Washington Post reported that black cadets and alumni faced “relentless racism” in high school.
In a statement, VMI’s first black superintendent, retired U.S. Army Major General Cedric T Wins, said the school has no place for racism and sexism and has developed an action plan after “deep immersions” in school policies.
Wins said the report’s recommendations “will be evaluated through the goal of the VMI mission and our unique educational method and, where appropriate, will be integrated.”
“The Institute will move forward and be better for this chapter of our history,” he said.
In anticipation of the report’s release, VMI issued a statement acknowledging incidents of racism and said the school “cannot fulfill its mission of producing polite and honorable men and women if it allows racism or bias is not controlled “.
VMI highlighted its recent efforts to address the issues, including the creation in October of a committee focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. He also said he would soon hire his first head of diversity and create a cadet-led cultural awareness training program.