VMI Superintendent Resigns Amid Racism Investigation

October 27, 2020

Retired general J. H. Binford Peay III, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., resigned Monday after Virginia governor Ralph Northam initiated a probe into “relentless racism” at the institute, The Washington Post reported.

In his resignation letter, Peay told John Boland, president of VMI’s Board of Visitors, that Northam and state legislators had “lost confidence in my leadership” and “desired my resignation,” according to the Post. Peay had served as superintendent since 2003.

Last week Northam -- who graduated from VMI in 1981 -- and other state officials co-wrote a letter to the Board of Visitors announcing the third-party review of VMI’s culture, policies, practices and equity in disciplinary procedures. The letter also described allegations of racism and violent threats.

“Black cadets at VMI have long faced repeated instances of racism on campus, including horrifying new revelations of threats about lynching, vicious attacks on social media, and even a professor who spoke fondly of her family’s history in the Ku Klux Klan -- to say nothing of inconsistent application of the Institute’s Honor Code,” Northam and others wrote in the letter.

Boland and Peay have both publicly denied that the military college is systemically racist.

The 181-year-old military college enrolls about 1,700 students. About 8 percent of the students are Black.

Brigadier General Robert Moreschi, deputy superintendent for academics and dean of faculty, will serve as acting superintendent.

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