VMI Board Votes To Remove Jackson Statue, Takes Other Actions

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2 p.m. - VMI just released the following statement about today's actions by the board of visitors:

"The VMI Board of Visitors today took bold and unanimous action to move VMI forward.  The Board ordered the statue of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson moved from the front of the historic barracks to an appropriate location, perhaps the Battlefield at New Market. The VMI administration will handle the orderly movement of the statue.  Additionally, a permanent diversity officer will be appointed at VMI and a permanent diversity and inclusion committee will be established on the Board of Visitors. The Board has also established a search committee which will be led by board member Gene Scott to identify VMI’s next superintendent.

In other action, the Board, created a permanent diversity office; established a building and naming committee; created diversity initiatives to include a focus on gender;  directed the adoption of VMI hiring practices and a diversity hiring plan.

J. William “Bill” Boland, president of the Board of Visitors, stated, “I am proud of the commitment by the VMI family to continue fulfilling our mission. VMI, like all aspects of society, must honestly address historical inequities and be intentional about creating a better future.  We care deeply about the individual experiences of all of our cadets and alumni. Our mission is just as important today, and tomorrow, as it has been for 181 years.”

1:10 p.m. Thursday - The Virginia Military Institute board of visitors today voted to remove the statue of Confederate General and pre-Civil War VMI professor Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson from the VMI parade ground.

VMI spokesman Bill Wyatt confirmed the news, noting that the board is still meeting and that a statement on the decision will follow.

The statue has been at the forefront of the debate over racism issues at VMI for years, a symbol of the school’s ties to the Confederacy.

The vote comes just days after the resignation of Superintendent Gen. J.H. Binford Peay Jr., who took that step, he said, at the request of Gov. Ralph Northam and “certain legislative leaders.”

His resignation followed the announcement by Northam the week before that he and other top state leaders would “direct and independent, third-party review of VMI’s culture, policies practices and equity in disciplinary procedures.”

The News-Gazette

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