The director of a major US military academy resigned his post on Monday after the governor of Virginia ordered an investigation into accusations of systemic racism at the school.
In a letter published by the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), retired General JH Binford Peay III said Democratic Governor Ralph Northam had “lost confidence in my leadership” and “wanted me to resign.”
Peay, 80, had headed one of the country’s oldest military universities for 17 years.
Since the death of African American George Floyd in a police arrest in May, the United States military – one of the nation’s institutions where minorities are most represented – has opened up a great internal debate on the race.
Black students and VMI graduates shared incidents on social media where school officials were allegedly indifferent to racist slurs from their fellow cadets, undeserved punishment, or even racist reflections from teachers.
Last month, The Root magazine published interviews with several black students at VMI. One of them recounted how a teacher affectionately mentioned her father, a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Another described how first-year cadets are ordered to salute a statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, a general who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the American Civil War, whenever they pass.
Northam last week ordered an investigation into “the clear and appalling cultivation of structural racism underway at the Virginia Military Institute,” which receives public funding.
Black VMI cadets told The Root that they had protested “against the glorification of Confederation,” but said the school administration would not recognize the racist nature of the institution’s culture. rather calling it “tradition”.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)