Editor’s Note: This message was first communicated with alumni and friends of VMI via email Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.
Dear VMI Family:
On Jan. 29, I had the opportunity to meet with the VMI Board of Visitors to discuss my preliminary assessment of our culture, policies, and procedures. It was a productive conversation as we embark on this time of transition. During our meeting, I laid out for them a series of five outcomes as we move the Institute forward.
These outcomes – honor, diversity and inclusion, a VMI-defined brand, competing and winning, and a unified VMI – will be the focus of my time as interim superintendent. You will hear more about each one as we put tasks behind them in the coming months. For now, please take a minute to learn more by watching this video.
As you may have seen this morning, I sat down for an interview with Ian Shapira from The Washington Post earlier in the week. During my interview with the Post, I reiterated my commitment to the Honor Code as it stands: A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do. This is foundational to the Institute and in the individual lives of each cadet. As such, I will continue to vigorously defend and retain our single sanction honor system. When asked, however, about whether there will be changes to the Honor System, I told the Post that I am reviewing the process by which we adjudicate honor violations to ensure that it allows for those accused to mount a legitimate defense and to ensure fairness to all those involved.
Mr. Shapira also focused on our single sanction punishment for Honor Code violations as it has become the last of its kind in the country. I expressed my intention to maintain the single sanction, as it prepares our cadets for real-life consequences of a lack of honor in the boardroom or on the battlefield. Finally, the Post suggested that our drum-out ceremonies are humiliating and unnecessary. What he fails to realize is that the drum-out ceremony has little to do with the former cadet but rather serves as a reminder of the commitment to honor made by those cadets who remain. It also re-emphasizes personal gain does not supersede personal honor.
A full transcript of the interview is available for your review here.
Thank you for your continued support of and dedication to the Institute. Together, we are changing the lives of many cadets, developing leaders, and creating a lasting impact on our Commonwealth and our nation.
Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85
U.S. Army (Retired)