Published: May 11, 2022
June 7 Letter from Sam Stocks ’90, Alumni Association President
As promised, the VMI Alumni Association has posted the revised slate for the June 11 election for Regional and At Large Directors. Each nominee was vetted by the VMI Alumni Association Board of Directors Nominating Committee in accordance with the Alumni Association bylaws and the process and procedures set forth on our website May 11. The new slate and bios can be found on this web page.
The meeting June 11 will be short and simple. The doors will open to Cameron Hall at 9:30 a.m., and the meeting will begin promptly at 10 a.m. We will review the process, then alumni in good standing will mark their ballots. No one will be admitted to the meeting once the voting process begins. We will collect and scan the ballots, and the results will be announced and posted by June 14. No further nominations will be received at the meeting.
I think it is appropriate to provide some context for this meeting and why it is occurring. The Alumni Association held its normal Annual Members Meeting to elect these positions April 9 in Lexington. During this meeting, a group of approximately 60 frustrated alumni arrived and demanded the entire board be replaced. They did not share their concerns in advance with me; David Prasnicki, Alumni Agencies chief executive officer; nor members on the Executive Committee.
The board was totally blindsided, and the meeting unfortunately devolved from there. Attempts to have a discussion with the group during the meeting failed, as no leader could speak with full authority for the group. Because of the disruption, the board was unable to complete their business. We have now reassessed nominations, and we will elect the new slate at our meeting Saturday.
Since the Annual Members Meeting and continuing to today, hardworking volunteer members of the Board of Directors have been subjected to personal attacks regarding their service to the alumni network and, in turn, cadets and the Institute. We have had no less than three direct threats of litigation: Two from specific individuals, and one signed by a small group of alumni. We have tried to reach out and have discussions to better understand the group’s concerns and even possibly reach accommodation, but no response was received.
Finally, we would like to set the record straight on some of the misinformation currently circulating in emails and on social media. In the past couple of years, the board has taken extraordinary steps to support VMI alumni and the Institute. Here are some examples:
Alumni Agencies Operations
• Our efforts to inform the entire alumni base over the last four years have increased significantly with the investment in and development of a new office of communications. New communications include: Turnouts, a monthly digital newsletter; regular email updates to class agents, chapter presidents, and board members from the Alumni Association chief operating officer; monthly town hall Zoom meetings; Just the Facts emails; and a robust social media plan.
• Although we have received requests to do so, we do not share email contact lists. The VMI Alumni Agencies has always—and will always—protect personal contact and donor information of alumni and members of the VMI family.
• All appropriate financial reports are provided on our website and have been for several years. They can be found here.
• As always, any alumnus/a in good standing can request a copy of the bylaws by a simple phone call and receive them via email. In addition, they are now posted on the Alumni Agencies website.
• Due to the size of the town hall meetings, the meetings were moved to a presentation platform that required submission of questions. Following these meetings, many questions were answered by personal calls by the Alumni Agencies CEO and leadership staff, as well as by email response.
• Our combined efforts with the Institute secured and protected the core values and tenants of our cherished VMI system. The single-sanction honor code, the regimental and class systems, and the rigorous Rat Line still stand strong today.During the investigation, the Alumni Agencies:
– coordinated pro bono counsel for cadets who were interviewing with the investigative team throughout the investigation.
– provided counsel to any alumni who chose to interview with the investigative team, up to and including attending the interview with them if that was desired.
– commissioned the VMI Alumni Agencies Report on the Status and Future of the Institute that was released to the press, all alumni, and the public on the same day as the Barnes & Thornburg Report on the Investigation.
• The Alumni Agencies spent tens of thousands of dollars defending the strength of the Institute and Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, Superintendent Emeritus, by purchasing full page and half page ads across the region, to include in The Washington Post. We collaborated on a series of print and television news interviews with Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85, superintendent, to include Good Morning America.
• The VMI Alumni Agencies supported Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85, superintendent, traveling to multiple events and open meetings across the country to provide forums to alumni to ask questions regarding the direction of the Institute. He also provided remarks and had open forums for questions on post, and he repeatedly announced his open door invite to come to post.
It is our desire to have as many alumni in good standing as possible attend the June 11 meeting and vote. I look forward to seeing those present Saturday, knowing we all share the same goals: To maintain our bonds as alumni—even when we disagree—and to serve the Institute.
Samuel N. Stocks ’90
VMI Alumni Association
May 11 Letter from Sam Stocks ’90, Alumni Association President
Using the buttons below, please find the Notice of a Special Meeting of the Members of the VMI Alumni Association, the Nomination and Election Process for the Special Meeting of the Members, the Nomination Form, and other meeting resources. The special meeting will be held June 11, 2022, at 10 a.m. in Cameron Hall.
The sole purpose of the June 11 meeting is to complete the unfinished business of the April 9 meeting to elect six Directors At Large and five Regional Directors to the Board of Directors (BOD). The business of the April 9 meeting was not completed due to an effort by some in attendance to force a vote to remove members of the Board of Directors. On the advice of counsel, this attempt was determined to not be in compliance with the Alumni Association’s bylaws or the laws of Virginia, so it was officially ruled out of order.
At the June 11 meeting, you should expect an orderly vote guided by the bylaws and state law, to which we will adhere without exception. Alumni in good standing will have the opportunity to vote as described in the process.
The Nominating Committee spent weeks of exploration, review, and discussion to arrive at the BOD’s original slate. They are charged to seek out members who have been actively engaged in the VMI Alumni Association and have demonstrated a track record of involvement at the chapter level and through other activities. Using the process found within the meeting resources, additional nominations may be submitted as noted for the Nominating Committee to consider.
Other than voting on the Regional Director slate and the Director at Large positions, no other business will be considered or conducted at this meeting.
As volunteer alumni leaders for more than 99 chapters globally, we are here to support the alumni family by keeping them informed, facilitating engagement with other alumni, and to inspire support for the mission of the Institute to graduate leaders of character for the future. We will continue to remain focused on these worthy goals.
Samuel N. Stocks ’90
VMI Alumni Association