Published: November 30, 2020
The Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors’ newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee met for the first time today. Members of the committee approved a charter for the committee after consultation with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Dr. Janice Underwood, and secretary of education, Atif Qarni.
“This committee meeting is an important first step for the Virginia Military Institute,” said committee chair, Mike Hamlar. “VMI’s unique system of education plays an important role in producing leaders of character for the commonwealth and the nation. Our committee’s oversight will help to ensure the VMI experience is accessible and equitable to all regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion.”
The committee’s approved charter states: VMI Board of Visitors’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee shall be responsible for the oversight of all matters relating to the Institutes excellence in diversity across all programs and departments. This Committee shall:
- Consist of Board of Visitors members, and may also include ex-officio non-voting member representatives from the VMI faculty, staff, Corps of Cadets, Alumni, staff from the Alumni Agencies and others, as the Board President deems appropriate;
- Reference in all decisions VMI’s Mission and method of education;
- Review the Institute’s inclusivity performance and commonality of purpose, and compliance with the Institute’s statement on equity and maintenance of a welcoming and affirming environment; and
- Timely review reports on gender and ethnicity data related to recruitment, admissions, and composition of the Corps of Cadets, faculty, and staff.
The committee also had a discussion with Secretary Qarni and Dr. Underwood implementing diversity initiatives within higher education. Additionally, the committee discussed progress made in the process of hiring a chief diversity officer for the Institute. The committee will work closely with the new position once it is filled. The Institute will begin soliciting for candidates very soon.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is comprised of the following Board of Visitors members:
- Mike Hamlar, chair
- Lara Chambers ’03 – Vice Chair
- Gen. (retired) Charles Dominy
- Lester Johnson ’95
- Scott Marsh ’81
- Dave Miller ’70
- Joe Reeder
- Tom Watjen ’76
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, as well as the ad hoc Commemorations and Memorials Naming and Review Committee, are part of the Institute’s continued efforts toward diversity and inclusion as set forth in the 29 July letter on the way forward.