Education agency vice chair resigns over VMI probe

One of the top leaders at Virginia's higher education agency resigned over the handling of the investigation into reports of racism at VMI.

LEXINGTON, Va. – The vice chair of Virginia’s coordinating agency for higher education is resigning over the handling of the investigation into Virginia Military Institute.

The Roanoke Times reports that Tom Slater, vice chair of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, resigned Tuesday.

Slater, a VMI graduate and attorney, told council members that he was “disappointed” that VMI Superintendent Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins won’t have a chance to meet with the law firm investigating the college and the state council to discuss the findings and recommendations before the report becomes public.

“SCHEV should be lending its hand to this fine man, not turning its back on him,” Slater said.

The investigation sparked by allegations of racism at the state-funded military college began four months ago. In March, an interim report documented responses from alumni, current cadets and faculty about witnessing or experiencing racism and sexism. The final report, which will include recommendations, is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

“We continue to focus on cooperating with the investigation as it wraps up we’ve requested to see the findings of the recommendations and findings and recommendations prior to the report being published, whether that happens or not VMI is hoping that the report is objective, and factual and provides useful recommendations for the institute to build on our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that we’ve made over the past several years,” VMI Spokesperson Bill Wyatt said.

Initially, investigators said they would share their findings and recommendations before the report’s publication, but weeks later, the lead investigator said that would no longer be the case, VMI spokesman Bill Wyatt said.