VMI will not remove Confederate statues or rename buildings

School's superintendent announced the decision on Wednesday

LEXINGTON, Va. – Rather than remove its past, VMI plans to focus on its future.

The military college’s superintendent, Ret. Gen. J.H. Bindford Peay III, announced the decision to neither remove Confederate statues nor rename any buildings as part of a seven-page letter.

On campus are statues of Stonewall Jackson and Francis H. Smith, who both served in the Confederate army. There is also the New Market Monument, which honors the VMI cadets who fought at the Battle of New Market for the Confederacy.

Peay said that VMI, which has been around for nearly 200 years, will emphasize the Institute’s second century.

We do not currently intend to remove any VMI statues or rename any VMI buildings. Rather, in the future we will emphasize recognition of leaders from the Institute’s second century.We will place unvarnished context on the value and lessons to be learned from the Institute’s rich heritage, while being mindful of the nation’s challenges and sensitivities to being fair and inclusive to all. Nevertheless, this and other issues related to the Plan will be discussed in the September Board of Visitors meeting.

Ret. Gen. J.H. Bindford Peay III, VMI Superintendent

Peay’s letter breaks down a plan which breaks down into five pillars.

  1. Education
  2. VMI Corps of Cadets
  3. Promote Increased Commissioning
  4. VMI Symbology
  5. Alumni

Peay said that these pillars will be integrated into VMI’s Strategic Vision 2039.