LEXINGTON, Va. – After months of debate, VMI’s Board of Visitors voted Thursday afternoon to move the college’s Stonewall Jackson statue.
Director of Communications and Marketing, Bill Wyatt, said that VMI will move it from “the front of the historic barracks to an appropriate location, perhaps the Battlefield at New Market.” The administration will handle the orderly movement of the statue.
“The board should consider addressing social issues, and that’s what we are here to address today," said J. William Boland, the VMI Board of Visitors president, during the meeting.
Back in July, the military college’s superintendent, Ret. Gen. J.H. Bindford Peay III, announced the decision to not remove any of the school’s Confederate statues.
The Board’s decision comes after Peay’s resignation on Monday after 17 years at the college.
The campus currently has statues of Stonewall Jackson and Francis J. Smith, who both served in the Confederate army, as well as a New Market Monument, which honors the VMI cadets who fought at the Battle of New Market for the Confederacy.
Along with moving the Confederate statue, the board of visitors wants to implement more actions to increase the school’s diversity. They plan on creating a permanent diversity office, establish a building and naming committee, creating diversity initiatives to include a focus on gender and direct the adoption of VMI hiring practices and a diversity hiring plan.
Board Vice President Richard Hines said the public has misperceived what the statue represents, and that misperception does not reflect VMI’s values.