VMI no longer names expelled students during ‘drum out’ ritual

Campus officials said the ceremony is meant to remind students of the honor code

VMI is changing an historic ritual on post.

LEXINGTON, Va. – The Virginia Military Institute will no longer name expelled students during their middle of the night “drum out” ceremony.

The over 100+ years old ritual involved waking up the entire corps of cadets to the sound of beating drums.

Part of that ritual has been the naming of recently expelled cadets.

That will no longer happen.

Campus officials tell WSLS 10 News the ceremony is meant to remind students of the honor code they have agreed to follow.

“General Wins has stated on many occasions that we need to revisit all of our policies and procedures to make sure they are fair and equitable for everybody involved, explained Col. Bill Wyatt. “This is just part of that process that he’s going through.”

Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins presented these changes to the Board of Visitors in January.

VMI would not tell us the last time a “drum out” ceremony was held – citing the privacy of cadet disciplinary matters.

The change to the ritual is being made amid a state-ordered investigation into racism on the campus.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.