VMI selects first-ever Chief Diversity Officer after report details institutional racism, sexism

The school’s Board of Visitors held a special closed session Wednesday

VMI leaders are already taking steps to address accusations of racism and sexism following a scathing repoi

LEXINGTON, Va. – Following a scathing report detailing accusations of racism and sexism at Virginia Military Institute, leaders are already taking steps to address it.

One of the college’s plans is by hiring its first-ever Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Jamica Love.

Love will oversee new diversity programs and initiatives on post when she takes her role on July 9.

“I think what we are poised to do is to position ourselves where VMI is inclusive for young men and women who want to come here,” said VMI Superintendent Major General Cedric Wins.

On Tuesday, the school’s Board of Visitors held a special closed meeting to discuss legal matters regarding the report.

VMI released a statement on behalf of the Board of Visitors to 10 News following the meeting:

“Many of the recommendations are already being acted upon by Institute officials. Others can likely be achieved by modifying existing programs to better align with the recommendation(s).

“The investigators highlighted serious allegations which the Board of Visitors continues to address,” said Board of Visitors President John William Boland “Actions taken today will continue to build on the progress already made as we seek to improve the Institute’s culture and climate to ensure that all cadets, faculty, staff, and alumni feel a part of the VMI experience. Further, we are gratified that the report supported VMI’s policies, mission, and method of education, including the Honor Code and the Rat Line.”

The recommendations made by the Commonwealth’s investigative team will be reviewed in detail by a special board committee appointed by Boland. Members of the new Recommendations Review Committee include:

  • Thomas Watjen ’76
  • David Miller ’70
  • Eugene Scott ’80
  • Lara Chambers ’03
  • Lt. Gen. (ret.) Charles Dominy
  • Mike Hamlar
  • Richard Hines ’66
  • Conrad Hall ’65
  • Lester Johnson ’95

“We are grateful for many of the constructive recommendations in the commonwealth’s report released yesterday and look forward to working with SCHEV to ensure concerns are appropriately addressed,” said Board of Visitors President-elect Thomas Watjen “The Board of Visitors takes its oversight responsibilities seriously and will work closely with our new superintendent to ensure that the commonwealth’s recommendations are being implemented consistent with VMI’s mission. The board is confident in Maj. Gen. Wins abilities and commitment as he leads VMI into the future.”

Alumna Jennifer Carroll Foy has also been heavily involved in the school’s diversity efforts.

“The recent allegations that came out in their report or the results of the investigation, have been disturbing,” Alumna Jennifer Carroll Foy said.

Foy was one of the institute’s first female cadets and made recommendations the board of visitors has been following, she is also currently running for Governor of Virginia.

“While VMI was rooted in the Confederacy, we will build a VMI that’s ready for the 21st century,” Carroll Foy said.

According to VMI, the committee will review the remaining recommendations and report back to the Board of Visitors before the scheduled meeting in September.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.