Virginia Military Institute Alumni Go to War Against Woke, Credit DeSantis With Leading the Charge

America’s oldest military college has found itself in another war. The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) has been the target of several DEI reforms since 2020, but now, students and alumni are pushing back. The battle pits VMI superintendent Cedric T. Wins against alumnus Matt Daniel and his anti-woke PAC “Spirit of VMI.”

According to the Washington Post, both men graduated from VMI in 1985. The two “brother rats,” as VMI students are known, were reportedly longtime friends until the DEI culture war placed them on opposite sides of the battlefield.

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Wins was appointed superintendent of VMI in 2020, one month after then-Governor Ralph Northam had a Confederate General Stonewall Jackson statue removed from campus. The school was accused of perpetuating “relentless,” systemic racism by the Washington Post, which prompted a formal probe of the institution by the state. Wins was then selected by the school’s board to head the school as its first black superintendent and was tasked with implementing the reforms.

Those reforms, however, have not been without fierce criticism.

“It’s a full fledged racket enriching itself at every opportunity,” Daniel’s Pac, the Spirit of VMI, published on its website. “Many of the people appointed in DEI departments act like gangsters, employing the Cancel Culture tactics of fear and intimidation to control their minions.”

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According to a report published by Spirit of VMI, $3.7 million was awarded to the college to address “staffing shortfalls and pay gaps” but with the caveat that it not be spent on DEI initiatives. Despite this, the group alleges, $750,000 was spent on DEI programs, with the fate of the remaining $3 million unclear. “They quickly learn to ignore attempts at government oversight, and it becomes difficult to rein them in.”

The Spirit of VMI has attempted to fight back, running ad campaigns and rallying VMI community members to push back against the changes. Daniels’ group says it has felt emboldened by the actions of other states in pushing back against DEI and encouraged Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to do the same.

“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis early this year convinced all 28 public college presidents to issue a joint statement declaring CRT and DEI will not be taught in their classrooms. Last summer, DeSantis signed the Stop Woke Act, which prohibited DEI indoctrination in the public K-12 schools. Most recently, DeSantis called for an audit of all DEI spending at the public post secondary level.

The Spirit of VMI PAC respectfully once again encourages Governor Glenn Youngkin to deactivate DEI in our public colleges and universities.”

Since assuming the role of superintendent, Wins has reportedly formed a DEI committee, hired a new “chief diversity officer,” implemented a “cultural awareness training program,” and bolstered its affirmative action program. Wins has accused Daniels and the Spirit of VMI of using “print and radio media” to play the victim. However, the group insists they only try to protect students from discrimination.
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