Probe ordered of VMI after Post's report on racist incidents

Probe ordered of VMI after Post's report on racist incidents

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — State officials have ordered an investigation into the Virginia Military Institute following a report in The Washington Post that described Black cadets and alumni facing “relentless racism."

Gov. Ralph Northam co-wrote a letter Monday to the state-supported school's Board of Visitors expressing “deep concerns about the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism" at VMI. The letter said the state will fund an independent probe into the school's culture, policies, practices and equity in disciplinary procedures, the Post reported.

The action came after the newspaper published a weekend story that described an “atmosphere of hostility and cultural insensitivity” at the nation's oldest state-supported military college. The story described incidents such as lynching threats and a white professor reminiscing in class about her father’s Ku Klux Klan membership.

The Roanoke Times also reported on Black alumni speaking out about racism at the school months ago.

VMI spokesman Col. William “Bill” Wyatt told The Associated Press that the school welcomes the review and will cooperate with it.

He said the letter's suggestion that there's a “clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism” is “just not true.”

Wyatt said a response was in the works to the officials' letter, and he said he would provide a copy when it was available.

Monday's letter was signed by Northam, who is a VMI graduate; Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax; Attorney General Mark Herring and top legislative leaders.

Originally published