Former Army Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, the first Black superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, wrote a strongly worded Facebook post last week in response to a person who accused VMI of teaching "critical race theory," The Washington Post reports.
Carmen D. Villani Jr., a white VMI alumnus, appeared on a Richmond radio show earlier this month, encouraging fellow alumni to ask the Virginia state legislature to "look very seriously" at the school's funding proposal and warning that critical race theory had "entered into the VMI realm."
VMI recently requested an extra $6.1 million in funding to pay for reforms after a state-ordered investigation found that the school harbors a "racist and sexist culture."
Wins responded to Villani's comments in a VMI Facebook group of 3,700 members, telling him, "You advised the listeners to urge the members of the General Assembly to 'look very seriously' at VMI's funding request, a request you have no understanding about. VMI's funding request will pale in comparison to that of the other public colleges in the state. You have no understanding of DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] or what it means, or how much of the funding for DEI is represented in our request."
Wins also rejected Villani's comment about critical race theory, calling it "categorically false."
The additional $6.1 million requested by VMI would provide more funding for Title IX and diversity offices, pay for three admissions counselors geared toward underrepresented students and help rebrand Confederate tributes around the school.
Villani responded with his own post Thursday, claiming that he and Wins were "able to find some common ground" in a conversation they had after the disagreement. He said that the college should focus on "equality/ability not equity; inclusiveness based upon 'content of character.'"
Results released last year from a probe by the Barnes & Thornburg law firm "found that institutional racism and sexism are present, tolerated, and left unaddressed at VMI."
"Although VMI has no explicitly racist or sexist policies that it enforces, the facts reflect an overall racist and sexist culture," it said.