LEXINGTON, Va. (AP/WRIC) — The Virginia Military Institute’s board voted Thursday to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson that currently stands in front of the barracks on campus. That’s according to school spokesman William “Bill” Wyatt, who confirmed the decision in a brief email to The Associated Press.
The board says they want to move the statue to somewhere more “appropriate” such as the Battlefield at New Market.
The meeting of the Board of Visitors was still underway mid-afternoon Thursday. Wyatt said he would have a statement about the decision when it concludes. The statue and other associations with the Confederacy recently have generated discussion at the nation’s oldest state-supported military college, which is facing an outside investigation into what Virginia officials have characterized as a culture of “structural racism.”
The college also decided to appoint a diversity officer, establish a diversity and inclusion committee and create a diversity office. They will also adopt a diversity hiring plan. In addition to this changes there will also be diversity initiatives started to include a focus on gender.
J. William “Bill” Boland, President of the Board of Visitors stated, “I am proud of the commitment by the VMI family to continue fulfilling our mission. VMI, like all aspects of society, must honestly address historical inequities and be intentional about creating a better future. We care deeply about the individual experiences of all of our cadets and alumni. Our mission is just as important today, and tomorrow, as it has been for 181 years.”
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