A recent Washington Post article decries racial disparities in expulsions at Virginia Military Institute:
VMI will change honor system that expels Black cadets at disproportionate rates
Virginia Military Institute will make changes to its student-run honor court to make the system fairer to cadets accused of lying, cheating, stealing or other transgressions that can lead to expulsion.
VMI detailed the reforms in a progress report Friday in response to a state-ordered investigation into racism and sexism at the nation’s oldest state-supported military college.
The 70-page report, which the college gave to General Assembly members and the Virginia secretary of education, describes initiatives approved, enacted or begun last year, including mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training for administrators and members of VMI’s Board of Visitors, and changes to the Lexington school’s one-strike-and-you’re-out honor court system.
Black students at VMI were expelled by the honor court at a disproportionately high rate, according to data obtained by The Washington Post for the three academic years between the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2020. Though Black cadets made up about 6 percent of the student body, they represented about 43 percent of those expelled for honor code violations. Twelve out of the 28 VMI students dismissed in those three academic years were Black. When students of color were included in the count, the number of expelled rose to 15, or about 54 percent of the total, even though minorities made up about 21 percent of the student population in that three-year period.
It appears that Virginia Military Institute has been accepting black and Hispanic candidates of lesser academic ability for many years. A report from the late 1990s shows the following average SAT scores per race in VMI:
Verbal: White 560 Black 480 Hispanic 560 Asian 510
Math: White 570 Black 505 Hispanic 560 Asian 590
And SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATES:
White 66% Black 53% Hispanic 85% Asian 57%
It would be interesting to find out why Hispanic graduation rates were so much higher than the others, and Asian so much lower.
A Virginia Technical Institute “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 30 Day Report” document, from July, 2021, makes it abundantly clear that recruiting, and retaining, non-whites is of the utmost importance to the institute. The document does specify that it wants “qualified” candidates to be recruited – but we must rid ourselves of the notion that all qualified people are EQUALLY qualified. Given VTI’s track record, and the extreme emphasis it places upon Diversity, there can be no doubt that less qualified non-whites are being recruited.
In light of grade inflation and cheating in high schools, especially in majority minority high schools, this disparity is probably much greater than meets the eye. It should not be surprising that such recruits have disproportionately more violations, and get expelled more often.
It should worry us that, instead of at least considering the possibility that black students actually misbehave more often, VTI appears to assume that the disparities in expulsions are solely a result of anti-black racism. It’s only a matter of time, if it hasn’t happened already, that directives will be given to cite black students for violations at the same rate as white/Asian students.
In the real world, what this means is that black students will be able to get away with much more than their white/Asian peers.