(Woodbridge, VA) – Today, Jennifer Carroll Foy, one of the first women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute, released the following statement in response to the independent investigation of VMI, finding a culture of “institutional racism and sexism” at the oldest public military institute in the country:
“Virginia Military Institute is more than a military outpost – it is a place that strives to prepare cadets to become the future leaders of our Commonwealth, and to serve all Americans. If it hopes to achieve this goal, it must do better. Each cadet must be taught to lead and serve from a place of respect. Each faculty member and staff must fully embrace the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work as well. While VMI has a history rooted in the Confederacy, it must have a future that’s rooted in acceptance, inclusion, and understanding.
“The report is disturbing and we should use the findings as an opportunity to build VMI into the most premier military institute in the world. While I am glad they are proactively implementing my policy suggestions, such as having a chief diversity officer, and mandating cultural sensitivity training, we must do more, including addressing sexual assault, which there should be zero tolerance for at the Institute.
“Clearly, there is a great deal of work that still needs to be done to reform Virginia Military Institute and shape it into the institution it strives to be: a place that creates leaders for the 21st century. What has been revealed in this report is truly unfortunate and must never be repeated. The school must reckon with its past and look toward the future, and I’m proud to have helped VMI do just that as an alumna and a leader.
“Shaping this institution for the 21st century won’t be easy – rooting out racism and sexism anywhere isn’t a simple task anywhere. But it must be done, as VMI is a core part of Virginia, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside my VMI community to make necessary changes.
“If elected Governor, I will ensure that all of our public institutions demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion, especially at the highest levels.”
Jennifer Carroll Foy has dedicated her life to service. As one of the first women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute, a former foster mom, a magistrate judge, and public defender, Jennifer has embodied the ideals of community, honor and commitment in every facet of her life. During her time in the legislature, Jennifer led the way on the Equal Rights Amendment, proudly supported the successful fight to expand Medicaid to over 500,000 Virginians, and passed a budget that includes a 3% salary increase for teachers. She is a proud mother to twin three year olds, and wife to her husband Jeff, who she met her first week at VMI.