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VMI no longer names expelled cadets during 'drum out' ritual

VMI -- Virginia Military Institute File Generic
Posted at 11:12 AM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 11:25:43-04

LEXINGTON, Va. -- The Virginia Military Institute has altered its ritual of expelling cadets by waking them up in the middle of the night to the sound of beating drums.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the school is no longer announcing the expelled students' names during the so-called “drum outs.” The practice involves waking up the entire corps of cadets.

Two cadets were drummed out early Tuesday after they admitted to cheating on a math assignment, according to an email sent to students by the president of VMI’s student-run Honor Court. The difference was that the cadets were not identified as they would have been in the past.

“We want to keep you updated with recent changes within the Court,” Honor Court President Matthew Keane said in his email, “and as a result of extenuating circumstances, we will no longer mention the names of former cadets during drumouts.”

The change to the ritual is being made amid a state-ordered investigation into racism on the campus of the school, which is in Lexington. The Post reported in December that Black students were being disproportionately expelled and shamed by name in drum-out ceremonies.

Bill Wyatt, a VMI spokesman, declined to confirm Tuesday’s ceremony to the newspaper. He said VMI “does not discuss cadet disciplinary matters.”