Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Cyber Corps Numbers: 591
VMI panel won't act until after police probe
Friday, August 27, 1999
BY CALVIN R. TRICE
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
LEXINGTON -- A member of the Virginia Military Institute board of visitors groused yesterday about sitting on a committee called Audit, Finance and Planning and having little knowledge about audits of the school's finances.
At a scheduled committee meeting, Waite Rawls insisted on an explanation of how the school is audited and urged the committee to set up its own accountability system.
"We need an auditor who audits . . . and reports to us," Rawls said.
Like the rest of VMI, the committee is waiting on the conclusion of the Virginia State Police investigation into expenditures authorized by Superintendent Josiah S. Bunting III from his discretionary fund. A probe conducted last month by the state auditor of public accounts into the six-figure allotment automatically triggered the state police investigation.
Although committee Chairman Robert Copty brought the matter up for discussion, members decided not to take action on it pending the release of the auditor's report, which will be made at the conclusion of the state police investigation.
"It's hard for us to talk about a cure or a need for a cure, or change or a need for change if we don't have the report," Copty said.
Records in the school's business office indicate that since Bunting assumed leadership of VMI in 1995, he authorized the use of funds to purchase alcohol for entertaining school guests and the use of thousands of dollars to buy books, flowers and gifts.
Before the committee can address the subject, members need to know which, if any, of the expenditures might have been inappropriate, Copty said.
The small portion of the fund considered public money -- about 6 percent of it -- is not taxpayer generated but comes from auxiliary funds raised through campus activities such as concessions and book sales. State law requires that the money be used to further the school's mission and not for personal gain.
One of the ideas considered during yesterday's committee discussion was to employ a school auditor who reports directly to the board. VMI had an internal auditor until the position was phased out under former Gov. George Allen's initiative to trim the state work force, explained John Rowe, the school's business executive.
School officials have been looking at how other public colleges and universities charge expenses in the "gray area," Copty said. He brought up the idea of asking the private VMI Foundation to foot the bill for expenses currently paid with auxiliary funds.
"I think it would be appropriate for us to review all that," he said.
In unrelated action, the committee agreed to recommend to the full board a $2.93 million budget request to the General Assembly for the next fiscal biennium, which will run from July 2000 to June 2002.
Trolling the Electronic Turnouts: I noticed the following on the Electronic Turnouts bulletin board. It provides some interesting insights into the capacity of barracks, future related plans, etc.
The Barracks is upside down with regard to supply and demand for rooms ... we have essentially two stoops for Firsts (the 1st stoop and the sinks/concourse/"Band Well" rooms) to house about 300 Firsts. The Rats don't all fit on the 4th and 5th stoops. We matriculated 430 Rats this year compared to 442 and 458 in the last two years. Next year the goal is 410-415, and the year after that 400, holding at 400 +/- 5 in perpetuity.
That doesn't allow the Business Exec to sleep too soundly ... from his perspective, 500 Rats all from Massachusetts would be lovely ... but that's where we are going over the next couple of years.
Our application numbers this year were almost 30% higher than those for the just-graduated Class of '99, and thus our selectivity was better and the acceptance rate was able to be significantly lower ... fewer Rats accepted from a larger pool.
So basically, Cadet Anonymous has his'her head locked and loaded ... you see things in a distorted way when your are peering out of your own navel with only one eye.
THOSE are the facts.
Yes, Barracks is crowded. Yes, there are some 5th-year cadets TEMPORARILY in BOQ-type rooms on the uppewr floors of the Hospital. Yes, we are coirrecting that as fast as space becomes available.
BofV has seriously considered expansion of Barracks at two levels ... to reduce crowding and to increase size of Corps (theoretically to about 1500). Neither idea flew in final analysis ... solution is to gradually REDUCE Corps size by heading for matriculating classes of 400 ... 452, 441, 430 ... 410 +/- next year, 400 +/- the year after and from then on. Supe initially wanted to go to 400 all at once, but it caused heart palpitations and fiscal emphysema in the Business Office, who still prefers a Rat Class of 500, all from Pomona.
Several variations on the expansion theme considered:
1) Construct a full Fifth Stoop. REjected on structural grounds. Foundation and load-bearing columns won't bear the added dead load. We'd end up with a disaster that looked like something from Izmit.
Build a separate building to house the (5th year cadets)(women)(athletes)(squat-butts)(flankers)(Rifle Team)(English Majors)(Yankees) .... (choose your favorite oppressed minority). Rejected. "Since 1839 we've lived in one building, and By the Beard of Francis Smith, we'll continue to do so into eternity !!" Tradition wins the day. We live together in one Barracks.
3)Extend Barracks back of the "Coal Pile" area ("Ghetto," to you callow youths from the post-coal-fired-boiler era) over the Burma Road and onto the Nile Valley slope. Rejected for cost and engineering difficulty. Massively complicated foundation design. Unstable slope. The structure would almost certainly end up sliding down into the Nile Valley and annoying the tennis coach. Or maybe even damming the Nile (can you say "Aswan ??") and eventually annoying the baseball coach and then the soccer coach and then the lacrosse coach. The silly thing in design looked like a Sandbridge Beach house up on stilts at best ...
4) Extend New Barracks North side in the direction of ... and maybe even join up with ... LeJeune Hall, filling the area now occupied by the Cincinnatus Monument (which has another, somewhat rude, name I won't quote). Hey, not a bad idea !! That could work !! Let's see a concept design drawing ... whoa, not all bad !! We could gain a couple hundred spaces here !! OK, let's run it by Richmond. REJECTED. Based on the "Thou Shalt Not Diddle With The Look Of A National Historic Landmark" syndrome. Changing footprint of Barracks was bad enough ... adding to the West face was anathema aesthetically ... idea expired from lack of oxygen.
5) What we are doing. REduce size of Corps gradually. BofV approved. In execution.
Maury-Brooke NEVER, conventional wisdom aside, EVER had a plan to be cadet housing for ANY oppressed minority ... at one point we were going to move the medical support facility up there and reduce the overnight bed capacity to about 2 ... but that died an unnatural death also, and we are VERY happy with M-B as it now exists ... a large classroom on the 100 level, Band and Glee Club rehearsal halls and offices on 200 level, cadet publications (Bomb and The Cadet) plus a shared darkroom on 300 level, and a state of the art Honor Court facility on the 400 level.
Basketball Challenge Fund Established:
Jim Chapman, Class of 1969 and John Kemper, Class of 1968 have established a challenge fund to assist in taking the already successful VMI basketball program to the next level. Chapman and Kemper have each contributed $15,000 to establish the fund and have issued a challenge to all Alumni and friends of VMI basketball to match that total. The funds raised will be utilized by VMI Keydet Club and Head Basketball Coach, Bart Bellairs for various programs necessary to build on the current successful basketball program and take it to the next level (conference championships and trips to the NCAA post season tournaments).
Several events have been scheduled to assist in this fund raising effort. The following is an initial list of major events planned:
The Roundball Club has been reestablished and will be headed by Bill Talbot. Bill and Coach Bellairs are hard at work on a schedule of events and activities that will be sponsored by the Club during the upcoming season.
Midnight Madness Weekend will be held on October 15 & 16, 1999. Friday's events will included a dinner and night golf at the Lexington County Club followed by the Midnight Madness practice by the 1999-2000 Running Roos at Cameron Hall. Saturday's events will include the Hall of Frame/Alumni Basketball game and Basketball dinner.
A special trip for VMI Alumni is being arranged for the Hawaii Tournament that the Running Roos will be playing in on November 26-28, 1999.
Special events will be held around key games such as the University of Virginia on November 21st; University of Notre Dame on December 18th; VCU on December 21st; College of Charleston on January 8th to name a few.
In addition to the supporting the events listed above, proceeds from this Challenge Fund will be utilized to support the following improvements:
Cameron Hall improvements to include the installation of instant replay boards and a message board outside of Cameron Hall.
Creation of the Running Roos Den on the locker room level of Cameron Hall. This will include coaches' offices and locker room improvements.
The establishment of a Hall of Fame Wall near the main entrance of Cameron Hall.
For more information on this Challenge Fund and the Roundball Club, contact Betsy Nicely at the VMI Basketball Office (540-464-7384) or John Kemper at 804-343-0172(e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
(Cyber Corps Editor's Note: I spoke with Coach Bellairs about this challenge. It sounds very exciting. A couple additional things that Coach Bellairs asked me to pass along:
1) The night golf on Oct. 15 is limited to 60 slots. This is also Parents' Weekend. So, make your reservations early.
2) The basketball program will be putting out a basketball update entitled Roos News (you gotta love the title). You can call Betsy Nicely (number provided above) for your free subscription.
I heartily recommend that we all get behind the Running Roos.
Cyber Gear: A couple folks have posed some good questions about the Cyber gear. For example:
What material is used in the gear? polo and t-shirts are 100% cotton. Baseball cap is 6 panel washed cotton with leather strap
Are you, oh great Cyber Corps commander making any money off of this endeavor? (OK, so I embellished the question a bit). The money I'll make off this enterprise is zip, zilch, zero. Any money in excess of costs incurred will be donated to the VMI Cadet newspaper for its discretionary use (purchase of equipment, etc.) For the veterans in the Cyber Corps you'll remember that we raised and donated several hundred dollars to the VMI Cadet effort a couple years ago for purchase of a scanner.
Exactly what does the Cyber Corps logo look like? I've attached a picture of the logo for everyone's perusal. Still some debate about what color the lightning bolt should be in terms of what color would show up better. I'll let everyone know what the fashion police decide.
Inquiring Minds Wanna Know: Do
you ever toss and turn at night wondering whether it's a first
class privilege to wear civilian clothes uptown? Are stick checks
still around? If so, send me your clothers and I'll contact some
folks at the Institute and post the answers in future Cyber Corps
That's it for this week.
Yours in the Spirit,
RB Lane '75
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