Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Cyber Corps Numbers: 603
VMI board backs Bunting
Sunday, August 29, 1999
BY CALVIN R. TRICE
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
LEXINGTON -- Virginia Military Institute's board of visitors voted yesterday to let Superintendent Josiah S. Bunting III "off the rat line."
The unanimous vote to adopt a resolution stating
the visitors' belief the superintendent did no wrong broke the board's formal silence surrounding a state probe into Bunting's spending of his discretionary fund.
"You, your wife and your family have been subject to some rough and unfair treatment," board President Bruce Gottwald of Richmond said to Bunting after reading a prepared statement. "It's time to let him off the rat line."
Bunting said after the board adjourned that the resolution was gratifying.
"This expression by the board makes me feel vindicated, and is a real source of comfort . . . from the people I work for," he said.
"It obviously is a difficult thing, when one's integrity is publicly questioned for a period of time and when one is barred from commenting on it."
Questions raised during a routine audit in the spring about certain expenses -- such as sums for flowers and books -- charged to the six-figure superintendent's allotment triggered in July a full look at the account by the state auditor of public accounts. As required by law, the state auditor turned a report over to the state police for that agency to conduct its own investigation, which will determine whether Bunting illegally used the account for personal gain. That investigation is under way.
Although a small portion of the superintendent's discretionary fund is considered public money, it is not taxpayer-generated but is auxiliary money raised on the VMI campus. State law requires that it be used to further the school's mission and not for personal gain.
The board took its vote yesterday after two days of closed-door meetings that included discussions on Bunting's performance and open sessions yesterday morning, which alternated with two more closed meetings. After several hours of closed discussions, about 1 p.m., board members stood up inside a conference room in VMI's Preston Library and gathered near the back to vote on the resolution.
Gottwald read a prepared statement saying the board had been "discussing and reviewing the discretionary expenses of [Bunting] that have been the topic of much interest in the press recently."
"Based on our review, we have concluded that all of these funds have been spent in the best interests of VMI and its mission," Gottwald read. "There has been no intent whatsoever of personal gain to the superintendent.
"Therefore, the board today expresses its complete and unanimous confidence in General Bunting, in his integrity, in his leadership and in his dedication to the education of the young men and women of the VMI Corps of Cadets."
The more than a dozen board members unanimously assented. Board member Charles B. Lindsey of Alexandria had left the meeting during an open-session period before the adoption of the resolution, school officials said. Lindsey left after remarks made by VMI Alumni Association President F.E. Deacon III.
Along with heads of the Keydet Club and the VMI Foundation, which provides much of the money for the superintendent's fund, Deacon had spoken to the board of his support for Bunting.
"General Bunting has performed magnificently during a difficult period of time in the school's history," Deacon said during an interview, referring in part to the institute's court-ordered admission of women. "VMI is a much better school under his leadership."
Basketball Challenge Fund - A Correction: In last week's update information was provided about the Basketball Challenge. A number of our participants indicated that the e-mail address I provided for John Kemper was incorrect. I've checked on this and the correct e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sorry for any confusion. Now you have no excuse for not getting behind the challenge and sending in a few bucks.
New Look for the Web Site: Be sure to check out the VMI web site. It has a new and improved look to it. Really nice job. Address is: http://www.vmi.edu/
Listen to Football Games on the Web: Speaking of VMI's retooled web site...it appears that we can listen to football games on the web! This is too slick. Go to http://www.vmikeydets.com/ftbllisten.htm for instructions.
Rugby Anyone?: I noticed the following posting in the VMI Electronic Turnouts. Seems one of VMI's own is making a name for himself in the rugby arena.
Thu Sep 2 18:52:01 1999
To all--Dan Lyle '92 has two page spread in 6 September Sports Illustrated (mine came today)--go to the Scorecard Section. Dan is a professional rugby (union) player in the UK. Having lived in the UK for 2+ years, I can state that his success is quite amazing. UK Sunday Times has named him one of top 25 players in the world. Bert Graham '74
Cyber Chats: I was talking to one of our Cyber Corps participants the other night and he mentioned that we haven't had a cyber chat for some time. How true. So, sometime during the next couple weeks I'll pick at date and time for an interactive cyber chat. These typically take place on Sunday evenings.
Cyber Gear Orders: I've begun receiving some orders for Cyber gear. Keep 'em coming.
Cyber Editorial: During the past couple months I have received numerous phone calls and e-mails about different goings on at the Institute. Some are about the honor code, some about the administration, some about barracks life, etc. While I am certain that everyone cares about the Institute, I am uncertain as to whether all who voice their opinions are truly engaged or merely letting off steam. I think it is crucial that we all keep abreast of what's going on at the Institute. But it is equally important the we voice our opinions in a constructive manner. The large majority of us have regional directors. They're listed in the back of each Alumni Review. If you want to know what's going on and/or you would like to voice an opinion, call them, e-mail them, visit them or write them and let them know. We should become involved in selecting our regional directors and holding them accountable for representing our individual and collective views. Again, this should be done constructively and with reason. I say this because, in my humble opinion, I think some alumni want to micromanage what's going on at the Institute and in barracks. Our regional directors are not micromanagers. Just one man's opinion.
So, become involved. If you don't know who your regional director is...find out and touch base. Attend your chapter meetings. Touch base with YOUR officers of the Alumni Association. Contact a long lost BR. Carve out a few minutes a week or an hour a month and dedicate it to the Institute.
To get a flavor of what some folks are thinking you may want to visit the Electronic Turnouts at:
I certainly don't endorse all that's posted on the Turnouts, but it does present an alumni pulse of sorts.
OK, OK, I'm off the soapbox.
That's it for this week.
Yours in the Spirit,
RB Lane '75
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