Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Bunting investigation over / VMI superintendent is cleared of allegations related to books
Friday, December 17, 1999
BY CALVIN R. TRICE
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
LEXINGTON -- VMI Superintendent Josiah S. Bunting III violated no state law by using school resources to write two books during his tenure at the college, the Rockbridge County prosecutor has decided.
Commonwealth's Attorney Gordon F. Saunders said in a statement released yesterday that Bunting was within Virginia Military Institute scholarship guidelines and within his employment agreement to use personnel and equipment for the writings.
Saunders' decision concludes months of investigations that have dogged the superintendent's office since a probe began last summer into Bunting's handling of a donor-financed spending account.
Bunting, speaking freely for the first time about the accusations, said the work that went into his books is normal for college instructors.
"I believe for a professor to do publication that's related to their field of intellectual endeavor is part of what we're supposed to do," he said in a phone interview yesterday.
Speaking from Chicago during a four-city fund-raising expedition, he said he's ready to get back to work for the institute.
"I really want to roll up my sleeves and concentrate on doing the best I can for VMI," he said.
Saunders did criticize VMI for what he considers are unclear rules for faculty who produce scholarly works at the school.
VMI leaders said they are pleased with the outcome of Saunders' investigation.
"This entire experience has been quite difficult for VMI," Bruce C. Gottwald, president of the school's board of visitors, said in a release. The board passed a resolution in support of Bunting in August.
"There are those who have attempted to mischaracterize Bunting's endeavors on behalf of VMI," Gottwald's statement continued. "Their attempts have been fruitless, detrimental to VMI, and have come at great cost to the commonwealth of Virginia and the institute in terms of time, effort and resources, to say nothing of the personal burden on Gen. Bunting and his family."
The investigation focused on Bunting's use of school employees and equipment to write "An Education for Our Time," which was published in 1998 by Regnery Publishing Inc. in Washington, and another book, "All Loves Excelling," which is not yet in bookstores.
Bunting used the equivalent of $8,000 to $10,000 worth of employee work hours for help in writing the book, Saunders' release said. The superintendent used state equipment and paid for expenses out of state funds.
He received a $50,000 advance for "An Education" and $5,000 for "All Loves Excelling," according to the release. Saunders questioned whether VMI should have shared in some of the proceeds.
However, VMI's policy on faculty's published works contains no approval process for such endeavors nor guidelines about how professors can use school resources for them, Saunders said. Bunting's publications don't violate the terms of his employment, either, he added. Hence, no school rules were broken.
"After having reviewed the very thorough investigation by the Virginia State Police, I have determined that General Bunting did not violate any criminal law by writing these books and using state personnel, equipment, resources and facilities at VMI," Saunders said.
If VMI had guidelines for the use of school employees or material for writing books, school officials could better decide whether the institute should share in the money the works produced, the prosecutor said.
School officials defended VMI's copyright policy.
"Despite Mr. Saunders' implication to the contrary, we were aware of General Bunting's writings and wholeheartedly approved of these endeavors," Gottwald said. "Had Mr. Saunders sought the board's views prior to issuing his statement, we would have been pleased to provide him with this information."
Saunders' decision not to prosecute Bunting ends a series of probes that began in the spring. Questions raised about expenses charged to Bunting's $100,000 annual spending allowance led to a probe in June by the state auditor of public accounts and later by the state police.
The superintendent's allotment was overspent by about $120,000 during the previous four years that Bunting has been at VMI's helm and included charges for flowers, gifts, cards and alcoholic beverages.
In September, Saunders cleared Bunting of any wrongdoing concerning the allotment. The inquiry into book proceeds arose during the probe of the allotment fund.
Bunting said he never thought any of the spending charged to the allotment or the VMI resources that went into his academic work was improper, but he better appreciates, now, the importance of how things may seem.
"We will be very severe in looking at all expenditures made from the superintendent's allotment to assure that there is nothing that causes the appearance of impropriety," he said.
All the expenses went toward advancing VMI, Bunting said, including the alcohol, which he and his wife used to entertain friends of the school. The couple never thought signing their first names to cards and flowers would be construed as personal advancement, he said.
"That strikes us as absurd," Bunting said.
He acknowledged that some of the complaints over his fund-raising activities originated from within VMI's family of alumni. Many of them are well-intentioned graduates who might not understand why he has to host and attend engagements intended to rake in donations, Bunting said.
"Universities and colleges that are icons just like VMI . . . need to raise funds to advance the image of our school and our standing in the minds of people willing to help us -- whether we're private or state-supported," he said.
VMI Basketball Game for Charity:
VMI-VCU basketball game to benefit cancer research
The 7th Annual Chris Cullather Classic, pitting the VMI Keydets against the VCU Rams on December 21 at 7:30 in the Alltel Pavilion in the Siegel Center in Richmond, will benefit VCU/MCV Brain Tumor Research.
Tickets, which are sold by ADVANCE PURCHASE only, are $20 and include a pre-game gala at the Pavilion from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. The event should provide a wonderful break from the holiday hustle and bustle, and the game is sure to be a barn-burner between these two exciting teams. Tickets can be ordered by calling 888-663-8696.
A special event at the game will be a half-time shootout featuring VMI's own MG Josiah Bunting III '63 and Donny White '65 as well as other Richmond notables.
Order tickets NOW: 888-663-8696
VMI Civil War Reenactors:
Greetings to Everyone. My name is William Brown, Class of 1976. I'm currently employed by the Bedford County Public Schools between Lynchburg and Roanoke. I run their relatively new Army Junior ROTC program and have cadets coming from Liberty, Jefferson Forest and Staunton River high schools. I am an active Confederate reenactor with Co. C, 28th Va Inf. Regt, Garnett's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Longstreet's Corps, R. E. Lee commanding. We're based out of the greater-Roanoke area.
In an effort to make history come alive for my cadets, I would like to start taking as many of them as possible on reenactments with me but the equipment costs a great deal of money. In that my students are cadets, I feel they ought to portray a VMI "cadet" of the Civil War period if they're going to attend a reenactment with me. I intend to work with some very smart VMI collectors/historians to replicate as closely as possible the entire VMI field uniform as used at New Market. My best guess is that it is going to run about $1,500 to outfit one cadet from head to toe in authentic VMI garb. This cost includes cadet-style kepi, blouse, pants, rifled musket, cartridge box, belt, haversack, socks, shoes, canteen, shirt, etc.
Should you or any of your friends be so inclined to make a monetary contribution to my "JROTC Living History Fund," feel free to contact me via e-mail and I'll give you the particulars. We have some key reenactments coming up in the spring and summer and I'd love to have a few of my cadets decked out from top to bottom representing the Corps on the battlefield this coming year. By the way, I know of no reenactors anywhere in the country habitually representing the VMI cadets at reenactments. This is indeed unfortunate and frankly a bit disgraceful when one considers the absolutely key role that VMI played in the war. I'd appreciate any help you can give me.
William Irvine Brown
Major, US Army (Retired)
Private, Co. C, 28th Va Inf.
Liberty (Bedford) Virginia
PS: Feel free to forward this to anyone that might be willing to help. My personal home phone number is 540-586-7024.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Skip Goodwillie '83 has returned to Richmond after a one year stint in
Reston, VA. He has accepted a position with James River Technical, Inc. as
the VP Professional Resource Services. JRT is a VAR for SUN, Silicon
Graphics and Compaq products and specialize in Data Warehousing, Enterprise
Security and Systems Management services. His new contact information is
804-935-0150 x30; and mailto:email@example.com
Skip is looking to hire technical recruiters, account executives and
consultants in their locations that include Richmond, Raleigh, Atlanta,
Denver and Gaithersburg.
Alumnus in the Charleston Area: Don DeLuca '62 e-mails to indicate that he is relatively new to Charleston, SC area and would like to touch base with any VMI grads in that area so as to "ward off these Citadel grads." Who can blame him? I know we have some VMI alums in that area. If you fit that category, please contact Don at Dpdl123@aol.com.
Wednesday, December 15, 1999
One of first female cadets dismissed from VMI
By MATT CHITTUM
THE ROANOKE TIMES
One of the first women admitted to Virginia Military Institute was kicked out earlier this semester for violating VMI's unforgiving honor code.
A regular quarterly report filed by VMI in federal court noted that one of the women in the class of 2001 was dismissed this semester. VMI spokesman Mike Strickler said only that she was "dismissed for reasons satisfactory to the superintendent."
But a cadet, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of Honor Court matters, confirmed that the woman was drummed out about two months ago for violating VMI's honor code, which says "a cadet does not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do."
It's unclear exactly what the woman did to be dismissed.
The cadet-run Honor Court draws no distinctions between minor and major honor infractions. Charges are investigated by members of the court, which is made up of elected juniors and seniors, and cadets are tried before a jury of other cadets in a secret proceeding. A conviction means immediate expulsion.
The woman, one of the first 30 to enter VMI in August 1997 after the Supreme Court found the public VMI's all-male admissions policy unconstitutional, is not the first to be kicked out for an honor violation. A woman from VMI's second coed class was dismissed for an honor violation but was readmitted, according to the anonymous cadet.
Jennifer Jolin of Monterey, another member of the class of 2001 who quit in March of her first year at VMI, was being investigated by the Honor Court, but charges were never filed. Jolin said she didn't know she was being investigated when she quit.
Another of the inaugural group of women, Angelica Garza of Fort Belvoir, was suspended for a semester for punching the sergeant of the guard in the mouth. Other women have received lesser penalties for violating a ban on sexual contact in the barracks.
Six to 10 cadets, on average, are dismissed for honor violations every year, but a subcommittee of the VMI board of visitors found that some female cadets believe women are being targeted by the honor system. Some male cadets believe the administration has intervened to save female cadets from being charged with honor offenses, the committee's report said.
The committee recommended that the administration "treat male and female cadets the same with respect to disciplinary and honor matters."
Cyber Gear: I have been informed that the ordered Cyber Gear is on its way to me. When I receive it I will begin packaging and mailing to those who submitted orders. I will do my best to get it to everyone by Christmas.
VMI Web Cam: I understand that VMI does have a web cam and that it will probably be installed sometime during the summer of 2000. Indications are that it will be mounted to overlook the parade field.
Politically Correct Holiday Greetings: I recently received the following from a friend and pass it along for the amusement of all.
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit our best wishes for an
environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive,
gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within
the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or
secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular
persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice
religious or secular traditions at all . . .
. . and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar
year 2000, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other
cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not
to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the
only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race,
creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer
platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.
(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is
subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no
alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to
actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void
where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the
wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual
application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance
of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is
limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole
discretion of the wisher.)
And Now, The Politically Incorrect Greeting: The Cyber Corps is going on Christmas furlough along with the VMI Corps of Cadets (Of course, and to qualify the preceding, I will pass along any vitual information that comes my way.). A Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah to all as well as a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year/Century/Millenium, etc., etc. OK, OK I know it really doesn't start until 2001.
Thanks to all who have shared articles, opinions, suggestions, and other VMI-related info during the past year. Your contributions to the Cyber Corps is much appreciated.
Yours in the Spirit,
RB Lane '75
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