Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Cyber Corps Numbers: 485
The Football Season Cometh: The first game of the season is a home game Sept 5 (1:00 PM) against Lenoir-Rhyne. OK. OK it ain't Nebraska.
More Reviews for Gen Bunting's Book: I am told that Gen Bunting's book has received very favorable reviews in the National Review and the Weekly Standard.
Rat Attrition: Appears that attrition among the rats is about in line with past years.
19 rats quit VMI during first week
Saturday, August 22, 1998
BY REX BOWMAN
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
One woman and 18 men have dropped out of the Virginia Military Institute
during their first week as freshmen "rats," establishing a normal
dropout rate for the school's second coeducational class.
As of last night, 424 students remained in the class, including 33
Meanwhile, school officials say it's too early to tell how the first women at VMI, now sophomores, will treat the newcomers. The female cadets have said they'll treat the new women as harshly and as fairly as they were treated when they arrived last
The 22 sophomore women haven't had much of an opportunity to interact
with the rats, however, because none made the rank necessary to join the
elite cadet cadre that introduces rats to the harsh life of VMI.
"Several of the women have been asked to help out the cadre, but they're
not in the cadre, so they're not in close contact with the rats," school
spokesman Mike Strickler said.
The loss of 19 of the new class's 443 students constitutes a dropout
rate of 4.5 percent, about average after a week of VMI's "rat line."
Last year, 25 of 460 students -- 5.4 percent -- dropped out within seven days of signing VMI's matriculation book.
The school's system of harassing rats, designed to force them to rely on
each other, usually results in one of five cadets dropping out. Five
percent of rats typically quit during the first grueling week, and 9
percent go home after the first five weeks.
"VMI, as we know, is not for everybody," Strickler said.
Ninety-two cadets, including 36 sophomores, make up the cadre that
trains rats in VMI's ways. Classes start Monday, and Strickler said life
will become easier for the rats once the rest of the upperclass students
join the cadre on campus by tomorrow's 10 p.m. deadline.
"The cadre likes to say to the rats, 'You think it's hard now, just wait
until the whole corps gets back, then it'll get a lot worse,' " he said.
"But it's not; it's easier. Things settle down, classes start, and you get into a routine."
Remember the Rat....: You probably remember the rat who was suspended last year for striking another cadet. She gained a great deal of respect by returning this year to begin the rat line again. However.....
Suspended 'rat' returns to, quits VMI
Wednesday, August 26, 1998
BY REX BOWMAN
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
Angelica Garza, a freshman at the Virginia Military Institute who won
the respect of many cadets for her decision to return to school this
year after being kicked out in 1997, has quit.
Garza, 19, cut her comeback short on Saturday night, packing up and
returning to her Fort Belvoir home.
"I assume she made the choice that VMI wasn't for her," school spokesman
Mike Strickler said. "The first time she didn't have a choice -- the
choice was made for her. But I guess this was her choice."
Yesterday her mother said Garza will not comment on her reasons for
leaving the military school, where she had spent the last week as a rat,
enduring the nonstop abuse of VMI's rat line.
Last August, Garza was suspended from VMI for a year after she lost her cool while being chastised and took a swing at an upperclassman. The punch missed its target but landed on another upperclassman.
Garza vowed to return and did. Her appearance in the rat line Wednesday
won the admiration of school officials and many cadets, who said Garza
appeared in better physical shape this year and apparently had spent
some time preparing for the abusive ordeal.
Garza is one of two female rats to have quit VMI so far. Twenty-five
male rats also have abandoned the school since matriculating last
Monday. The 27 dropouts bring the school's attrition rate to 6 percent,
slightly above the normal 4.8 percent registered during the first
rigorous week at VMI.
The freshman class now numbers 416 students, including the remaining 32
VMI anticipates that as many as 90 rats could eventually drop out of the
Do You Also Remember...: From the memory lane file, you probably also remember the three cadets who allegedly hazed a rat last year. The following provides on update on their situation.
Lawyer seeks to quash hazing indictments
The VMI cadets' attorney also argued that the law gives undue power to
Virginia college heads and is unconstitutionally vague.
By MATT CHITTUM
THE ROANOKE TIMES
LEXINGTON -- The attorney for three Virginia Military Institute
cadets indicted for hazing a freshman at the school last year asked a
judge Wednesday to declare the law unconstitutional and quash the
If Lexington attorney Tommy Spencer's motion is successful, it will
be a nifty feat of legal judo -- using the victim's arguments against
In parts of his motion, made in Lexington Circuit Court, Spencer
employed complaints about Virginia's hazing law made by the family of
the victim, George Wade Jr. of Henrico County.
The law gives undue power to the heads of Virginia colleges in
prosecuting hazing charges and is unconstitutionally vague in defining
what kind of behavior constitutes hazing, Spencer argued.
The Wade family made the same complaints about the law while
struggling to get justice for their son.
The special prosecutor in the case, Buena Vista Commonwealth's
Attorney Mike Irvine, has a month to respond to Spencer's motion.
Rockbridge County Circuit Judge George E. Honts III will make a ruling
Wade left VMI last winter and later accused three seniors of
striking him repeatedly on the buttocks with belts and coat hangers. VMI
suspended the three seniors, Jonathan Gonzales of Mechanicsville,
Thomas Michael Upshaw of Caroline County and Charles Travers "Buck"
Clemons of Richmond, but declined to charge them with hazing.
Under the common interpretation of Virginia's 60-year-old
anti-hazing law -- which was passed after a series of hazing incidents
at VMI -- any criminal charge of hazing at a state school must begin
with a finding of hazing by the school's head. At VMI, that would be
Superintendent Josiah Bunting III.
The Wades complained that the law gives too much discretion to the
college, which would be embarrassed by the publicity and might open
itself to a lawsuit.
Spencer argued that the law unconstitutionally usurps the power of
the commonwealth's attorney and gives it to the "presiding officers" of
state colleges. The law is a violation of the separation of powers
guaranteed by the constitution, he argued. The legislative branch of
government cannot take power away from a member of the executive branch,
which includes elected state prosecutors, Spencer wrote in a brief
outlining his claims.
The law -- which says it is unlawful "to haze, or otherwise mistreat
so as to cause bodily injury, any student at any school, college or
university" -- also fails to define hazing clearly enough, he argued.
The Wades have made the same complaint about the law.
Kent Willis, director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil
Liberties Union, said Spencer "makes a good point."
"It probably has every deficiency you can have in a law," he said.
"There should be some recourse for students who have been assaulted in
this way, but if the law available is unconstitutional, then it's time
to go back and fix it."
The Wades have said their mission in pursuing the charges is to get
justice for their son, who is now attending an undisclosed out-of-state
college, and to make VMI a safer place for other cadets.
If Spencer's argument prevails, George Wade Sr. said, it would be a
loss for his son, but "at least he's accomplished one of his goals.
"I think it definitely needs to go through the legal system and be
straightened out," he said.
And Yet One More Update: Remember the three seniors and rats drummed out last year? Here's an update.
Panel hears appeals of 6 expelled at VMI
Saturday, August 29, 1998
BY REX BOWMAN
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
LEXINGTON -- Attorneys for three freshmen kicked out of Virginia Military Institute in April over a spanking incident say they are hopeful the students, and three expelled seniors, will be reinstated now that the school's appeals committee has heard their case.
Attorneys for the six students pleaded for reinstatement at a closed-door hearing before the three-member committee yesterday.
"I would have to say that the people on the committee have a better understanding of what's at stake here now," attorney Bernhardt Wruble said after leaving the hearing.
"I was very hopeful when I went in, and I'd say I'm optimistic now that at least these three people heard us," said co-attorney J. Steven Grist. "At least they have an open mind."
VMI's Honor Court expelled the six students in April after determining that they lied to cover up a series of spanking incidents in which the seniors struck the freshmen, known in VMI parlance as "rats."
The rats were accused of violating the Honor Code after they told student investigators that they had never been hit by their "dykes," the seniors assigned to be their mentors.
The seniors were drummed out of the cadet corps after the Honor Court found that they had lied when they denied striking their rats.
VMI's Honor Code has but one penalty for lying, cheating or stealing: expulsion.
In federal court, attorneys for the six cadets have argued that their expulsions were unfair because all of them were awakened in the dead of night by a group of students and interrogated about the spankings. The six contend that their false statements should not have been used against them because they were not afforded protection from self-incrimination and their statements were coerced during the midnight interrogations.
Attorneys for the six have argued that the investigative techniques violated the students' constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge James C. Turk refused to rule on the matter, though, saying they should exhaust their appeals to VMI officials before coming back to court.
VMI's board of visitors takes up the matter this morning in a closed-door session. Appeals committee
Chairman Robert B. Crotty said the committee will not make a recommendation to the board but will simply pass on what the attorneys argued yesterday.
Crotty declined to comment further.
Wruble said he and Grist stayed away from constitutional issues in their presentation to the committee yesterday; instead they called into question VMI's procedures. For instance, he said, the six expelled cadets were forced to stand trial together, and the Honor Court allowed hearsay into evidence. Under Virginia law, defense attorneys have a right to petition for separate trials for their clients, and hearsay evidence is not allowed.
"If I were on the board, I would ask, 'Is this really the way you want to run VMI? Do you really want to defend this?' " Wruble said.
The freshmen also contend that they were caught between conflicting loyalties: The Honor Code forbids lying, but the freshman handbook, known as the rat bible, demands absolute loyalty to the dykes.
The freshmen are Brandon M. Crane, Arnold Jesse Gore and Terence M. Redmond. The ex-seniors are Donald Evans, Jason Roderiques and Phantamith Prompol.
Hey that's it for this week.
Yours in the Spirit,
RB Lane '75
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