NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Military Institute's chief diversity officer is stepping down after almost two years amid conservative pushback over the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Lt. Col. Jamica Love will leave her post at the end of the month.
In a letter addressing the resignation, Superintendent Major General Cedric Wins said he is still committed to diversity and inclusion.
He wrote: Moving forward, the Virginia Military Institute remains committed to the three principles set forth by the Board of Visitors in July 2020:
1. To create and foster a more diverse VMI
2. To create and foster a safe, equitable, and inclusive environment for all on post; and
3. To assure that we maintain a safe, rigorous process for escalating issues which have even the potential to violate the Code of a Cadet.
Wins, the college's first African American superintendent also wrote that Love served with distinction, and her "expertise and positive attitude will be greatly missed."
The concept of DEI has become a popular target of conservative groups and lawmakers as many contend that it sows division.
In an April speech at the institute, Virginia's chief diversity officer under Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Martin Brown, was heard telling an audience that "DEI is dead."
"We’re not going to bring that cow up anymore, it’s dead. It was mandated by the General Assembly, but this governor has a different philosophy of treating people with civility and discourse," Brown said.
On the political action committee Spirit of VMI website, a VMI alum wrote that DEI is a "Marxist doctrine at the center of the malignancy of identity politics."
Joseph Elie, VMI class of '88, even compares many of the people appointed in DEI departments to "gangsters."
DEI advocates have been very vocal about defending it. Former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder believes that people who criticize DEI simply don't understand what it means. He explains that equity is fairness and about providing everyone equal access to opportunities.