Investigation into VMI Hindered by Delays, Report StatesFebruary 12, 2021 | :
by Arrman Kyaw
The independent equity audit and investigation into the Virginia Military Institute has been hindered from delays, many of which were caused by VMI, according to investigators, The Roanoke Times reported.
The investigation began late because bid delays prevented the state and Barnes & Thornburg LLP from signing a contract until Jan. 7, and more delays have appeared.
One point of dispute has been whether school representatives should be present for interviews.
According to the report, VMI has repeatedly requested that its representatives be present during interviews with cadets and employees, to which investigators have refused, citing that the school’s presence will deter interviewees from being forthcoming.
“This also violates fundamental investigative best practice, as it allows the subject of an investigation to ‘shadow’ the progress of an investigation and potentially to steer its course and results,” according to the report.
Another hurdle involved the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
VMI spokesman Bill Wyatt said the school is trying to see how it can provide accurate information to investigators and comply with privacy laws at the same time. In the meantime, the school has not allowed investigators to interview cadets and current employees or visit campus, leaving investigators to interview alumni.
Investigators have also asked the school not to discipline cadets and faculty based on interviews, which the school has agreed to. But it has not agreed to suspend its honor code.