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VMI cadets praised by governor for restarting newspaper after five years

The paper remains independent from the military college

Cadets at the Virginia Military Institute have succeeded in bringing the student newspaper back after a five-year hiatus. Their work has even received a commendation from the state’s chief executive.

A resolution in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate, passed this session, congratulated the paper on its 115th anniversary and its restart after the latest iteration ended in 2016.

The resolution stated that the newspaper “ceased publication in 2016” but “restarted…in May 2021” with a “commitment to independent, objective, balanced journalism.” It noted that The Cadet has successfully operated for another year now.

Governor Glenn Youngkin congratulated the paper, according to a message shared on the newspaper’s website.

“I am pleased to extend my sincere congratulations to The Cadet, one of Virginia’s oldest independent college newspapers, on your 115th Anniversary,” the Republican governor wrote. “From its establishment as a magazine in 1871 to its transition to a newspaper in 1907 to today, The Cadet and its alumni have set the standard for independent student newspapers in the Commonwealth and the United States.”

Youngkin noted the paper’s editorial independence and its work with alumni. “The Commonwealth is equally proud of The Cadet Foundation, alumni and mentors who continue to advise, assist and support cadets as they publish the independent student newspaper,” Youngkin wrote.

MORE: VMI buckles and removes Stonewall Jackson statue

The editor-in-chief of the paper, James Mansfield, reiterated this independence from university control in an email to The College Fix.

“The Cadet has total control of the Cadet,” Mansfield told The Fix via email. And it is “paid for and run [separate] from VMI.”

Mansfield said he helped with the restart effort in 2021. “The Cadet came back online as an effort [led] by seniors in the class of 2021,” the student editor told The Fix. “They wanted a physical paper to hand out for their graduation in the spring of last year,” he stated. “They got in touch with some Alumni [who] operated the paper back in the day who offered the general layout of how everything was done then.”

“I was a junior at the time and helped them in this regard taking over the paper in the fall of 2021,” Mansfield stated.

Staff for The Cadet hope to host a debate on diversity efforts at the military university, though Mansfield told The Fix that the school’s communications director has been “dragging his heels in regards to hosting the debate.” The Cadet announced it has secured a speaker from the Heritage Foundation.

Colonel Bill Wyatt “requested that all communication between the Cadet and VMI go through him directly,” Mansfield stated on April 23, with regard to finding a university representative to debate.

“As far as I know, details of a debate have not yet been finalized nor any invitations extended to the administration,” Wyatt told The Fix. “The cadet editors were instructed to contact my office to coordinate. They have not done so,” he stated on April 20. “Once details are made available to the administration, we will consider whether or not to attend.”

An alumnus of VMI told The Fix he supports an independent newspaper but wants diversity efforts continued at the university.

“Bottom line -yes. The Cadet should be allowed to operate independent of VMI,” Jerry Brooks, a 1985 graduate, told The College Fix via Facebook messenger.

“[Diversity, equity and inclusion] should not be stopped. DEI is a major part of today’s corporate world,” he said, when asked about the initiatives at the university. “The job of every college is to prepare its students for the modern working world. And that does include DEI,” Brooks stated. “If the cadets at VMI are not exposed to DEI at some level, then without it they enter the corporate world at a disadvantage.”

MORE: VMI considers racial sensitivity training

IMAGE: Glenn Youngkin/YouTube

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Gigi De La Torre is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying English with a concentration in writing and a minor in political science. She is a member of the Center for Leadership as well as the Great Books Honors Program. She is a member of the women’s soccer team.