Statement of Kirk Cox on resignation of General J.H. Binford Peay, III


October 26, 2020

COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) released the following statement Monday on the resignation Virginia Military Institute Superintendent General J.H. Binford Peay, III:

“I want to thank and congratulate General Peay on his service to the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“After an extraordinary career as a highly decorated military leader who served his country with bravery, devotion and skill, he turned his talents to the education of young citizen-soldiers and made a lasting positive impact on the Virginia Military Institute he guided for nearly two decades. I very much enjoyed working with General Peay and always knew him to be a person of great character and a generous spirit who treated everyone with respect and earned the admiration of students and colleagues alike.

“I am deeply disappointed that General Peay was not afforded the respect he deserved by the Governor and the other elected officials who saw fit to demand his resignation only days after calling for an investigation of incidents alleged in the news media. The Governor, in particular, should understand the importance of withholding judgment until the facts are in and should treat others with the same grace he once sought for himself.

“The incidents at VMI alleged and described in the media are abhorrent and unacceptable, and there is simply no excuse for such behavior. A fair and complete investigation is merited and should be pursued vigorously. In the process, VMI’s own actions in response to the incidents should be fully considered. The findings should be made public and appropriate action must be taken when the report is complete.

“It sets a very dangerous precedent, however, for the Governor and other political officials to take precipitous actions in response to news stories, especially when those actions preempt the considered judgment of the governing board entrusted to manage the institution under our laws. Nothing will undermine the quality or reputation of our nationally-esteemed higher education system faster than for our colleges and universities to become political footballs tossed about by politicians who apparently lack the judgment and discretion to respect proper process and wait for the facts.

“General Peay deserved better. So does every person who wears the uniform of this country or engages in public service.”