The Editor's Corner

January 2020

Every two months or so, we plan to update our website with new articles, letters, and news items. The Editor's Corner will provide a guide to what is going on at Washington and Lee, with The Generals Redoubt, and on our website. The most important news within the last two months has been the petition that circulated within the law school and asked for the option to remove portraits of George Washington and Robert E. Lee from law school diplomas. The Generals Redoubt has made clear that we are opposed to offering this option and view the petition as another attempt to undermine the history, values, and traditions of Washington and Lee University. The petition seems to be in limbo at the moment; it has not been formally presented to either the President or the Board and neither the administration nor the Board has taken a stand on it. There is some indication that it will be presented to the Board at its February meeting. Whether the petition is formally presented or not, we hope that the Board and/or the President will make a public announcement stating that this option will not be granted and that all diplomas issued by the university will display the portraits of Washington and Lee.

            Though the petition may present a conundrum to the administration and Board, it seems to have rebounded to the advantage of The Generals Redoubt. We continue to recruit new members and now stand at about 9,000 folks on our email list. Many of these people have become a part of our email chain since the publication of the law school petition. The petition has also raised our visibility in the press: our president, Tom Rideout, has been asked by local and national media outlets alike to comment on both the petition and the general state of Washington and Lee University. Finally, upset over the petition has been a significant factor in promoting our fundraising effort. We launched our first annual fund in November with a goal of $125,000. We achieved that goal by the end of December and have now raised our goal to $500,000 for 2020. We are well on our way to achieving that goal. We would like everyone who believes in the broad goals of The Generals Redoubt to support our annual fund with a gift, no matter how small. At this point, we want to increase the number of contributors to the annual fund as much as we want to increase the dollar amount so that we can demonstrate our viability as an organization and as a fundraising mechanism.

            Another piece of positive news is the scheduled appearance of well-known scholar and author, Heather Mac Donald, at the Lee Chapel on March 12th at 7:00 p.m. Heather will be talking about her latest book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. In her book, Ms. Mac Donald argues that toxic ideas first spread by higher education have undermined humanistic values, fueled intolerance, and widened divisions in our larger culture. We invite all who are able to come and hear this important presentation.

            The focus of this month's rendition of the website is Robert E. Lee and his contributions to our university and our country. I have written the lead article which is entitled "The Legacy of Robert E. Lee." Rodney Cook, class of 1978, has put together a fact sheet on Robert E. Lee, which is fascinating and informative. Steve McCabe, class of 1980, has allowed us to reprint his letter to the W&L Board regarding Lee, the recumbent statue of Lee, and Lee Chapel following the report of the History Commission in summer 2018. In addition, I have updated a piece that I wrote earlier in 2019 on "The Drip, Drip, Drip of Political Correctness" at Washington and Lee. Some of you have read this, but I thought it was important to re-print it in light of the law school controversy.


Neely Young

Editor, The Generals Redoubt website

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