I have previously observed how the request by Governor Youngkin for the syllabi from selected universities in the Commonwealth (George Mason and VCU) was disturbing to me. The requests were for courses related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). I am unaware of requests regarding any other subject matter, such as religion, engineering, the sciences, arts, or medicine.

In fact, the Youngkin administration declared Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to be dead at Virginia Military Institute.

This unenlightened statement was made after a million-dollar investigation by the Northam administration revealed that racism and sexism still existed at the school.

Under that backdrop, I have been shocked and amazed at the subsequent actions of Governor Youngkin. That he has established himself as the arbiter of what constitutes the history of Virginia — and indeed the nation — was shocking enough, but to set in motion a “Code of Conduct for Commonwealth Appointees to Boards, Authorities, & Commissions,” tops it all.

The governor made the Arts Commission delete its DEI statement from its mission. This was a Board policy, previously adopted by the Board, yet the governor had his former Secretary of the Commonwealth delete that from its mission. No previous governor has done that. Appointees are now prevented from discussing anything that transpires during meetings. They were further admonished to refrain from any open discussion. 

This conscripted code of conduct is a first for Virginia. Does he not respect the character and integrity of his appointees? Must these board members check with him to express an opinion or take a position? WHAT is it of which Youngkin is afraid?  

He does not want the people to be involved in decision making or to have their voices heard.

I would be greatly surprised to find ANY previous governor embracing this view. 

I would likewise be surprised to find anyone in agreement with closing an eye to our history, particularly our racial history.

We should be proud of the progress we’ve made improving upon the well-documented history of systemic racism, rather than being blind to it.

Stay tuned.

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