(July 5, 2020) Two days ago I posted a form that enables interested persons to submit their opinions about a proposal at Washington & Lee University to remove the name “Lee” and minimize his connections to the school. Here’s what I wrote:
Many colleges have an honor code but few will let anyone enter the student bookstore without first checking their backpacks and other bags that might be used to steal textbooks. That’s not true at W & L because the honor code is taken seriously. Without respecting Lee, W & L’s honor code will become devalued and ineffective. Nothing could be more damaging to the leadership potential of future W & L graduates.
Ninety-two-year-old former NBC News Anchor and W & L alumnus, Roger Mudd, once wrote that the honor code was taken so soberly that professors could pass out exams, leave the classroom and return to pick up the blue books. Other alumni 20-to-30 years younger have provided similar testimonies for me personally. So long as they affixed the Honor Pledge the work was accepted and graded with the understanding that the student neither received nor gave help.
Based upon my visit to the school in January to request a denied opportunity to speak in defense of Confederate statues, I met others who told me the honor code was still taken earnestly. One told me that the students are more strict with enforcement than are the professors. I think the Robert E. Lee tradition has a great deal to do with the code’s success. He greeted each new incoming class with a remark I may be paraphrasing: “We have only one rule at Washington College: All our students must be gentlemen.”
I do, however, feel compelled to add that I got indications from non-academic Lexington residents that many resent the W & L “brats” who swoop into town for four years, change community traditions such as the Lee-Jackson Day Parade and then leave forever. I hope the present W & L Administration will consider that as well. The town has a population of only 7,000. W & L students, faculty and administration may be treating the non-academic residents like peons, if not slaves. If so, they are ignoring Lee’s instruction to be gentlemen (and ladies), thereby demonstrating the consequences of dismissing tradition.
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To defend Confederate Heritage get informed by purchasing and reading the books at My Amazon Author Page.
The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh