Sunshine and Lollipops at W&L – The Kinney Letter

Judith Conlon wrote a letter published in the Lexington Gazette on Feb. 7. Mr. Kinney responded in his Feb. 13 letter to the Lexington News-Gazette. I read Mr. Kinney’s letter. I am a 1974 alumnus of Washington and Lee. I have worked with students on campus since 2015; I offer my perspective.

Ad Hominem:

Mr. Kinney, a 1969 W&L graduate, enshrines himself in a call for civility, claiming Ms. Conlon’s letter of Feb. 7 in the Gazette is a “mean spirited attack” and makes Mr. Dudley a ‘convenient scapegoat’. Mr. Kinney resorts to an ad hominem attack to deflect from Ms. Conlon’s substantive concerns about the University’s woke path. He blames the messenger. [i, ii ]

Ms. Conlon is a Harvard graduate and parent of a graduate from W&L. Ms. Conlon’s son arrived at W&L in 2012, graduating in 2016. Ms. Conlon praises the level of civil discourse her son enjoyed among W&L’s student, faculty and administrative community. Ms. Conlon remains closely interested in W&L’s path since then. Her letter explains the same downward spiral of culture and traditions happening at W&L as she is witnessing at Harvard. She knows her facts and she speaks with civility throughout her letter.

Definitions: Woke and Cancel Culture

Mr. Kinney chides us that Ms. Conlon’s use of the terms ‘woke’ and “cancel culture” deserve no place in civil discourse. He demonizes Ms. Conlon rather than offer substantive evidence to refute her concerns. The terms “woke” and ‘cancel culture” clearly belong in the Conlon letter.

Civil discourse does not mean agreeing with the opponent, or making someone comfortable. Anyone watching the William F. Buckley interview with Black Panther leader, Eldridge Cleaver, on Firing Line can witness real civil discourse. [1A]

Claiming discomfort from political disagreement is a snowflake reaction—emotion trying to cancel facts and logic. Ms. Conlon calmly lays out her history and current impressions and lays the blame at the feet of Washington and Lee’s CEO, William Dudley.

“Cancel culture” is uncivil and destroys the ability of speaker and listener to advance rational discussion. Shouting down, crowding entrances, sabotaging event seating availability, death threats and social savaging by anonymous opponents- –these are examples of Woke cancel culture. The seriousness of cancel culture is well documented. [1B]

All Is Well? …..Not So Fast……

Ibram X. Kendi, Critical Race Indoctrination, Student Death Threat and Student Theft:

Mr. Kinney assures us that all is well at W&L. He says “..I do not have a problem with the administration of W&L..”. Mr. Kinney says Mr. Dudley ‘projects a friendly demeanor to those with whom he works and associates..” Mr. Kinney admits he has never met Mr. Dudley.

Anyone surveying reported accounts from The Spectator and The Generals Redoubt can see how alive “woke” and “cancel culture” are at W&L.

Mr. Kinney relies upon his own English professor distant work experience 20 years ago to compare with W&L’s current implicit bias and white privilege indoctrination program. He then implies that his own generation was homophobic, racist or chauvinistic.

Mr. Dudley has overseen the desecration of Lee Chapel, removal of founders’ images on diplomas, introduced mandatory white privilege indoctrination for first year students. Mr. Kinney champions Mr. Dudley’s ideological threats to new students on campus—forcing W&L students to accept three course articles by Ibram X. Kendi. [2]

Recently new students were forced to attend orientation indoctrination. [3] By supporting Mr. Dudley, Mr. Kinney apparently endorses weak disciplinary action against theft of Retain The Name Signs. Mr. Dudley’s administration did nothing to publicly stand for freedom of speech or publicly punish thieves when on campus banners were stolen, twice. Dennis Hull spoke out in The Spectator. [4A]

Three students stealing Retain The Name signs off campus were allowed to remain in school, or graduate. Mr Dudley ignored Kamron Spivey’s challenge to take a public stand. [4B] Mr. Spivey appealed to the Board of Trustees. Crickets. [4C] TGR, an independent alumni group, successfully pursued criminal charges for theft of signs around Lexington, after these student thieves bragged on social media and posted photographs of their thefts!

Mr. Kinney apparently endorses Mr. Dudley’s refusal to take strong action where a student called for death to persons interested in hearing the Matt Walsh speech. The senior student, self-described socialist also posted a WWII photo of people hanging dead, upside down. “Blake Ramsey, ‘23, made waves on conservative platforms beginning on March 15, after posting on Instagram a famous 1945 image of fascist leader Benito Mussolini’s public hanging, with the caption “Because Matt Walsh is now apparently speaking at this school, I thought I would post an important reminder of what happens to fascists.”[5A1] Despite my call to Dudley to enforce state felony law, he did nothing. [5A2]

In August 2018, Mr. Dudley responded to the History Commission by announcing that Founders Day would be maintained [eliminated 2021]; school name would not be changed [attempt to change, but strong alumni objection stopped this 2 years later]; Lee House and Lee Chapel would not be renamed, [Lee Chapel renamed 3 years later]. [5B]

Woke Mind Virus, Elon Musk.

Woke relies on Critical Race Theory. CRT is the zombie reincarnation of Critical Theory, which was dying out based on mere economic class war. Critical Race Theory is an outgrowth of Critical Theory. [6, 8B]

‘Woke’ is shorthand for CRT, DEI and Intersectionality—an alphabet soup of aggrieved classes-seeking advantages over merit, responsibility and cooperative endeavor. ‘Woke’ demands discrimination based on skin color and gender, etc. It foments hate. Elon Musk says it best: “….at its heart wokeness is divisive, exclusionary and hateful…it basically gives mean people a reason …..a shield to be mean and cruel, armoured in false virtue.” [7]

Victimhood Inc.–The Race Hustle:

Woke ‘victims’ demand payment from oppressor classes. This is a cheap dodge to individual rights, merit, responsibility. Perpetual discrimination, ongoing denial of equal protection under the law and perpetual racial and gender class warfare, all for profit. Take the money out of woke hysteria and it disappears like the morning mists. Even Booker T. Washington saw this coming. He called them ‘problem profiteers.” His 1911 book, titled, My Larger Education lays it out: “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” (p. 118) [8A]. Thomas Sowell explains this best. Family standards and cultural qualities determine the outcomes. This is simply playing the race card for profit. [8B]

Mr. Dudley, DEI and Class Warfare:

Racial fairness requires racial neutrality, for individuals to treat each other fairly and opportunity, not outcomes, be made equally available. Equality of rights and opportunity is enshrined in the 14th Amendment. Voices from the recent past are the best indication of this. Treat each person as an individual, not a unit in the socialist class on class. Morgan Freeman speaks to this. [9] Denzel Washington speaks to this. [10]

Watch the video of alumnus Rodney Cook’s presentation in Lee Chapel. Mr. Cook’s family lived nearby and was close friends with Martin Luther King and his family. Watch this video to know how closely Atlanta’s white and black community worked together during the 1960s race riots to keep Atlanta peaceful. This is a perfect example of individuals working together to prevent socialist class warfare in a racial context. [11]

In Closing:

Pretty buildings, good food and Sex Week do not lessen the administration’s woke pressure on students. [12] Promoting discord in an ‘us versus them’ society, ‘discrimination for profit’ is crass, profitable socialism, undermining America’s aspiring arc. Mr. Dudley leads this trend at Washington and Lee, virtually hand in hand with Ibram X. Kendi.

Mr. Kinney is right about one thing: Mr. Dudley is the executive voice of the board of trustees. The board is tragically inbred. Alumni and parents are stakeholders without an effective voice; they are not ‘members’ with direct trustee voting power. Future stakeholders—parents– can only vote with their decisions where their children attend college. Any alumnus solicited by the University is a stakeholder; they can only withhold donation dollars as a rough proxy, proving their dismay over Washington and Lee’s Woke and Leftist path.

Accountability is the price of leadership. Ms. Conlon was right to raise her objections and did so in the W. F. Buckley classically civil way….detailing these problems and laying them at the feet of Mr. Dudley, the Chief Executive Officer of this private corporation, Washington and Lee. We see this play out daily in the wider corporate world. Washington and Lee University is no exception.

Selah. JEL,III Class of 1974


[i, ii ]  Feb. 7, 2024 Conlon letter

 Feb. 13, 2024 Kinney letter

 [1A] Eldridge Cleaver on Firing Line with William F Buckley Jr. (

[1B] Cancel Culture Is Only Getting Worse (

[2] Washington and Lee University | Critical Race Training in Education 

[3] Freshmen DEI Training Forces Speech — The W&L Spectator (

[4A]  Dennis Hull Commentary Letter from the Editor — The W&L Spectator (

[4B] Kamron Spivey May 8, 2021 letter to Mr. Dudley A letter from Kamron Spivey, W&L ’24:… – The W&L Spectator | Facebook.

[4C] Kamron Spivey May 14, 2021 challenge to the Board of Trustees letter. A letter from Kamron Spivey, W&L ’24:… – The W&L Spectator | Facebook

[5A1] YAF on X: “A student at Washington & Lee University took to social media to post this about @mattwalshblog’s upcoming YAF speech on March 30th. A perfect example of the “tolerant left.”” / X (

600+ W&L Students, Faculty, and Alumni Move to Ban Matt Walsh — The W&L Spectator (


[5B]— The Importance of Consistency and Transparency in Board

Decision Making at Washington and Lee University, 20 May 2022, Author: Neely Young, Class of 1966, The Generals Redoubt. 05-25-2022-Consistency-and-Transparency.pdf (

[6]  What is Critical Race Theory? | Critical Race Training in Education


[8A] Download My Larger Education – 6.7 MB (

[8B] Thomas Sowell Schools Race Hustlers (Rashad Richey, Ibram X. Kendi etc) | Thomas Sowell (




[12] How to “have an orgasm and squirt it,” other topics discussed at WLU’s Sex Week — The W&L Spectator (