This LTE from Roanoke.Com by Betsy D. Beamer shows the difference in Jim Webb and George Allen on Horny Woman's Dream and VMI. Ms Beamer writes:
I wanted to comment on your recent editorial, "Woman can fight" (Sept. 14), which underscores the effect that Jim Webb's 1979 article had on women in the service academies.
You tried to draw a comparison with former Gov. George Allen's resistance in making VMI coeducational by saying that on this issue, voters will find no solace with Gov. Allen's positon either.
You are comparing apples to oranges.
The question is not whether or not one supports single-sex education. The question is the treatment of women in military institutions.
Gov. Allen, like Gov. Douglas Wilder and the state's bipartisan leadership, agreed on preserving single-sex education at VMI. But here is the stark difference between George Allen and Jim Webb:
Once the United States Supreme Court ruled that women should be accepted at VMI and the board of visitors at VMI (with no instruction from the governor) voted to admit women, Allen took a strong stand and made it very clear to everyone in state government that he would not tolerate any attempts to demean, harass or damage the young women who attended VMI.
I was very proud of his leadership on this issue as he spoke out quickly during a very emotional time.
He showed nothing but respect for the law and, more important, these women by declaring that they deserved to be treated respectfully as well as deserved an opportunity to succeed at VMI. A safe environmenet where they could both live safely and learn effectively was paramount.
While this was going on in Virginia, new female cadets at the Citadel in South Carolina had a very different experience. There were numerous reports of them being subject to hazing and abuse. Allen made it abundantly clear that the word had to be delivered to all parties that he would have zero tolerance on this subject.
Allen's respect for the female cadets at VMI contrasts sharply with the disgusting and demeaning statements made by Webb about the young women attending the U.S. Naval Academy. On one hand, you have Webb, whose words created a hostile environment for women. On the other, you have Allen's leadership to make sure that the VMI women were treated with dignity and given the chance to succeed.