Northam’s medical school discusses yearbook photos

Northam’s medical school discusses yearbook photos

NORFOLK, VA (WWBT) - Eastern Virginia Medical School said it is looking into how the racist photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page was published.

The photo emerged last week in an EVMS yearbook from 1984 with someone in black ace and another person in a KKK robe.

On Friday, Northam, a Democrat, had admitted to wearing a racist costume in that photo.

“I have spent the past year as your governor fighting for a Virginia that works better for all people. I am committed to continuing that fight through the remainder of my term,” Northam said a statement. "That photo and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents does not reflect that person I am today or the way I have conducted myself as a soldier, a doctor and a public servant. I’m deeply sorry.”

Then on Saturday, Northam said he wasn’t the person in the photo and called a press conference to address the issue. He said that Friday was the first time he saw the yearbook photo.

EVMS President Dr. Richard Homan apologized for the photo on Northam’s page.

Tuesday, the medical school Northam attended held a special press conference, apologizing for the racist photo and launching an internal investigation of campus life.

“Some are shockingly racist, some a repugnant and others are unprofessional and inappropriate,” Homan said.

Officials at Eastern Virginia Medical School speak out in a press conference Tuesday on several racist photos found in the school’s yearbooks in the last three decades.

“There is no place for these type of photos and we regret what has happened,” Vice Rector for the Board of Visitors Mark Warden said.

“EVMS yearbooks contained shocking and abhorrent pictures that were unethical to the values and principles of our profession,” Homan said.

Homan said he has no idea how the pictures got out but apologizes on behalf of the school.

“I have no idea of how the picture got to the internet or blog or internet or got to the web,” Homan said.

In addition to the photo on Northam’s page, the president confirms he was informed of other questionable images just a few years ago.

“I want to express my sincere apologies, particularly to the African-American communities, who are most injured‚” Homan said.

A third-party investigator has been called in to review the cultural atmosphere on campus.

“This investigation will be fully independent and will not be restricted in scope and will be fully transparent,” Warden said.

The University now taking a close look at campus life and even added a community advisory committee, which includes a former President of the University of Richmond.

“We want this to be more than just a review from 30 years ago, we want to know what’s happening today,” Homan said.

Homan said representatives from Northam’s team came to look at the yearbook over the weekend, but he has not spoken with Governor Northam.

Homan said the yearbook was a student run project, and didn’t always have a staff or faculty administrator.

After learning of the inappropriate and racist pictures in 2013, Homan decided to shut the yearbook down.

The school says they are committed to making their students comfortable and say they will learn from past mistakes.

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