University of Richmond: Racist photos in yearbook are ‘repulsive’

University of Richmond: Racist photos in yearbook are ‘repulsive’
The image appeared in the University of Richmond yearbook in 1980s.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The University of Richmond says that an image that was shared on social media this week of a yearbook are “repulsive to us.”

The photo shows a male student with a noose around his neck surrounded by people in KKK robes. It was published in the 1980 yearbook.

“Such images reflect a past that must be reconciled and understood,” President Ronald A. Crutcher said. “We do not intend to forget or erase those moments. Rather, we must examine and understand our history so that we may become the more inclusive community we aspire to be.”

These photos come after a racist photo emerged on the governor’s yearbook page from 1984 on Friday.

Northam took responsibility for that photo but says in the hours following, he reflected with family and friends and does not believe the photo is of him because he has no memory of it. Northam said that Friday was the first time he saw the yearbook that includes someone in blackface and a KKK robe.

While Northam said this is not him in the photo, he said that he did dress up as Michael Jackson when he was 25 years old and darken his face then on a separate occasion in San Antonio for a dance contest.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface at a party in 1980.

“That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others," said Herring in the statement. " ... This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the nearly 40 years since."

Full University of Richmond statement:

Last night we became aware that a racist yearbook image had been shared on social media. The image that was shared from the yearbook is repulsive to us. Images of this sort, and the behavior and attitudes they represent, are appalling and antithetical to the values of the University today. No one should have to experience the pain caused by such vile images, or evidence of such behavior, either at the time the incident occurs or thereafter.

Such images reflect a past that must be reconciled and understood. We do not intend to forget or erase those moments. Rather, we must examine and understand our history so that we may become the more inclusive community we aspire to be.

We know that we have work to do in our community in this respect, and I am grateful to the many faculty, staff, students, and alumni who are dedicated to fulfilling this responsibility. Our ongoing work includes teaching, scholarship, research, and oral histories that confront historical issues of racism and discrimination directly and honestly. This need is also the reason that fostering a thriving and inclusive community is central in the strategic plan, why the Commission on University History and Identity is exploring how our history has been recorded and will help us communicate that history more inclusively, and why the President’s Advisory Committee on Making Excellence Inclusive will soon issue their report on what we can do to make the University an exemplary intercultural community.

We have no intention of varnishing our history. We are committed to understanding the dark and troubling moments of our past and learning from them. As an institution of higher education, our students — past, present, and future — deserve no less.

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