NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the results of an investigation into how a racist photo appeared on a yearbook page for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (all times local):
Two presidents of the medical school Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attended were aware of the racist photo on his 1984 yearbook page several years before the photo surfaced in February.
However, neither the current president of Eastern Virginia Medical School nor a previous one notified Northam or the public about the photo.
The presidents’ previous knowledge of the photograph came to light Wednesday in a law firm’s report on how the photo ended up on Northam’s yearbook page.
The image shows a person in blackface standing next to a person in Ku Klux Klan clothing.
Current EVMS President Dr. Richard Homan said at a news conference that the school is an apolitical public institution that shouldn’t become involved in politics. The school became aware of the photo during years that Northam ran for office.
Lawyers who investigated how a racist photo appeared on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page say he initially apologized to for being in the picture out of an abundance of caution, but he didn’t believe he was in the photo.
Investigators on behalf of Eastern Virginia Medical School said Wednesday they couldn’t “conclusively determine” the identities of either person in the 35-year-old photo.
Investigators said Northam didn’t believe he was in the photo when he first saw it, but did not want to issue an immediate denial in case someone would contradict him.
Attorney Richard Cullen was one of the investigators and said Northam “erred on the side of caution initially and immediately regretted not having denied.”
The findings of an investigation into how a racist photo appeared on a yearbook page for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam are set to be released.
Eastern Virginia Medical School plans to make the results of the investigation public at a news conference on Wednesday.
The independent investigation was conducted by the law firm McGuireWoods on behalf of the medical school in Norfolk.
Northam’s profile in the 1984 yearbook includes a photo of a man in blackface standing next to someone in Ku Klux Klan clothing. Northam denies being in the photo, which nearly ended his political career in February. Yearbook staff members have disagreed over whether the photo could have been mistakenly placed on Northam’s page.
Thousands of letters and emails were sent to alumni asking for information.