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Eastern Virginia Medical School addresses racist yearbook photo

Eastern Virginia Medical School addresses racist yearbook photo
Posted at 12:51 PM, Feb 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-02 18:45:30-05

NORFOLK, Va. -- As Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam deals with the fallout following reports that racist photos appeared on his college yearbook page, Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) has issued a statement on the issue.

"We share the outrage, alarm and sadness voiced by our alumni, the press and many on social media regarding the picture published in the 1984 student yearbook. The picture is shockingly abhorrent and absolutely antithetical to the principles, morals and values we hold and espouse of our educational and research institution and our professions. Racism and discrimination in any form is not acceptable," EVMS President Richard Homan said. "I can find no explanation for how such a picture was able to be published in the past. This is a time for self-reflection and humility. On behalf of our beloved EVMS, I sincerely apologize for the past transgressions of your trust. We recognize the need to address and rectify any issues of racism and discrimination that arise — and will continue to take action to build a strong culture of diversity and inclusion.

"Therefore, I shall convene urgent meeting of members of our senior management leadership and members of our Boards to address this issue holistically for EVMS. We will, of course, include students, residents, faculty and staff in this work.

"It has been said that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. We shall all learn from this today and will come together to support and live the values and principles we hold so dear. We remain steadfast in reassuring our community that EVMS is absolutely committed to supporting and creating a culture of diversity, inclusion and social equality. We continue to affirm the tenets of our professions and our mission to recruit, educate and train a culturally competent healthcare workforce which reflects the demography of our nation and the patients we serve.

"Thank you for your tireless work to make EVMS and the communities we serve a better and healthier place. In my seven years at EVMS, I have witnessed the efforts of our outstanding faculty, students and staff to advance our missions. We have much more work to do and must now vow to do more to forge a better future together. I am confident that together, we shall.

After apologizing for the photo Friday night, Governor Northam told a source Saturday that he now believes it is not him in the photo and, despite mounting pressure to resign, that he will not do so, according a top Virginia Democratic source who spoke to the governor on Saturday.

Northam told the source he was in touch with some of his former Eastern Virginia Medical School colleagues, who said they believed many of the pictures in the yearbook were mixed up.

Northam did not recall the picture being taken, he told the source, and said he was not involved in the production of the yearbook.

Despite the increasing calls for him to resign, Northam said he is not  going to step down.

CNN Wire contributed to this report.