Eastern Virginia Medical School apologized Tuesday for its old racist yearbook photos amid the scandal over whether Gov. Ralph Northam is in one of them showing a white man in blackface next to another in Ku Klux Klan attire.
The Democratic Virginia governor, clinging to office despite widespread calls for resignation, now claims he is not in the 1984 picture from his alma mater yearbook, though he admitted wearing blackface during a separate instance that year. The school president, Richard Homan, held a press conference to address the scandal and the history of racism at the institution.
“We are acutely hurt by the events which occurred, but it does not compare to the feelings of outrage and pain for our minority and African American community here at EVMS, Virginia and around the nation,” Homan said, in video that appeared on CNN. “The emotional wounds they endure are enormous.”
Homan said he regretted the impact of the school’s blind eye to overt racism.
“I want to express my sincere apologies, particularly to the African American communities who are most injured from the pictures of the yearbooks and those pictures which have been circulated in the press over the last few days,” he said. “I am so sorry for the pain that has inflicted upon you.”
Northam has defied calls for resignation, but admitted to a time he painted his face with shoe polish while dressing as Michael Jackson for a dance contest.
He has fallen under bipartisan criticism from Democrats and even President Donald Trump.