EVMS President calls for investigation into past yearbooks after Northam controversy

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NORFOLK, Va. - The President of Eastern Virginia Medical School has called for an external investigation into all past yearbooks that have been published at the school.

Announcements for investigations come after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's 1984 yearbook page surfaced with a controversial photo. That photo included two people: One in blackface and the other in KKK costume.

Recently, a statement was released from the Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors on February 3. The first quote within the statement reads:

The Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors, like the administration, faculty, staff and students of EVMS, are committed to our core values of integrity, collegiality and excellence,” said Rector David A. Arias, Founder of SwimWays. “The Board, like our senior management team, is committed to discovering quickly how unacceptable photos such as these came to be published in the past. Further, we are committed to ensuring that our existing culture is one that would never tolerate such actions today.

The statement goes on to address an objective third-party investigation, that was called by Rector Arias, to be conducted on the "shocking findings."

Marcus Martin, MD, Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity at the University of Virginia was the first African American graduate of Eastern Virginia Medical School and is a Board Member and Class of 1976 alum.

“I did not personally experience overt racism while a medical student. I am distraught to see the blackface and KKK photo. It does not reflect the culture of the medical school" said Martin.

With assistance from the Board of Visitors' leadership, the president plans to review and determine the processes for publishing the yearbooks, find what, if any, administrative judgement was used and examine the campus' culture.

According to the statement, he also plans to provide recommendations for future actions.

The president promises to begin the investigation as soon as possible, with transparency, and a panel of advocates for diversity and people representative of those including African Americans and other people of color.

For full coverage on Gov. Northam's yearbook photo controversy, click here.

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