The head of the medical school whose yearbook sparked controversy after racist photos surfaced on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s page in 1984 got rid of the annual after he found pictures of students in Confederate garb, according to a report on Monday.

Shortly after Provost Richard Homan hired Mekbib Gemeda as vice president of diversity at Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2013, Homan showed him a yearbook containing photos of three white students wearing Confederate uniforms posing in front of a Confederate battle flag, the Washington Post reported.

Homan told Gemeda, who had been an assistant dean for diversity affairs at New York University’s School of Medicine, that the students in the photo had to receive counseling and sensitivity training.

“We need to make sure they understand as physicians that this is offensive to me as well as to future patients and grossly offensive to minority students and African- Americans,” Homan said he told Gemeda. “They’re going to be taking care of everybody. You can’t be wearing incendiary symbols if you’re going to be a young physician and a healer.”

He also put an end to future editions of the yearbook.

But he didn’t go back and review earlier yearbooks to see if they contained similar images.

“In retrospect, that was my error,” said Homan. “I thought because I stopped publication that would have been enough. I think in retrospect, I would have had an audit or review of those.”

Last Friday, conservative website Big League Politics released a photo of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe on Northam’s yearbook page.

Original Source


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