Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA), along with other top state officials, have called for an investigation into alleged racism at Virginia Military Institute.
The Hill reported that Northam and others sent a letter to VMI’s Board of Visitors announcing an “independent, third-party review” of the college after reports of racism surfaced in The Washington Post. Among the allegations are “structural racism,” an accusation that a professor described her family’s history as Ku Klux Klan members in positive terms, and alleged threats of lynching.
“Black cadets at VMI have long faced repeated instances of racism on campus, including horrifying new revelations of threats about lynching, vicious attacks on social media, and even a professor who spoke fondly of her family’s history in the Ku Klux Klan—to say nothing of inconsistent application of the Institute’s Honor Code,” the officials wrote in the letter. “This culture is unacceptable for any Virginia institution in the 21st century, especially one funded by taxpayers,” the letter continues. “Virginians expect all universities—and particularly public universities established by the General Assembly—to be welcoming and inclusive, and to eschew outdated traditions that glamorize a history rooted in rebellion against the United States.”
Northam graduated from VMI in 1981. In addition to him, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-VA) and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) also signed the letter.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, medical school yearbook photos show Northam in either blackface or wearing a KKK robe. The photos were added to his personal yearbook page. Northam initially apologized for the photos but a day later claimed he was not in them and didn’t know how they made it onto his page, which he was responsible for. But as Northam was insisting he wasn’t in the widely circulated blackface photo, he admitted to wearing blackface on another occasion.
“Yesterday I took responsibility for content that appeared on my page in the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook that was clearly racist and offensive. I am not and will not excuse the content of the photo,” Northam said at a February 2, 2019 press conference. “It was offensive, racist, and despicable. When my staff showed me the photo in question yesterday, I was seeing it for the first time.”
“My belief that I did not wear that costume or attend that party stems in part from my clear memory of other mistakes I made in the same period of my life,” Northam said during the same press conference. “That same year, I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume.”
Calls for the governor’s resignation poured in from fellow Democrats until sexual assault allegations surfaced against his immediate successor, Lt. Gov. Fairfax, and the next in line, Attorney General Herring, admitted to also wearing blackface decades ago. Once it was discovered that the next in line to become governor of Virginia was a Republican, Democrats stopped demanding Northam resign.