The Corner

Politics & Policy

Northam’s Medical School: After Extensive Review, We’ve Figured Out . . . Almost Nothing

Ralph Northam’s yearbook page from 1984 (Obtained by National Review)

The photo of a person in blackface and a person in a Klan hood on Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s medical-school yearbook page will remain an eternal mystery, according to Eastern Virginia Medical School. Shortly after the controversy arose, the school launched an investigation, but this morning, administrators announced that months of inquiries had determined nothing new about the photo.

“With respect to the Photograph on Governor Northam’s personal page, we could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the Photograph,” the medical school said its summary of the findings. “The Governor himself has made inconsistent public statements in this regard. No individual that we interviewed has told us from personal knowledge that the Governor is in the photograph, and no individual with knowledge has come forward to us to report that the Governor is in the photograph.”

The report also said that they did not find any information that the photograph was placed on Northam’s personal page in error and that they could not conclusively determine the origins of the photograph.

Northam’s yearbook photo now ranks alongside the Easter Island statues, the crystal skulls, the Voynich Manuscript, and the Antikythera mechanism as one of those mysterious artifacts that no one on earth can possibly explain. The picture just appeared on his page one day in the ancient era of the mid 1980s, and not even Virginia’s greatest experts can formulate a plausible explanation of how such a racist image could possibly have ended up on the page of a man whose yearbook declared he had the nickname “Coonman.” Clearly, this is the most enigmatic and baffling image to spontaneously appear, without any indication of human activity, since the Shroud of Turin.

The most interesting conclusion of the report is that the medical school knew about the photo for many years and chose to ignore it.

The probe found that two EVMS presidents, including current president Richard Homan, were told about the racist photo while Northam was running for political offices and decided not to make it public.

“We understand President Homan’s reasoning was EVMS should not become involved, or be seen to become involved, in an election as it is a public body and a public institution, and that EVMS did not not want there to be any suggestion that it had tried to influence Governor Northam in any respect by calling the photograph to his attention,” the report says.

We all have to stand up to racism . . . unless, you know, it might jeopardize the election chances of one of our alumni; then it’s okay to pretend you didn’t see it.

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