WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — In light of the controversy surrounding Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, William & Mary says the governor will no longer participate in the Charter Day events scheduled for this weekend.
The school’s president, Katherine A. Rowe, issued a statement Monday morning saying she is “appalled and saddened by the revelation” of the racist image on Northam’s 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page.
“That behavior has no place in civil society – not 35 years ago, not today. It stands in stark opposition to William & Mary’s core values of equity and inclusion, which sustain our mission of learning, teaching, and research. Recognizing how much work remains to be done to advance these values, in support of our mission, these images must renew our sense of urgency”
The photo surfaced online Friday, prompting numerous calls for Northam’s resignation from politicians and officials across the Commonwealth.
William & Mary is scheduled to hold its Charter Day Ceremony Friday, February 8, at Kaplan Arena. The event will also serve as the official inauguration of Rowe as William & Mary’s president.
Northam was scheduled to take part in the Charter Day and inauguration, but Rowe said the governor will no longer “be part of Friday’s program.”
A university spokesperson told WAVY News 10 this was a mutual decision after conferring with the governor’s office.
Rowe added in her statement that Northam’s presence would “fundamentally disrupt the sense of campus unity we aspire to and hope for with this event.”