Eastern Virginia Medical School officials speak on racist yearbook photos

/ CBS/AP

CBSN

Officials from Eastern Virginia Medical School, which Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attended, spoke Tuesday about the racist photos that appeared on Northam's yearbook page, as well as on others over the years.

The school's president, Richard Homan, apologized again for photos he called "shockingly racist, repugnant," "unprofessional" and "inappropriate." He said that an independent law firm will be investigating the publication of the photos, but went on to say, "I do not need a report to know this was the ultimate responsibility of EVMS."

The school has faced an onslaught of criticism since Friday, when Northam's page in the medical school's 1984 yearbook was published, showing one person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan costume. Northam initially apologized for appearing in the photo and then the next day said that he did not believe he was either of the two figures in the photo.

He also attributed the appearance of the photo on his page to someone else's mistake and said he had not seen the yearbook, which he said he did not purchase, until last week. He has been fending off calls to resign by the NAACP as well as national and state Democrats, who swiftly condemned the use of the photo.

Ralph Northam yearbook page WTKR-3 Brendan Ponton

Homan had apologized earlier, on Saturday, saying, "We share the outrage, alarm and sadness voiced by our alumni, the press and many on social media regarding the picture published in the 1984 student yearbook." He called the photo "shockingly abhorrent and absolutely antithetical to the principles, morals and values we hold and espouse….Racism and discrimination in any form is not acceptable."

Since Friday, another classmate of Northam's was found to be wearing a blackface costume in the same yearbook. According to CBS4 in Denver, Parkview Hospital, in Pueblo, said that Dr. Stephen Nafziger appears in blackface in costume as part of the group The Supremes.

First published on February 5, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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