A former Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) yearbook staff member said students got to choose the pictures featured on their personal yearbook pages, and therefore was unlikely that Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam was unaware of the blackface Ku Klux Klan photo.
William Elwood was part of Northam’s graduating class and was on the yearbook committee in 1984, News 3 reported Monday. Students could submit three pictures as long as they did not show nudity or exhibit violence.
The picture that has caused a media storm shows one person wearing blackface and another in a KKK costume under Northam’s name in the 1984 yearbook.
Northam said at a news conference that the controversial picture was misplaced, but Elwood claimed that scenario was unlikely as pictures were sealed in an envelop, according to News 3.
“Anything is possible, but the probability is low unless someone was out to get him and was able to get access to all this stuff,” Elwood said, CNN reported. “All of this stuff was kept in a locked room, and the only time the room was unlocked was when somebody was in that room working on the yearbook.”
Elwood added the yearbook was run and produced by students with no university staff involvement, News 3 reported.
“If this is what the person wants on their page, so be it,” Elwood said, according to News 3.
Elwood claimed that nobody complained about pictures being placed under the wrong person’s name, CNN reported.
Northam apologized for the picture on Friday, but then denied being in the picture in a Saturday news conference.
He admitted to darkening his face with shoe polish when dressing up as Michael Jackson at a San Antonia, Texas, dance competition, however.
Prominent Democrats like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard have called on Northam to resign.
Northam was reportedly considering to leave his position, but no official statement has been made.