Monday, January 30, 2023

Racist pics: EVMS will look into past yearbooks, its present culture, and the probe will be transparent

EVMS President Richard Homan spoke at a news conference concerning the recent inappropriate photos found in EVMS yearbooks. (Melanie Occhiuzzo/Southside Daily)
EVMS President Richard Homan spoke at a news conference concerning the recent inappropriate photos found in EVMS yearbooks. (WYDaily)

Eastern Virginia Medical School’s investigation into inappropriate and racist photos found in previous yearbooks will be transparent.

That assurance was made the EVMS President Richard Homan during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Norfolk. The probe also will look into how those photos were published and if any actions are needed to be taken.

Homan wants an external advisory board to investigate both past and present instances of inappropriate and racially-insensitive behavior both on the campus and in the university’s programs.

The vice president of diversity and inclusion, Mekbib Gemeda, made remarks about the strides EVMS has taken over the years to be an inclusive university to all who study there.

Homan said while he has not had direct contact with Gov. Ralph Northam’s office since the photos surfaced, the governor’s staff did stop by the university to look through the yearbooks.

Homan said there was a pattern of inappropriate photos in past EVMS Yearbooks and after several photos were presented to him by Gemeda in early 2014, he made the decision to halt yearbook operations permanently.

There has not been a yearbook since the 2013 edition, Homan said.

The advisory board will also determine how the photos in Northam’s 1984 page were published and if any other actions needed to be taken.

In a statement Feb. 2, Homan called the picture published as “shockingly abhorrent and absolutely antithetical to the principles, morals and values we hold and espouse of our educational and research institution and our professions.”


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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