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RIT condemns racist yearbook photo; campus discussion to be held this week

Feb 20, 2019

RIT has released a statement that talks about a racist photo that was included in a student-produced RIT yearbook from the late 1970s.

The university has the information on its Facebook page, saying that it has learned that both national and local media outlets soon will publish stories referencing racist yearbook photos from college campuses across the country. The statement from RIT  says that a photo, taken from that student-produced RIT yearbook from the 1970s may be included.

RIT says a number of offensive photos had previously been removed from online versions of RIT yearbook, but they remain in hardcopy versions.

RIT President David Munson issued this statement:

“These highly offensive photos, which appeared in an old student publication, should have been completely unacceptable back then. Today we condemn them in the strongest possible terms. They do not represent our institutional values nor reflect our efforts to make RIT a more diverse and inclusive campus. We remain deeply committed to maintaining a safe and supportive environment with policies that promote dignity and respect for all individuals.”

RIT says these types of images “provide the opportunity to learn from the past as part of our continuous campus dialogue on racial issues.”

It’s part of the university’s ‘Gray Matter’ series of discussions on various topics, to be held Friday, noon to 2pm in the Allen Chapel of the Schmitt Interfaith Center.

The Washington Post noted earlier this month that racist photos from old college yearbooks are surfacing after the recent revelation that involved a photo of people  dressed in blackface and a KKK robe in a 1984 yearbook page of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Northam first acknowledged being in the photo, then he later said he wasn’t in it.