Well this is a bit disturbing: reader Woody wrote me that my own alma mater, The College of William and Mary, has disinvited Virginia Governor Ralph Northam from speaking after accusations that he appeared in a picture showing a Klan member and a white person in blackface. Yahoo News reports, apparently from the National Review (click on screenshot):
Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s previously scheduled speaking appearance at the College of William and Mary’s charter day and inauguration ceremony on Friday has been cancelled, the university announced Monday.
Northam, a Democrat, came under fire on Friday after it was revealed that his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page featured an image of two men, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan uniform.
“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,” College president Katherine Rowe said of the photo in a Monday statement.
Rowe, who was sworn in to her position by Northam in 2017, went on to praise the governor for serving as a “a welcoming ambassador for the Commonwealth,” but said his appearance would disrupt Friday’s proceedings.
“Under the circumstances, it has become clear that the Governor’s presence would fundamentally disrupt the sense of campus unity we aspire to and hope for with this event,” she wrote.
Now Northam denies he was in that picture, or even knew about it. I don’t really believe him, but even if he did, I’m not at all sure whether we should hold such youthful bigotry against him if he’s behaved in exemplary ways since then. I don’t think so, but it’s clear that as Governor, Northam is toast. He’s been neutered as an effective Governor, and will, I think, step down within about four days. And his waffling about the incident has been disturbing.
Even so, unless he’s been proven to be a bigot, the address should not have been canceled. President Rowe is assuming that Northam did indeed appear in that picture, and she’s also saying that he’s still responsible for that bigotry 35 years on.
She’s also saying that Northam would “disrupt Friday’s proceedings.” No, he wouldn’t. It would be other people who would disrupt those proceedings, and they shouldn’t be allowed to. When W&M students shouted down the Virginia ACLU director in 2017, I wrote to the then President in anger, and was told that it wouldn’t happen again. But President Reveley resigned and now we have President Rowe, and she’s blaming any disruption on the speaker. I am not down with that, and am dragging and throwing shade on the new President.