University Democrats, College Republicans call for Northam’s resignation

Photo from Va. Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook depicts blackface, KKK hood


Northam, who spoke in the Rotunda when the School of Data Science was announced in January 2019, said in his video statement he intends to serve out the remaining three years of his term.

Riley Walsh | Cavalier Daily

Both the University Democrats and College Republicans have released statements calling for Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) to resign after a photograph emerged in his 1984 medical school yearbook that shows a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

The University Democrats, who organized events and helped campaign for Northam’s 2017 election against Republican Ed Gillespie, released their statement on Facebook Friday night.

“The photo depicts Governor Northam as either a man in blackface or a man in a KKK uniform, constituting an obvious display of anti-Black racism that deserves universal denunciation from both sides of the political aisle,” the statement read. “That act and inclination, no matter how long ago it was exhibited, is immediately disqualifying for political office. Governor Northam has no right to continue his governorship or claim that he can still represent all Virginians.”

Hours after the photograph surfaced, Northam issued a written and video statement on his Twitter page apologizing for his conduct. Calls for his resignation have come from the NAACP, Congressman Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), Kamala Harris (D-Ca.) and singer John Legend.

“The only way Governor Northam can begin to ‘heal the damage’ he caused is to resign,” the University Democrats said. “Furthermore, he is incapable of guiding Virginia through the healing, policy changes, and racial reconciliation necessary as a result of the long-reaching history of the Civil War, historical and contemporary Jim Crow, and the recent, horrific events of August 11th and 12th, 2017.”

The College Republicans stated on their Facebook page that Northam’s past actions are “deeply disturbing and improper” and urged him to “put his political ambition aside and put the people of Virginia first.”

If Northam were to resign, he would be replaced by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-Va.). Fairfax, who defeated Republican nominee Jill Vogel in the 2017 election, would serve the remaining years in Northam’s term and then be eligible to run again in 2021 for a full four-year term.

Larry Sabato, director of the University’s Center for Politics, said on Twitter that Northam’s resignation would be the first in modern Virginia history. Northam announced in his video statement he intends to serve out the remaining three years of his term. 

Full statements below:

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