RIT condemns racist photos found in old yearbooks

February 20, 2019 07:23 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- A local college is condemning its own yearbook after racist photos were found more than 40 years later.

School leaders got a heads up that RIT, along with other colleges across the country, will be featured in a national story focusing on racists photos published in yearbooks.


Campus officials are trying to get out in front of the story, but the school is already facing backlash. 

One of the photos shows several people dressed in KKK hoods, a person who appears to be in blackface, and someone carrying a noose. 

A user posted the picture on RIT's Facebook page referencing the controversy. The school confirms that is one of the photos in question. It's from the late 1970s.

While RIT had already removed online versions of multiple offensive photos, there are still hardcopy versions.

RIT's President David Munson released the following 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."

As part of their continuous campus dialogue on racial issues, RIT will hold a Gray Matter discussion Friday, Feb. 22 in the Allen Chapel of the Schmitt Interfaith Center. Gray Matter is a discussion series designed by RIT faculty, students, and staff to promote exploration of provocative topics related to higher education and the campus community.

The national story from USA Today is expected to drop sometime Thursday. As part of the coverage, the D&C also reports RIT is not the only college in our area with questionable yearbook photos.


Brennan Somers

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