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Gettysburg Trustee Resigns Over Nazi Costume

February 20, 2019
 
 

Bob Garthwait has resigned as a trustee of Gettysburg College after photos circulated -- as first reported by the student newspaper, The Gettysburgian -- showing him in a Nazi costume. The photo appeared in the 1980 yearbook, showing the event, which took place when Garthwait was a sophomore. Janet Morgan Riggs, the college's president, sent an email to the campus in which she called the image (at right, with Garthwait at right) "deeply disturbing." She added, "Anti-Semitism clearly contradicts our values as an institution today, as it did when this photo was taken."

The college also released a statement from Garthwait: "It recently came to my attention that there is a photograph in the 1980 yearbook taken during my sophomore year, in which I am dressed as a German soldier in a POW camp setting as part of a World War II-Stalag 13 (Hogan’s Heroes TV show)-themed floor at a fraternity party. I understand how disturbing this image is to members of the Gettysburg College community, and especially those who are Jewish. As a sophomore in 1980, I was not fully aware of the significance of those symbols. While this is no excuse, I am deeply embarrassed and regret participating in this event where Nazi symbols were used. As an alumnus, it has been one of my great pleasures to be instrumental in the founding of the Garthwait Leadership Center, which focuses on the values of integrity, respect and inclusiveness. My sincere hope is that our current students will learn from my poor judgment 38 years ago and be more thoughtful than I was about the impact of their actions on others. I extend my sincere apologies to the entire Gettysburg College community, and I humbly ask for your forgiveness."

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