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Wake Forest dean apologizes for 1982 Confederate flag photo

Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM — A Wake Forest University administrator has apologized for a 1982 yearbook photo of her standing in front of a Confederate flag. Some students are calling for her resignation.

The picture shows Dean of Admissions Martha Allman, who graduated from the school in 1982, standing in front of a Confederate battle flag with Kappa Alpha fraternity members.

Allman issued a letter Thursday acknowledging the photo and apologizing for being in it.

“That flag was a symbol of pain and racism then just as it is now, and I understand that much differently in 2019 than I did in 1982,” Allman said in her letter. “Thirty-seven years of life, experiences, relationships and education have made a difference in my way of understanding the world and my ability to empathize with those who are different from me.”

Allman said she maintains her commitment to moving Wake Forest forward in equity and inclusion and working to make the campus a welcoming and nurturing community for all.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports Kappa Alpha has long been criticized for a history of questionable party themes, such as a 2014 party some students deemed a “dress like a black person party.” The party was shut down.

The fraternity is also known for displaying the Confederate flag on campus and at parties.

Graduate divinity student Donnecia Brown said a conversation with Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch on Thursday, when the photo was revealed, didn’t go far enough and brushed over the “systemic racism on campus.”

“Sure, she can stand in front of a Confederate flag — racist traumatic memorabilia — and be forgiven, but not all groups are given that kind of leniency,” Brown said. “Ultimately, we want her to resign and for administrators to be accountable for the grievances brought to them at the panel yesterday.”

As calls come for Allman’s resignation, school officials confirmed that she is set to take a new position this summer as senior assistant provost and dean of university integration.

Two weeks ago, Wake Forest officials released a statement acknowledging racist images published in past yearbooks.

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