Freshmen at Gettysburg College tell us they felt welcomed with open arms when they started school— regardless of their race, religion, or status.
“It’s open, everyone here is open. A lot of races around. A lot of diversity,” said one student.
Which is why they say a recent photo that surfaced is especially shocking.
“It’s a terrible thing to see,” said another.
“A name that’s pretty prominent around campus, I was shocked and not real happy about it,” said a third, named Matthew Siegler.
One of the men in the picture is Robert Garthwait, JR., who graduated in 1982.
Over the last several decades, Garthwait has become a well known name around campus.
He was on the Board of Trustees, and also made several substantial donations to the school, even funding the Garthwait Leadership Center.
“The fact that’s it’s associated with leadership and building future leaders for our country and our campus, to have somebody who had his picture taken in that situation is a little bit shocking,” said Siegler.
The photo shows him dressed as a Nazi German soldier at a Hogan’s Heroes themed fraternity party while he was a student at Gettysburg College.
It was discovered in the school’s 1980 school yearbook by a student conducting research.
Janet Riggs, president of Gettysburg College, sent a letter to the campus community, assuring students and faculty that Gettysburg College does not condone this behavior and hopes students will learn from this.
Garthwait also issued a statement, expressing his embarrassment and regret for participating in the event.
He said, "My sincere hope is that our current students will learn from my poor judgement 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."
Garthwait has since stepped down from his role on the Board of Trustees.
President Riggs says conversations will continue with the board about this situation.