The Citadel will review its collection of past yearbooks for racially offensive images and, when it deems necessary, will insert information sheets noting the offensive images don't represent the school's values.
Its announcement came moments after Citadel President Gen. Glenn Walters met with members of the National Action Network, which sought the meeting after cadets alerted the civil rights group to the images.
James Johnson, president of the local NAN chapter, praised the move.
"I think it was a good and fruitful meeting," Johnson said. "This is a victory for everybody."
Virginia's politics have been roiled for more than a week over whether Gov. Ralph Northam posed in blackface and whether he should resign as a result.
Last week, Walters sent out a message to The Citadel's community acknowledging that some disturbing racist images are part of the school's past, specifically singling out old yearbooks (known as The Sphinx).
"Unfortunately, some of the images from these yearbooks are deeply disturbing and offensive, depicting racist, sexist or abusive conduct or language," he wrote. "The images have periodically been rediscovered by members of our campus community, media representatives or members of the public. While these photos are not recent, when viewed, they cause a visceral reaction, and people are understandably upset."
Walters said those photos, and the controversy in Virginia, can serve as a teachable moment.
"We do not and will not shy away from discussing them because they are a reminder of what happens if members of our community stray from the core values of honor, duty and respect."
The conversation between Walters and NAN leaders went beyond racially insensitive yearbook images. Jacqualin Yeadon of NAN said the conversation touched on recruiting more African-American students, procurement opportunities for the minority community and civil rights groups' use of the school's alumni hall.
"They were very cooperative," she said, adding those possibilities will be pursued in future meetings.
Johnson noted he and Walters hit it off because they both served in the Marines. Walters was second in command of the Marine Corps before leaving to take the president post at his alma mater last year.
"I think we have somebody that we can really work with," Johnson said. "The welcome from the general was very warm. We hit it off."
Johnson said some Citadel yearbooks might be removed or placed under lock and key, but spokesman Lt. John Dorrian said they would remain available in the school's library, with new notations.
"It's not something that will get any better if we shy away from it," Dorrian said.