The material prompted one of the four debaters, Fred Mackintosh, an advocate and a teaching fellow at Edinburgh University's Centre For Professional Legal Studies, to boycott the event. He said the use of the golliwog was "puerile and ill-considered".
Debate organisers said it was used only as "an example of what many consider a highly offensive caricature". However, they decided yesterday to withdraw a publicity banner containing the image.
Mr Mackintosh was one of two debaters due to appear at the Edinburgh University Debates Union event next Wednesday to oppose a motion that "this house believes that political correctness has gone too far" . The other was Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi.
But Mr Mackintosh decided to withdraw from the debate after taking offence at the publicity material and others were reported to have decided to boycott the event.
Mr Mackintosh told students he had wanted to take part in the event to have a "liberal voice" contribute to the debate and was disappointed to be withdrawing.
He said: "Our liberal society has come a long way in the way it has recognised diversity and sought to avoid stereotyping, but there is still a lot to do.
"I choose to conclude that inclusion of a golliwog in the publicity material is simply puerile and ill-considered, rather than something more sinister, and I hope it is not indicative of a widespread lack of consideration for others within Edinburgh University Students' Association.
"However, I do not wish to be associated with such an event and those who prepared the publicity for this debate could do well to consider the need to treat others as they would wish to be treated."
The golliwog began as a black character in children's books in the late 19th century before being reproduced as a toy. The caricature image is considered by many to be racially offensive.
Edinburgh University law under-graduate Marlena Valles, a member of the debates committee who defended the use of the golliwog, was at the centre of a Glasgow University debating row in March. She and another debater, Rebecca Meredith, claimed they were subjected to sexist abuse.
Ms Valles told Mr Mackintosh: "I can assure you the use of the golliwog was an example of what many consider a highly offensive caricature, but is continually defended on the grounds it is 'tradition' and 'a joke'.
"Discussing the golliwog as an example of how children's cartoons can be used to perpetuate dangerous racial stereotypes is key to the motion and relevant to the debates that happen seasonally in the Netherlands over 'sinterklaas', for instance.
"I recognise that for many people the image of the golliwog is deeply distressing, but I want to stress that an image in a debates poster is never an endorsement, but is a literal illustration of the consequences of the sides of the debate."
Edinburgh University Debates Union convenor Euan McPherson said after listening to feedback it was decided the banner would be changed. He added: "We regret the image caused offence to some people, that was never our intention.
"Many consider the golliwog a highly offensive doll yet there continues to be a portion of society who believes its continual use to be appropriate.
"We understand the majority of those who commented feel there is no debate to be had not just on that issue but also political correctness as a whole. This is not the case beyond the university community - both the golliwog and political correctness are debated regularly in the national press. That is why we are holding our debate."