• Petitioned James Wagner

This petition was delivered to:

Emory University President
James Wagner


    1. Petition by

      Student Re-Visioning Committee

In a recent editorial in Emory Magazine, President James Wagner compared disagreements over recent academic cuts at Emory University with the Three-Fifths Compromise, describing the latter as a “noble achievement.” President Wagner’s statements have shocked and horrified the Emory community and received widespread criticism in national and international media. The Three-Fifths Compromise, in which white lawmakers used enslaved black persons as bargaining chips to accumulate more political power, infamously demonstrates how compromise can yield egregious outcomes and why the word "compromise" should never be used to discuss human dignity and rights.

President Wagner’s attempt to compare university downsizing to shameful historical events is disturbing. The President’s views are all the more troubling in light of the racial dimensions of the recent cuts at Emory, which were announced in September 2012. According to the Administration’s own data, the cuts disproportionately impact scholars of color and women. Especially troubling is the elimination of Emory’s century-old Division of Educational Studies, which has maintained historic links with the Civil Rights movement and produced more black PhD graduates than any other program of its kind in the nation. If anything, President Wagner’s abhorrent comments underscore the need for a rigorous liberal arts education.

Emory community members have denounced President Wagner's damaging essay. As one of the most prestigious universities in the South, Emory has a responsibility to set a high ethical standard. The role of president, in particular, should be to lead the Emory community, not embarrass its members and insult people of conscience everywhere. Through his consistent unwillingness to compromise on issues of academic cuts, economic inequalities, and student dissent on campus, as well as through this essay, President Wagner has proved himself incapable of fulfilling his role.

If you are concerned about the future of Emory University under its current leadership and agree that praising actions designed to exploit enslaved persons is unacceptable behavior from a university president, please join us in calling for the immediate resignation of President James Wagner.

James Wagner, Emory University President
Resign and step aside so Emory can move forward in a positive direction with new leadership.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Corey Goettsch SILVER SPRING, MD
      • over 1 year ago

      The president of a southern university that owned slaves heralds the 3/5ths Compromise as a model for political compromise.... The irony would be comical if it weren't so pathetic and offensive. And the admissions fraud, the cuts to graduate programs, and the arrest of students who respectfully disagreed with the administration are additional reasons to ask Wagner to resign. It's time to step down. President Wagner is neither brave nor ethical. He is a blemish on the good name of this university.

    • Deloris Rankins FAYETTEVILLE, GA
      • over 1 year ago

      I am a victim of unbelievable racism and racist acts by Emory professors and Administration. So, I definitely support any and all iniatives to stop the ignorance and unfair treatment of minorities at Emory.

    • Jordan Kohn ATLANTA, GA
      • over 1 year ago

      As a member of the Emory community, I am outraged over Wagner's repeated displays of racial insensitivity that do not reflect the ideals of our institution.

    • Philip Winkle ATLANTA, GA
      • over 1 year ago

      I do not believe the 3/5ths comment makes our president a racist, and I know he made a mistake with good intentions. In some respects, I also support the plan forward, and understand that cuts need to be made and were done so according to Emory's procedures. I sign this because the University's unwillingness to compromise after lawful student/staff demonstrations portrays little of the leadership Emory deserves, in my mind. Cuts will need to be made, but they are equally important to actual collaboration with individuals who are "apart" of this University and deserve that respect.

    • Heather-Elizabeth Brown SOUTHFIELD, MI
      • over 1 year ago

      I'm not, nor have I ever been, 3/5 of a person. I strongly disagree with any opinion that would at all suggest otherwise, regardless of it's larger point


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