WHAT’S HAPPENING AT EMORY? On September 14, 2012, Emory College Dean Robin Forman announced the most extensive cuts and closures in Emory’s history, eliminating or indefinitely suspending seven departments and programs. The announcement surprised the Emory community, including the targeted departments and programs. Surprise gave way to concern and then to open protest, as the community learned of the flawed and secretive manner in which the cuts were determined and enacted, in violation of Emory’s own bylaws and endorsed ethical principles. During the fall 2012 semester, concerned undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff began to organize an alternative vision of the university. This vision affirms Emory’s historical commitment to the liberal arts, recognizes the targeted areas as essential to liberal arts education in the twenty-first century, and seeks to renew transparency and representative democracy as core practices in university governance. Concerned undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff have organized to object to the content of the cuts and the secretive, non-transparent manner in which they were enacted. These cuts were enacted in violation of Emory’s own faculty governance bylaws, ostensibly to free up $4.5 million dollars for reinvestment. Yet this is demonstrably untrue: Emory currently enjoys budget surplus, a $100 million return on endowment investments in 2012 alone, and a successful fundraising campaign that has exceeded donation goals by $90 million.
WHO THE CUTS IMPACT. Over forty faculty and staff will lose their jobs. Seven departments will be cut outright or “suspended” indefinitely; without any clear criteria for resurrection. A minimum of 275 undergraduates will see their major/minor departments wound down, while students that have not declared majors in the cut programs will lose the opportunity to pursue those fields. Dozens of graduate students suddenly have their own matriculation in doubt. These cuts disproportionately impact scholars of color and women; Emory stands to lose a quarter of faculty of color as a result of these cuts. Finally, these cuts obliterate the Division of Educational Studies’ outreach to impoverished Atlanta schools. The loss of these scholarly programs and their valuable members impoverishes the entire Emory community, and damages our relationship with the Atlanta community as a whole.
WHO WE ARE. Since September, the Student Re-Visioning Committee (SRC) has voiced its concerns with the Emory administration. SRC members have consistent track record of democratic process and community leadership, organizing hundreds of Emory students, faculty, and staff who dispute the administration’s actions. In doing so, we have had a significant impact on the Emory community’s conversation about its own future. We have held weekly public meetings, organized three large campus demonstrations, tabled consistently during Wonderful Wednesdays, and challenged President Wagner with pertinent questions at the State of the University address. We have also held numerous interviews with local and national media and have hand-delivered letters articulating our questions and positions to Dean Forman and President Wagner’s representative, Mr. Hauk. The December 4th Walk-out/Sit-in, with over 200 participating protestors, finally gained the attention of the administration – and a meeting was secured for the following Friday, December 9th, with Dean Forman and President Wagner. Once again, however, our concerns and demands were met with stonewalling and silence. The Emory administration continually refuses to take student, faculty and staff concerns seriously or respectfully, despite the fact that these are the very people that make up the fabric of the Emory community. Even more disconcerting, at this meeting, President Wagner casually stated that “there is more of this to come”.
WHAT YOU CAN DO. The Emory administration refuses to acknowledge its own community – but together, we can make our voices heard and demand our university back. If you care about your community – if you have a different vision for our University –if you love Emory – please sign.
If you agree that these cuts are taking Emory in the wrong direction, please join us in demanding the Emory Administration to Reverse, Represent, and Review.
1. Reverse the cuts.
2. Implement formal and meaningful student, faculty and staff participation on all key decision making bodies.
3. Fully disclose and investigate all College Financial Advisory Committee proceedings.