In the jargon of the Occupy Wall Street movement, College undergraduate Egan Short writes, “In closing or downsizing the journalism major, visual arts department, and the ILA, the Emory administration has preemptively attacked potential zones of dissent on campus.”
WGSS graduate student Mairead Sullivan, who has previously described the implicit racism behind the cuts at our rallies, brings the statistics to a wider audience: “According to Emory’s 2009 Diversity profile report [pdf], only 7 departments reported over 25% faculty of color. Of these 7 departments, 4 are up for cuts.” Moreover, since most of them are recent hires, up to 75% of the professors and lecturers of color in Educational Studies, Physical Education, Russian and East Asian Languages, and Spanish and Portuguese are liable to lose their jobs.
Finally, College junior Rhett Henry considers the #EmoryCuts student movement itself:
“I was worried that there would not be much of a response from the student body. I’m glad to have been proven wrong. What now troubles me is the nature of the reaction. It is a blend of evocative populism and calls for greater transparency in administrative decision-making. On these points I agree. What concerns me is that, in reaching for a solution to the long-term issue of student-administration communication, the immediate problems facing the student body over the next few years have fallen to the wayside.
I want to help groups like #EmoryCuts to talk about the issues in a way that goes for the gut, as it were.
I’m not entirely sure immediate, practical battles can be disentangled from ongoing questions about the culture at Emory and in the higher education world at large. In fact, being able to reach beyond one’s own moment is one of the things the liberal arts prides itself on, and, yes, one of the reasons it gets called impractical. Nonetheless, it’s worth asking ourselves: What practical, immediate strategies have already been taken? What else could we or others be doing?