The Student Re-Visioning Committee is one of the entities that has popped up to organize and coordinate dissent. As yet, it has no official standing with the College (then again, groups that do have standing haven’t been treated much better). They meet every Tuesday at 6:00 in White Hall 101 and have an email list.
Navyug, a history grad student who facilitated this week’s meeting, notes that the tenor of discussions has changed. Students and faculty have moved beyond shock, and our demands go beyond disclosure. More petitions and letters are being written up: by grad students in history and comparative literature, by seniors in the interdisciplinary studies program (the undergraduate wing of the ILA), and so on. Since each group has its own demands, though, the overall message may be garbled–or, worse, the administration can let itself off the hook with lip service and small-scale appeasement.
Moreover, adjectives matter. Navyug said (approximately), “We keep hearing that the cuts were ‘arbitrary,’ and that the administration ‘doesn’t have a plan to move forward.’ This is not the case. The administration had a plan. It was in the works for 2-4 years. We oppose that plan.
“Say the plan is unimaginative; say it’s racist and sexist; call it unimaginative or neoliberal. Don’t call it arbitrary.”
Things got more intense when we brainstormed what the next steps would be. Given that the initial shock has worn off for many, and that the university is nothing if not well equipped with PR people, what would be both effective and sustainable? Here are some of the ideas that came up:
- File a formal grievance process with the College or the LGS. Distribute grievance forms and encourage students to mail them in en masse. One relevant clause concerns the right to access a diverse curriculum…
- Appeal to the President’s Commissions on the Status of Women and/or the Status of Minorities
- The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has taken an interest in the situation at Emory (here’s their Facebook page). They have no official standing, but they do wield considerable influence, and being censured by the AAUP would bring shame to Emory.
- Keep up the good work in the media, new and old. Some students are pursuing radio segments on various non-profit stations
- Try to compile all the letters and petitions
- Make connections with alumni
- Try to get more public statements from President Wagner or the Board of Trustees
- Encourage undergraduates to speak up! As the “consumers,” their voices are especially powerful.
Here’s how efficient the SRC can be: in less than 24 hours, a few undergraduate leaders had a table on Asbury Circle, which attracted quite a bit of attention.
We expect they’ll be back next Wednesday, maybe in conjunction with another suggestion:
- Distribute flyers or transfer forms for other colleges…you know, ones with top-notch economics, journalism, visual art, and language departments. Real ones or mocked-up ones. Guaranteed to get freshmen thinking and make administrators anxious.